Frontiers of Gravity and Astrophysics
Gravity is at once the most familiar and most mysterious of the basic forces of nature. It shapes the formation, structure and motion of stars, galaxies and the cosmos itself. Also, because gravity affects everything, it enables us to investigate parts of the universe that are otherwise invisible to us. This course, accessible to all students, will explore the role of gravity in three vibrant areas of contemporary astrophysics: the search for planets beyond our solar system, the discovery of giant black holes in the nuclei of galaxies, and the evidence for dark matter and dark energy in our universe. In addition to the scheduled lecture/discussion meetings, students will be required to meet a few times during the semester for evening laboratories. No prerequisite.