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Master Class I: Infinity is a Long Time, Especially Toward the End: A Brief History of the Multiverse

Professor Brian Keating

Cosmology is perhaps the oldest science, addressing fundamental questions of existence. This lecture series introduces modern cosmology, the study of the origin, composition, and evolution of the universe. Topics include the size and age of the universe; the Cosmic Microwave Background; the composition of the universe (ordinary matter, dark matter, radiation, dark energy); and an overview of the inflationary universe. The course culminates with a description of the origin of time and the “Arrow of Time.” Why does time “flow” only in one direction? Will the universe end, and if so in “fire” or in “ice”? And lastly, is ours the only universe?

January 11: Expansion, Density, Destiny: Einstein and Hubble

The discovery of the expanding universe in the 1920s overthrew the origin stories of the previous two millennia. The founding of the Big Bang model of the universe relies on the observations of the cosmic “shrapnel” unleashed in the very beginning of the universe. The discovery made by Hubble and others served up what Einstein called his biggest “blunder” — the universe was not static after all.

January 18: The Dark Side: Dark Matter and Energy

What we see is not all there is. Most of the universe in fact is “dark,” non-interacting with the ordinary matter with which we are familiar. This lecture describes the bulk universe and its implications for the far distant future.

January 25: Fossil Relics in the Sky: The Cosmic Microwave Background

The oldest light in the universe provides the backlight through which we can better glimpse the Big Bang and possibly beyond. This lecture introduces the Cosmic Microwave Background and details its use as the most precise tool in the kit of modern cosmologists.

February 1: Time Keeps on Slipping into the Future: The Arrow of Time

By now we have seen that the origin and evolution of the universe seem to proceed in a relatively orderly fashion. But why, and for how long? This lecture connects the microscopic physics of the universe with the arrow of time and sets the stage for the final discussion of the ultimate fate of the universe.

February 8: Back to the Beginning: The Inflationary Universe and the Multiverse

We conclude with a lecture on the cutting-edge physics of inflation, which seems, inevitably, to lead to a Multiverse — the startling prediction that ours might not be the only universe that exists!

Instructor: Professor Brian Keating is an astrophysicist with UC San Diego’s Department of Physics. He and his team develop instrumentation to study the early universe at radio, microwave, and infrared wavelengths. After receiving his PhD from Brown University in 2000, Keating did postdoctoral research at Stanford University and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech before coming to UCSD in 2004. He received the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for a telescope he developed at the U.S. South Pole Research Station. Keating co-leads a collaboration operating the Simons Observatory telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Coordinator: Steve Clarey

Course Number: OSHR-70134   Credit: 0 units


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Upcoming Sections

Dates Class Type Section ID Fee Status
01/11/2017 - 02/08/2017 In-class 121211 $10.00 Full

Day and Time: Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Room 129, UCSD Extension Complex, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla