One year each of high school chemistry and physics are strongly recommended but not required. Because this class takes a quantitative approach, participants should be comfortable using their math skills to solve problems. Calculus is useful but not necessary.
“I loved learning about our universe, and the activity about going to Mars was super fun! I think I also learned a lot about group work and collaborating efficiently.” – Jacqueline C. | Oakland Gardens, New York
This course traces our knowledge of the universe from astronomy’s ancient roots to the modern study of extrasolar planetary systems, cosmology, and black holes. We begin with Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation, Kepler’s laws, orbital dynamics, and space travel. Next we take up the nature of light, the structure of matter, the emission and absorption of light by matter, and nuclear physics. We apply this knowledge to describe the properties of our sun and of the planets of our solar system, the properties and fate of stars in general, and the discovery of planets around other stars. Further topics include galaxies and the dark matter and black holes they contain, supernovae and the creation of chemical elements, and the expansion of the universe. We end with Einsteinian cosmology, the cosmic microwave background, dark energy, and the fate of the universe.
James H. Applegate is a professor of astronomy at Columbia University. He received his B.S. in astrophysics from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. in physics from SUNY at Stony Brook. He was a Bantrell Research Fellow at the California Institute of Technology and has served as chair of Columbia’s Astronomy Department.
Bruce Greenspan holds a B.S.E. in electrical engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and a master's in physics education from Teachers College, Columbia University. After a few years in the financial world, he started his teaching career teaching A.P. Physics and SAT prep in Seoul, South Korea. Bruce has spent the last eleven years teaching in New York City. He currently instructs AP Physics 1 and a modern physics elective (concentrating on special relativity and quantum mechanics) at Brooklyn Technical High School.
Michael Landry is a graduate student in physics at Columbia University and holds an A.B. from Harvard University. His research interests are in high energy physics, cosmology, and condensed matter physics. Michael is currently employed by Columbia's Theory Group working under the guidance of Professors Alberto Nicolis and Lam Hui.