Alex Filippenko (Home Department: Astronomy)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 3:00-4:00, 150 Wheeler (4 units), Class number: 21926
This course is also listed as Astronomy C10

This course is designed to provide, for both non-science and science majors, a description of the fantastic Universe in which we live. We cover the structure and evolution of planets, stars, galaxies, and the cosmos as a whole, gaining insights into amazing objects like quasars, exploding stars, neutron stars, and black holes. Recent newsworthy events such as the detection of planets around other stars, the possible evidence of primitive life on Mars, and the discovery of gravitationally repulsive "dark energy" are also featured. Major themes include our origins (such as the origin of the chemical elements, stars, planets, and life), the methods by which astronomers investigate and eventually understand various aspects of the Universe, the scientific unification of many seemingly disparate phenomena, and the excitement felt by astronomers doing groundbreaking research on some of the most far-out topics imaginable. This course will inspire students to become more inquisitive about the world around them, and will develop their skills in arriving at conclusions based on logical, physical reasoning.


Alex Filippenko

the Distinguished Teaching Award
the Donald Sterling Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
Case Professor of the Year
the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors


This course may be used to satisfy the Physical Science breadth requirement in Letters and Science.