Undergraduate Course • Spring 2017

The Nature of Space and Time:  We will consider the nature of space and time, especially in the context of our understanding of the overall properties of the Universe. The major topics from the following best-selling book will be discussed: "A Briefer History of Time," by Stephen Hawking. Our journey will take us through the basics of the two pillars of modern physics: quantum mechanics and Einstein's general theory of relativity. We will also explore string theory, which attempts to unify these two great fields by postulating the existence of many hidden dimensions in which packages of energy vibrate. Though the seminar is intended for non-science majors, the discussion will be held at a fairly high level; thus, students must have already successfully completed (with a grade of "B" or higher) at least one of the following courses: Astronomy 10 (or C10), L&S C70U, Astronomy 7A, or Astronomy 7B.