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Cosmology: Making Sense of the Universe

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Uploaded on Feb 4, 2011

Guy Consolmagno SJ, Astronomer and Curator of Meteorites, Vatican Observatory, Castel Gandolfo, Vatican City State




Presented as the initial lecture in the University of Arizona College of Science's Spring 2011 lecture series, "Cosmic Origins." Guy Consolmagno is curator of meteorites at the Vatican Observatory at Castel Gandolfo in the Vatican City State. cos.arizona.edu/cosmic/

Our "cosmology" is the sum of our assumptions and deductions of how the universe behaves. With the advent of modern physics, the term has been appropriated by physicists and astronomers to represent a scientific description of the origin and nature of the physical universe. But cosmologies can also be outlined in ways that don't use physics and astronomy. Indeed, there is continual feedback between prevailing nonscientific assumptions about the universe and the scientific picture, with each influencing the direction of the other. We'll look at a series of historical cosmologies, and discuss the sometimes hidden assumptions that underlie modern astronomy.

"Cosmic Origins" is the story of the universe but it's also our story. The lectures in this series address the origin of space and time, mass and energy, the atoms in our bodies, the compact objects where matter can end up, and the planets and moons where life may flourish. Modern cosmology includes insights and triumphs, but mysteries remain. The six speakers explore cosmology's historical and cultural backdrop to explain the discoveries that speak of our cosmic origins.

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