Lecture Course

Cosmic Origins

November 2016-January 2017
University Groningen

Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel: Creation of the Sun, Moon and Planets


    Rien van de Weygaert,
                      Kapteynborg ZG 186, Zernike Campus   tel. 3634086,   weygaert@astro.rug.nl


The lecture schedule will be:

      Wednesday    19:05-21:00       hoorcollege/lecture              
                                                          Academiegebouw, vd Leeuwzaal     

      Friday           15:00-17:00        hoorcollege/lecture (4 classes), werkcollege/tutorial (4 classes)             
                                                          Nijenborgh, 5118.-156     


First lecture on wednesday November 16, Academiegebouw

Second lecture on friday November 18, Nijenborgh (Zernike campus)

Albert Einstein and Edwin Hubble,
studying the recession of galaxies at the Mt. Wilson 100inch telescope


The course will be based on

lecture notes/slides (see below)


           Cosmos, An Illustrated History of Astronomy and Cosmology
           John North
           2nd ed., 2008, Univ. Chicago Press (paperback)

additional books you may want to consult (ie., do not buy, these are not course books):

           Cosmology, the Science of the Universe
           Edward Harrison
           2nd ed., 2000, Cambridge Univ. Press

           Conceptions of Cosmos:
           From Myths to the Accelerating Universe: A History of Cosmology
           H. Kragh
           2013, Oxford Univ. Press

           the History and Practic of Ancient Astronomy
           James Evans
           1998, Oxford Univ. Press

           Ancient Cosmologies
           eds. C. Blacker, M. Loewe
           1975, George Allen & Unwin Ltd.

Selection of key scientific publications in cosmology:

           - Hubble E., 1929, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sciences, Vol. 15, 168-173
              a relation between distance and radial velocity among extra-galactic nebulae

           - Penzias A.A., Wilson R.W., 1965, Astrophys. J., 142, 419-421
              a measurement of excess antenna temperature at 080 Mc/s

           - Dicke R.H., Peebles P.J.E., Roll P.G., Wilkinson, D.T., 1965, Astrophys. J., 142, 414-419
              Cosmic Black-body Radiation

Mysterium Cosmographicum:
Kepler's Geometric Model of the Cosmos

Lecture Notes & Exam Material:

The course is based upon the lecture notes. The content of these is the exam material.
Below you find a listing of the notes, for you to download in 3 formats (pptx, pdf, pdf with 2 slides per page).

      Generals                                                                   pptx
         Generals                                                                   pdf

      Fundamental Questions                                            pptx
         Fundamental Questions                                            pdf
         Fundamental Questions                                            pdf, 2 slides per page

      Cosmology Timeline                                                 pptx
         Cosmology Timeline                                                 pdf

      Heavenly Rhythms                                                    pptx
         Heavenly Rhythms                                                    pdf
         Heavenly Rhythms                                                    pdf, 2 slides per page

      Gods & Myths                                                           pptx
         Gods & Myths                                                           pdf
         Gods & Myths                                                           pdf, 2 slides per page

      Order in the Cosmos                                                  pptx
                         how Babylonians and Greeks rationalized the heavens       
         Order in the Cosmos                                                  pdf
                         how Babylonians and Greeks rationalized the heavens       
         Order in the Cosmos                                                  pdf, 2 slides per page
                         how Babylonians and Greeks rationalized the heavens       

      the Universe Mechanized                                          pptx
                         Hellenistic Cosmology       
         the Universe Mechanized                                          pdf
                         Hellenistic Cosmology       
         the Universe Mechanized                                          pdf, 2 slides per page
                         Hellenistic Cosmology       

      the Universe Mechanized                                          pptx
                         the Antikythera Mechanism       
         the Universe Mechanized                                          pdf
                         the Antikythera Mechanism       
         the Universe Mechanized                                          pdf, 2 slides per page
                         the Antikythera Mechanism       

      the Scientific Revolution                                           pptx
         the Scientific Revolution                                           pdf
         the Scientific Revolution                                           pdf, 2 slides per page

