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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Volker Bromm

Associate Professor University of Heidelberg, Germany – Physics, M.Sc. (1993) Yale University, New Haven, CT – Astronomy, Ph.D. (2000)

Contact

Biography

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin and a member of the Theory Group.

Interests

Formation of the first stars and quasars; high-redshift supernovae and metal enrichment; supermassive black hole formation; gamma-ray bursts; reionization of the intergalactic medium; present-day star formation; computational astrophysics.

T C 302 • Hist & Philosophy Of Astronomy

43370 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CRD 007A
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Volker Bromm

TC 302

History and Philosophy of Astronomy

 

Description:

We will trace the history of astronomy over two millennia, and discover the intimate relation of this great story of discovery to the overall evolution of human civilization. We will also approach some of the big philosophical questions related to astronomy and cosmology: Why does the universe exist? What is space, what is time? What are our cosmic origins, and what is our long-term destiny in a cosmos dominated by dark energy? 

We will read some of the seminal texts and books. The goal is to appreciate the close interrelation of science, the history of ideas, and of philosophical concepts, that come together in astronomy.

 

Texts (this is just a sample):

-       Plato, Timaeus, Oxford University Press

-       Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Modern Library Edition

-       Thomas S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution, Harvard University Press

-       Jim Holt, Why does the World Exist?

-       Sean Carroll, From Eternity to Here

 

Grading:

The student’s final grade will be based on a point system.

-       Essay 1 – 25

-       Essay 2 – 25

-       Group Project 20

-       Class Participation (series of small presentations) 30

 

Essays: The two essays are the core of your effort.  You can choose each essay’s topic from a list of suggestions provided by the instructor.  You are asked to submit a first version of the essay, will receive detailed suggestions for improving the work from the instructor, and will have the opportunity to modify the text.  Only then after the final submission, will the grade be assigned.  The grade will reflect the content as well as the style.  Each essay should have 8 typewritten, double-spaced pages (plus bibliography and title page). 

T C 302 • Hist & Philosophy Of Astronomy

42910 • Spring 2012
Meets MW 1230pm-200pm CRD 007B
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Description:

We will trace the history of astronomy over two millennia, and discover the intimate relation of this great story of discovery to the overall evolution of human civilization.  In a very direct way, the history of astronomy is OUR story, telling us about our place in a magnificent and forever changing universe. 

 

We will read some of the seminal texts, books and original discovery papers.  The goal is to appreciate the close interrelation of science, the history of ideas, and of philosophical concepts, that come together in astronomy.

 

Texts:

-       Michael Hoskin, The History of Astronomy, Oxford University Press

-       Marcia Bartusiak, Archives of the Universe, Vintage Books (note: this book contains a collection of the original discovery papers, somewhat abbreviated if too technical, and prefaced with individual introductions)

-       Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Modern Library Edition

-       Thomas S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution, Harvard University Press

-       Rene Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, Hard Press

-       Plato, