Cosmology for Non-Science Majors

Instructor: Mel Ulmer

Office: Dearborn Observatory #3
Phone: 491-5633
Office Hours: by appointment

Lectures: MWF at 2:00 PM in Tech L211

Textbook: Foundations of Modern Cosmology (4th edition) (Hawley & Holcomb)

Exams all in Tech L221: Oct 16 at 2:00-2:50 p.m., Nov 6 at 2:00-2:50 p.m. plus Final on Dec 9, 9:00-10:00 A.M. (1 hour)

Skits: Dec 2-6 , 2002 In Tech L211

FINAL EXAM: based on the last 3 weeks, Dec 9

Discussion Sections

These are for you. You can come to as many or few as you want to per week that fit into your schedule

Sections : Thursday TECH L170 2:00-2:50 PM, TECH L150 3:00-3:50 PM, Friday TECH LG68 12:-12:50, TECH M349 1:00-1:50

Extra CreditUp to 10%. Extra Credit Project 1

Derive the Hubble Constant yourself: Cepheid Variable Lab

Extra Credit Project 2

Also for your benefit and extra credit, hand in the answers to the discussion questions in Lecture on Wednesay. Up to 5%.

Extra Credit Project 3

Bake a very special cake. This cake takes about 6 hours to prepare after you have acquired the ingredients and the utensils and have found a place to bake it. The idea is that first you must assemble a team with a Principal Investigator = the person who provides overall direction and decision making and could actually do most of the baking in this case. Second, is the project manager whose job it is to facilitate the project and to make sure it is carried out on schedule and within budget. The project manager would find the kitchen, identify a source of the utensils, arrange for the acquisition of the utensils and the materials (at the right time) and would schedule organizational meetings; team members who might be experts in cooking and peeling chestnuts or experts in making butter cream sauce or who are over 21 so they can buy the necessary rum. So the first task it to put together at team, which the PI does, and then the team must write a proposal that describes the facilities available, the skills of the personnel, the responsibilities of the personnel, and a detailed budget and a plan that describes how and when you will purchase the necessary ingredients. One ingredient that you might have difficutly acquiring is chestnuts. Canned chestnuts can be a bad choice. The ones I used, which were in crumpled form, were no good. Maybe whole canned ones would be ok. Fresh is best. You may have to find fresh chestnuts via the web as they usually carried in stores around here near Thanksgiving and running into January. After you submit the proposal I will judge the proposals, and if there is more than one that is good I'll accept them and fund them. If your proposal is no good, you get no credit at all. If you do a poor job on the cake, i.e. it doesn't look and or doesn't taste okay, then you get minimal credit (TBD). You must also provide a detailed written report, and picture or a video record of the entire process. If your cake passes, then you get the 10% of the total points allowable in the class added to your total. Each team can consist of no more than 4 people, and I'll at most accept two teams. So, first you have to judge: Can you put together a good team? And is this worth the trouble just to propose? Your proposal can be no more than 4 pages long, single spaced, 12pt, and 1 inch margins all the way around. It is due in class Oct 9. The recipe is given here (or ask me for hard copy): Chestnut Chocolate Torte

Delivered Products, see the images below!

Click on images for an enlarged view

Required Project

Since this is about team work, teams are required for this class. During the week of Dec 2-6, each team will give a 5 minute presentation on their version of the "creation myth" i.e the Big Bang and Inflation. The "skit" will act out some or all parts of the "myth" from inflation to the formation of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. Puns and jokes are encouraged but not required. Teams can be either formed on your own, or you will be assigned to team.

Grading Policy

The course grade will be based 3 "term exams" (80%) and project (20%). The exams will consist of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. In case of missed exams, "makeups" will be oral exams.

Your team must hand in your list and/or you must hand in your name with a request to be assigned to a team by Nov 11 (after drop date). Teams can consist of no fewer than 4 and no more than 6.

Observing sessions: For your eyes only; enjoy or not as you wish

Dearborn Observatory has an 18 inch refractor that allows spectacular viewing of the planets, the moon and other objects. Observing sessions will be held on Monday evenings, starting Sep 30. There will be just one session that will start at 8:00 p.m. After the time change, sessions will begin at 7:00 p.m. The session will be one hour long and will be limited to 10 students. You may attend as many sessions as you like. The sessions will be held regardless of whether it is cloudy or not. A tour will be given in any event. Repeat attendance to achieve actual viewing is encouraged.

Course Outline

Weeks 1-3 (Sep 25-Oct 16) "Who Done It": CMB, Clusters Supernovae tell us the "answer"
Weeks 4-6 Oct 16-Nov 6 The story of "who done it": Standard Fare Geometery, Inflation, Alchemy Weeks 7-9 Nov 6-28 Gathering the basic clues: how large in distance, how old, and how large in mass