Academy of Lifelong Learning

THE ROAD FROM ASTROPHYSICS TO COSMOLOGY

THE ROAD FROM ASTROPHYSICS TO COSMOLOGY

Math, Science & Technology

Satinder Sidhu

 

Satinder Sidhu

Wednesdays, March 20 – April 24 (six weeks) 4:15 – 5:15 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 prop- erties 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 comprehen- sive standard model of astronomy is the growth of cosmology as a rigorous, quantitative discipline. The last is, of course, the study of the entire 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 professing 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 the subject as a fascinating application of the latter, often warning his classes that what they would learn was going to be, not star lore, but ‘astrophysics lite’. An occasional science major sometimes took the class; some of them went on to earn doctorates in the subject, so it did inspire them.