      Gravity, ruler of the Universe                                    pptx
         Gravity, master of the Universe                                 pdf
         Gravity, master of the Universe                                 pdf, 2 slides per page

      the Big Bang                                                              pptx
         the Big Bang                                                              pdf
         the Big Bang                                                              pdf, 2 slides per page

      the Expanding Universe                                            pptx
         the Expanding Universe                                            pdf
         the Expanding Universe                                            pdf, 2 slides per page

      the Early Universe                                                     pptx
         the Early Universe                                                     pdf
         the Early Universe                                                     pdf, 2 slides per page


November 25/December 9

                   Cosmology Awareness Poll, assignment
                   Cosmology Awareness Poll, group list

December 9/January 20

                   Cosmic Debates, assignment
                   Cosmic Debates, group list

Essay Topics:

Part of the course requirements is a 20-25 page report on a specific cosmological topic. The essays should be written in groups of two.

Topics may be on Physical Cosmology (ie. the present-day scientific cosmology), cosmological contributions by a range of scientists, cosmology of a range of philosophers/philosophies, cosmology in various cultures, cosmology in different religions and cosmology in an artistic context.

The following list contains a large list op suggestions for a topic. In addition, you may define your own topic, on the condition it will be approved by the lecturer.

In all cases, before starting the work on your essay, consult the lecturer to 1) inform with whom you write the essay, 2) the topic of your choice. The list of topics you find on:

         Cosmology Essay Topics                                                   pdf

In case the topic has already been claimed by another group, I may ask you to find another topic.


The exam will be in the form of

written exam (Jan. 23, 14:00-17:00)
essay on a topic of cosmology, 20-25 pages, groups of 2 students (see above)

For the Written Exam, on monday Jan. 23, the following material will have to be studied:

Lecture notes, lect1 up to lect9 (download from this page, see above)
                            * lect1, Fundamental Questions
                                        all slides
                            * lect1a, Cosmology Timeline:
                                        read thoroughly, appreciate time/epochs of cosmological developments
                            * lect2, Heavenly Rhythms
                                        all slides
                            * lect3, Gods and Myths
                                        all slides
                            * lect4, Order in the Cosmos
                                        all slides
                            * lect5, The Universe Mechanized
                                        all slides
                            * lect5a, The Universe Mechanized, the Antikythera Mechanism
                                        read thoroughly, appreciate context and significance Antikythera Mechanism
                            * lect6, Scientific Revolution
                                        all slides
-                           * lect7, Gravity
                                        all slides
-                           * lect8, the Big Bang
                                        all slides
                            * lect9, the Expanding Universe
                                        slides 1 -71
                                        slides 72-118 on accelerating universe is for information, not exam
                            * lect10, the Early Universe
                                        slides 49-89 on problems of standard Big Bang, and Inflation

Echo of the Big Bang: Temperature Map of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (Planck satellite 2015)

Lecture Schedule:
(provisional, changes possible)

Subject Hoorcollege
November 16

Course Generals

the Fundamental Cosmological Questions

November 18

the Fundamental Cosmological Questions

Cosmology Timeline

November 23

Heavenly Rhythms

November 25

Heavenly Rhythms

Tutorial:      Cosmology Awareness Poll, assignment
                   Cosmology Awareness Poll, group list

November 30

Gods and Myths

December 2

Order in the Cosmos:
how Babylonians and Greeks rationalized the heavens

December 7

the Universe Mechanized:
Hellenistic Cosmology

December 9

Tutorial:      Cosmology Awareness Poll, reports

                   Circles, Epicycles and Ellipses

December 14

the Universe Mechanized:
the Antikythera Mechanism

December ?

the philosophy of our world

December 16

the Scientific Revolution:
Mechanizing the Universe

December 21

Kant to Hubble:
on Island Universes and the Size of our World

December 23

Tutorial:      a Cosmic Debate between Worldviews

January 11

the Universe Expands !

January 13

the Dynamical Universe:
Einstein, Gravity and the Dynamics of our Universe

January 18

the Hot Big Bang:
journey to the very first moments of our Cosmos ...

January 20

the Cosmic Web:
the emergence of complexity in the Universe