## Seminar

Week 8: We will have Adam VanEtten visiting from Stanford, where he is a reasercher in AstroPhysics and a graduate student. Please prepare of the discussion by looking at an overview of Astrophysics:

**INTRODUCTION**

Whereas astronomy is the general study of the observable universe, astrophysics probes even deeper in order to make sense of astronomical observations by modeling the evolution and underlying dynamical processes taking place in such diverse objects as planetary systems, stars, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, and galaxies. This course will form an introduction to astrophysics, drawing on many examples of the latest discoveries and theories concerning our own solar system and the stars and nebulae within the Milky Way galaxy, and will assume a basic level of physics and mathematics, but no previous knowledge of astronomy. The laboratory work will include realistic, computer-based simulations of telescope observations.

In particular, Adam is working on Xray and Gamma Ray space telescopes. Visit the sites below:

http://www-glast.stanford.edu/

Come to class with a page or 2 of prepared questions on the following topics, or others of your choosing:

1. Graduate School in the Sciences

2. Astrophysics and the space telescopes

3. Fusion

4. Research in the Sciences

5. Other???

As James B. Conant writes in the foreword of **The Copernican Revolution**: “Science has been an enterprise full of mistakes and errors as well as brilliant triumphs.” This book describes in detail a great example of a model of motion, the solution to a “highly technical problem.”

For our Seminar week 7, November the 5^{th}, we will discuss the different stages in the development of a consistent model of the universe. In preparation for our discussion, **read** the first four chapters of the Copernican Revolution, and **write and post** a 2-to-3-page essay describing the different models we have used through history to represent planetary motion, starting with the Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Hellenic models and ending with astronomy in the age of Copernicus. Make sure to mention the observations and discoveries that forced the changes in the models. Adding an intellectual, social, religious and economic framework of the different periods is recommended. Take notes. Write in the margins. Bring your best ideas.

Try to post your essay **before** Monday.

Week 6: We will be using the Seminar time this week to review content. You will make an entry to the Week 6 forum. Check there for details. Mario and Ab will have sample problems to work out together. Come prepared to both give and get help. Make sure your forum entry is in before Monday.

Week 5:

Mathematical proof is generally regarded as the most certain form of proof there is, and in the days when Euclid was writing his great geometry text Elements that was surely true in an ideal sense. But many of the proofs of geometric theorems Euclid gave were subsequently found out to be incorrect, so even in the case of a ten line proof in geometry it can be hard to tell right from wrong.When you look at some of the proofs that have been developed in the last fifty years or so, using incredibly complicated reasoning that can stretch into hundreds of pages or more, certainty is even harder to maintain. Consider Thomas Hales, who has been waiting for six years to hear if the mathematical community accepts his proof of astronomer Johannes Kepler’s 360-year-old conjecture that the most efficient way to pack equal sized spheres (such as cannonballs on a ship, which is how the question arose) is to stack them in the familiar pyramid-like fashion that greengrocers use to stack oranges on a counter. After examining Hales' argument (part of which was carried out by computer) for five years, in spring of 2003 a panel of world experts declared that, whereas they had not found any irreparable error in the proof, they were still not sure it was correct. The topic of discussion for our Week 5 Seminar is: “From any field in natural and computer science (math, physics, chemistry, biology, computers, ecology, astronomy, geology, etc), what do you believe, but cannot prove?” Before Monday, each person should make an entry (about one page long) to the Forum making a statement and explaining in detail his or her belief. Maybe other people have had the same idea or belief before you. Feel free to research, read scientific articles and make references in your essay.

Attached, you will find examples of beliefs from other members of the scientific community.

Week 1: We did not have seminar and used this time for Computer Lecture

Attachment | Size |
---|---|

seminar week 5.doc | 30.5 KB |