NASA Logo

NTRS

NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Theories of the Universe: A One Semester Course for Honors UndergraduatesFor the last two years The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has delivered a one semester course entitled Theories of The Universe as a seminar for undergraduate honors students. The enrollment is limited to fifteen students to encourage a maximum amount of interaction and discussion. The course has been team-taught enlisting the support of four scientists from the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center as well as UAH faculty from the history, philosophy, biology and physics departments. The course mixes history, mythology, philosophy, religion, and, of course, science and astronomy. The course traces mankind's view of the universe and how that has changed from about 30,000 years BCE to the current observations and models. Starting with a brief history of mankind we trace the evolution of ideas including Prehistoric European, Babylonian, Egyptian, Asian, North, Central and South American, African, Chinese, Greek, Middle Ages, Copernican, Galileo, Kepler, the Renaissance and Enlightenment, Newton, Einstein, and Hawking etc. Namely, we try to touch on just about every different view to puzzles of quantum cosmology, missing mass and the cosmological constant. By the end of the course, students should have a good understanding of: (1) the human desire and need for understanding; (2) the interplay between observations, modeling and theory development, and the need for revisions based on further observations; (3) the role of developing technology in advancing knowledge; (4) the evolution of our views of the universe and our relation to it; and (5) where we are today in our quest. Students are required to write two term papers and present them to the class. The final exam is a open discussion on our views of what we have learned.
Document ID
19990103173
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Dimmock, John O. (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Adams, Mitzi (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Sever, Tom (Global Hydrology and Climate Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Subject Category
Astrophysics
Meeting Information
Biennial History of Astronomy(Notre Dame, IN)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other