Professor Bailyn returns to the subject of the expansion of the universe to offer explanations that do not require belief in the Big Bang theory. One alternative is a theory that, in the past, the entire universe was reduced to an "initial singularity," in which everything was much closer, and therefore denser and hotter. Since the universe is in constant flux, however, it follows that in the future things will drift apart. The Steady State explanation for the expansion of the universe is then explained. Coined as a derogatory term meant to ridicule supporters of the Big Bang theory, Steady State purports that new energy and matter are constantly created as the universe expands, to fill in the void that results from the expansion. The discovery of quasars refuted the Steady State theory. The lecture ends with a discussion of how observing very distant objects allows us to look back in time, and also gives us a glimpse into the future of galaxies and the universe.
This course focuses on three particularly interesting areas of astronomy that are advancing very rapidly: Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes, and Dark Energy. Particular attention is paid to current projects that promise to improve our understanding significantly over the next few years. The course explores not just what is known, but what is currently not known, and how astronomers are going about trying to find out.
As one of the world's great universities, Yale traces its roots back to the early 1640s when colonial clergyman sought to establish a school in order to continue the tradition of European education within the Americas. Yale has now grown to educate over 11,000 students from over 100 countries on a 310-acre campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Within the school's 260 buildings are over 2,000 undergraduate programs in 65 departments taught by a distinguished faculty. As Academic Earth's first partner school, Yale has been a leader within the space of OpenCourseWare by consistently delivering on its esteemed mission to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn.