Alexander Friedmann (1888-1925)

G eorge M ason U niversity

Department of Physics and Astronomy

ASTR 302 - Foundations of Cosmological Thought

Fall Semester 2006
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Welcome to the home page for Astronomy 228 offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA. This site supports a college-level course in cosmology, which emphasizes its historical and philosophical foundations and is offered in a traditional lecture mode. The site contains information about the syllabus, assignments, examination information, course project, course notes, references, internet resources, and a link to ASTR 103 and the textbook web site.
Fall Semester 2006

Prerequisites Either ASTR 103 or ASTR 111/113 or some knowledge of astronomy recommended.. Examines the scientific, historical, and philosophical foundations and development of cosmological thought from antiquity to the present. Emphasis will be on a qualitative understanding of the development of cosmology concluding with the present concepts of the origin and evolution of the Universe. No advanced background in mathematics or the natural sciences is required.

Class - TR, 12:00 to 1:15 PM, Robinson Hall A246, George Mason University Main Campus.

Textbook - Hawley, John F., and Katherine A. Holcomb. Foundations of Modern Cosmology, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN: 019853096X. Textbook Web Site: Foundations of Modern Cosmology.

Interesting Cosmology and Astronomy Links

  • Introduction to Cosmology. NASA WMAP Mission web site on the universe and recent observational results in cosmology.
  • Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial. This site is provided by Professor Edward L. Wright, Astronomy Department, UCLA. The site contains a wide and varied discussion of modern cosmology with some interesting pictures and Java Applets. There is also the ability to perform cosmological calculations.
  • Cosmological Calculations. This site provides the opportunity to calculate several important cosmological models and even some customized models. There is a three step process for selecting the model and a number of different aspects of the model that can be displayed, which includes even a table.
  • Universe Forum. The Universe Forum is one part of a nationwide NASA education team exploring all aspects of space science and space exploration. Find out more about who we are and what we do.
  • Inside Einstein’s Universe. Our “Inside Einstein’s Universe” program uses the rich resources of NASA’s space science research missions to take audiences on a journey through the cosmos as we now know it. Throughout 2005, the Einstein Centennial provides opportunities for educational organizations to examine how scientists in the 21st century will continue to explore the boundaries of space and time.
  • Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. WMAP is a NASA Explorer Mission measuring the temperature of the cosmic background radiation. This map of the remnant heat of the Big Bang provides answers to some of the most fundamental questions about the origin and fate of our universe.
  • NASA Space Science. The site and its contents are provided by NASA, and the site is considered to be the agency's main site for astronomy, planetary, and solar science missions and programs.
  • Origins: Journey Back to the Beginning of Everything – the universe, Earth, and Life Itself. PBS broadcast September 28 and 29, 8:00 to 10:00 PM.
  • The Runaway Universe. PBS companion web site to the PBS broadcast of "The Runaway Universe" detailing the efforts of two teams of astronomers to exploit Type Ia supernova to measure the rate of expansion of the universe.
  • Stephen Hawking's Universe. PBS provides an introduction to the renown cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who explores the many facets of the universe in this fascinating series.
  • Cambridge Cosmology. Cambridge cosmology group public home page.
  • Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the most ambitious astronomical survey project ever undertaken, will bring the modern practice of comprehensive and quantitative mapping to cosmography, the science of mapping the universe and determining our place in it.
  • String Theory. The Official String Theory site developed by Patricia Schwarz.
  • The Particle Adventure. The Particle Data Group of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory presents an award-winning interactive tour of quarks, neutrinos, antimatter, extra dimensions, dark matter, accelerators, and particle detectors.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day. Each day a different picture and caption having to do with astronomy is displayed on this NASA site. There is also an archive of past pictures.
  • Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion. If you are interested in the interface between science, ethics, and religion, you might want to visit this site sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Be sure and visit the pages on Cosmic Questions.
Lastest Modification to the System: August 24, 2006



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Physics & Astronomy Department, George Mason University
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