``It's been a long strange trip for this universe we call home ...."
Interest in cosmology undoubtedly predates recorded human history. The question of the origin, composition, structure and fate of the universe has challenged lay persons, scientists, philosophers and theologians across racial and cultural barriers. It is one of the most profound questions we can contemplate. Cosmology is also an area of explosive scientific progress: the last 2 decades have seen a revolution in using observation, analysis and insight to build a sound scientific theory of the cosmos.
of the National Academy of Sciences stated recently:
We are the first generation of human beings to glimpse the full sweep of cosmic history, from the universe's fiery origin in the Big Bang to the silent, stately flight of galaxies through the intergalactic night. Humankind continues its own journey into the future with a new depth of understanding and appreciation for the forces that shape our destiny.
Currently astrophysical research is uncovering new information about the
universe in which we live -- about its
Due to progress in observations and in computational power, our knowledge in this area is growing quickly. This course will describe what has been learned so far, and the `big picture' which has been emerging. Questions driving current research will be introduced, and new results brought into context as they occur.
Last modified May 19, 1998