Jun 07, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HON 354 - Origin and Evolution of the Universe and Life

Prerequisite, acceptance to the University Honors Program. This course will cover the modern scientific understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe and life, beginning with the Big Bang and ending with the evolution of life on earth and the possibilities for life on exoplanets. We will cover the history and evolution of the universe from a fraction of a second to the present day and to its possible futures as governed by physical laws ascertained through the scientific method. We will discuss the creation of matter and the elements through Big Bang nucleosynthesis and stellar nucleosynthesis and characterize the evolution of large scale structures including planets, stars and galaxies. We will describe the evolution of our understanding of the concept of space and time, highlighting Einstein’s Special and General Relativity and its implications on the fundamental nature of space-time and the recent experimental evidence. We will then proceed to build the earth, characterizing its geological evolution and the concomitant emergence of life and its evolution into the sentient beings capable of understanding the universe to the degree that it can modify its own evolution. This course is the story of our existence and the evolution of our understanding of physical reality through scientific rationalism. This course will require a qualitative and quantitative understanding utilizing basic math skills that will be reviewed during the course though a conceptual understanding will be emphasized. (Offered as needed.) 3 credits