Explore the powerful and intriguing connections between astronomy and Einstein’s theory of relativity.
*Note – This is an Archived course*
This is a past/archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check for reruns of this course.
The study of the night sky instilled wonder in our ancestors. Modern astronomy extends the human view to previously unexplored regions of space and time. In this course, you will gain an understanding of these discoveries through a focus on relativity—Einstein’s fascinating and non-intuitive description of the physical world. By studying relativity and astronomy together, you will develop physical insight and quantitative skills, and you’ll regain a profound sense of wonder for the universe we call home.
David F. Chernoff
David Chernoff is a professor of astronomy at Cornell University and an expert in theoretical astrophysics. He joined the faculty in 1987 and has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses on a range of topics including stars, galaxies, stellar dynamics, compact objects, interstellar medium, cosmology, and computing. He received from Cornell the Merrill Presidential Award for educational contributions and from the National Science Foundation, a Presidential Young Investigator’s Award for research.
Chernoff’s current research interests encompass cosmology, quantum mechanics, statistics, and numerical methods for solving analytically intractable problems in physics. One exciting intersection of these different interests involves exploring constraints that astrophysical observations can place on the fundamental theories of physics and cosmology that have emerged over the past two decades.
Chernoff received his PhD from University of California, Berkeley in 1985.
Generally, requires math and physics at the high school level; college-level introductory classes in calculus and physics will meet all requirements. Familiarity with the following mathematical tools: distance, Pythagorean theorem, trigonometry, vectors, and derivatives. Familiarity with the following topics in physics: speed, velocity, acceleration, Newton’s laws of motion, kinetic and potential energy, and Newton’s description of gravity.