R809 Fall 2018 History of the Universe (Classical)
Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Sept. 20–Oct. 11
Instructor: Mark Dodge
This course is an introduction to the classical view of time and the universe. Why do we have 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour? Why not some other number? Why do we have the calendar we have? What are planets, and why did they cause such confusion to the ancients? How did we get from the perfectly obvious idea that the sun goes around the earth to the weird idea that the earth goes around the sun? And why is Pluto not a planet anymore? This class is an introduction to the subject of cosmology, the study of the universe. It begins with the Babylonians and extends to the time of Isaac Newton. Almost no math—but lots of ideas! There will be hands-on demonstrations and plenty of conversation as we explore our understanding of the universe.
Mark Dodge taught high school physics for 24 years in Arlington. He has been fascinated by astronomy since gazing through his first telescope when he was in seventh grade. Dodge is also fascinated by ancient cultures (he can babble on about Babylon) and how these ancient cultures still influence us today. This course is a collection of several of his most popular presentations from his high school teaching days.