One year each of high school chemistry, physics, and calculus are recommended but not required.
“I loved learning about our universe, and the activity about going to Mars was super fun! I think I also learned a lot about group work and collaborating efficiently.” — Jacqueline Cho
This course traces our knowledge of the universe from astronomy’s ancient roots to the modern study of extrasolar planetary systems, cosmology, and black holes. We begin with Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation, Kepler’s laws, orbital dynamics, and space travel. Next we take up the nature of light, the structure of matter, the emission and absorption of light by matter, and nuclear physics. We apply this knowledge to describe the properties of our sun and of the planets of our solar system, the properties and fate of stars in general, and the discovery of planets around other stars. Further topics include galaxies and the dark matter and black holes they contain, supernovae and the creation the chemical elements, and the expansion of the universe. We end with Einsteinian cosmology, the cosmic microwave background, dark energy, and the fate of the universe.
James H. Applegate is a professor of astronomy at Columbia University. He received his B.S. in astrophysics from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in physics from SUNY at Stony Brook. He was a Bantrell Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and has served as chair of Columbia’s Astronomy Department.
Constantijn is currently pursuing his PhD in high energy theoretical physics at the City University of New York. His research interests include particles, fields, and strings. He received a double Bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and his Master's degree in physics at Northwestern University in the United States.
Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.