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Academy of Lifelong Learning

THE ROAD FROM ASTROPHYSICS TO COSMOLOGY

Satinder Sidhu

 

Tuesdays, March 21 – April 25 (six weeks)

4:15 – 5:30 pm

Lecture/Discussion

 

As we follow stars of various masses through the final stages of their lives, we find many of them leaving relics that are much more intriguing than their more-or-less normal progenitors. Such objects with extreme properties include white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Some of these play important roles in the structure and evolution of their host galaxies. Paralleling the incorporation of such post-stellar objects into a comprehensive standard model of astronomy is the growth of cosmology as a rigorous, quantitative discipline focusing on the study of the Universe itself. Current understanding of its evolution and ultimate fate leads us to the mutual and reciprocal implications for properties of elementary particles and objects and structures at largest known scales. Roles played by some pesky participants in the cosmic drama – such as dark matter and dark energy – will be touched on.

 

SATINDER SIDHU retired in 2015 after teaching physics at Washington College for over a quarter century. Over this time he taught a once-a-year astronomy class as a science distribution course. Possessing a background in electrical engineering, followed by a transition to physics, he approached astronomy as a fascinating application of the latter, often warning his classes that what they would learn would be, not star lore, but “astrophysics lite.” Some science majors took the class; some of them went on to earn doctorates in the subject, so it did work for (on?) them.