Undergraduate Course • Fall 2017
This seminar discusses the physics of Black Holes, the evidence for their existence, and some of the interesting implications that black holes pose for the universe. Using Kip Thorne's book, "Black Holes and Time Warps; Einstein's Outrageous Legacy," we will delve into the ordinary predications about black holes–space-time curvature, time dilation, the dangers of getting too close, the central singularities, frame dragging–as well as some of the more exotic ideas like black hole evaporation and even wormholes. Although the concepts in this course are not intuitive for most students, they can be understood by anyone with a background in high school physics and first-year college math, and they provide an excellent basis to learn how to reason about new ideas in science. Students most likely to profit from this class should have preparation equivalent to first-year college-level courses in physics and mathematics. They need not be majors in physical science or engineering. All students will learn the fundamentals of special relativity and the rudiments of general relativity in the first two weeks of class.