Astronomy 210 Spring 2009 Homepage

The Cosmos

Matt DePies

Office: UW2-151

Office Hours:    T Th 12-1                         
                                            . . .also by appointment

Note: syllabus has been updated (15 April)
I.  Syllabus(html)

II. Class Schedule and Reading Assignments(pdf)

III. Midterm Paper

Write synopsis on paper:
"The End of Cosmology?
An accelerating universe wipes out traces of its own origins"
By Lawrence M Krauss and Robert J Sherrer 
March 2008 Scientific American

It should be 1-2 pages, 12 font, 1.5-2 space. 
DUE: Thursday May 21

Be sure to indicate how this matches or compliments what you have learned in class this quarter. 

IV. Final Paper:  
Paragraph describing research topic due at the start of class,Tuesday April 21.

Final Paper DUE:  Thursday June 4.

This paper should discuss a topic in Cosmology, Astronomy, or Physics.  You can either do a historical background, or look into more modern topics, or both!  Biographies are also good: you can illuminate the individual's life and how their discoveries fit in.

You are required to use at least three, 3, references from some form of scientific journal.  There are many online journals available from school computers.  These include, but are not limited to: Scientific American, Science, Nature, Astronomy Today, Discover, and many more.

Here is a sample list, you can choose another but you must let me know.

Possible Research Topics:
The Big Bang and Expanding Universe
Black Holes
Galaxies and Galaxy Formation
Active Galaxies
Neutron Stars and Pulsars
Dark Matter
Dark Energy
Worm Holes and Time Travel
Einstein's Relativity Theories--Gravity and Spacetime
Gravitational Radiation
Life in the Universe, extrasolar planets
Anthropic Principles
Biographies of Astronomers, Cosmologists, Physicists
Historical Cosmologies compared to Scientific Cosmologies
Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory
String Theory
Composition of the Universe

and much more. . .

Some helpful general references:
This list is far from complete, but gives a starting point for many topics.  Note that most of these books overlap subjects.

Big bang cosmology, general relativity, etc:

Harrison, Edward R., Cosmology: The Science of the Universe, 2nd ed. (Cambridge U.P., Cambridge, 2000).

Hogan, Craig J., The Little Book of the Big Bang: A Cosmic Primer, ( Springer, February 11, 1999 ).

Silk, Joseph, The Big Bang, 3 ed. (Times Books; December 6, 2000).

Singh, Simon, Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, 2004).


Kaku, Michio, Parallel Worlds: A Journey through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos (Doubleday, Random House, 2005).

Rees, Martin,  Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others (Addison-Wesley Longman, Reading, MA, 1997).

History of Cosmology and Astrophysics:

Kragh, Helge S., Conceptions of Cosmos: From Myths to the Accelerating Unverse: A History of Cosmology (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, UK, 2007).

Longair, Malcolm, The Cosmic Century: A History of Astrophysics and Cosmology (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2006).

Black holes, time travel, etc:

Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time,  (Bantam; September 1, 1998)

Melia , Fulvio, The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy, (Princeton University Press; April 21, 2003)

Thorne, K.S., Black Holes and Time Warps,  (Norton, NY, 1994).

Dark Matter:

Krauss, Lawrence, Quintessence: The Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe (Basic Books, NY, 2000).   

Rubin, Vera C., Bright Galaxies, Dark Matters (American Institute of Physics, NY, 1997).

String Theory:

Greene, Brian,  The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory  ( W.W. Norton & Co., October 20, 2003)

Susskind, Leonard, The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design (Little, Brown, 2005).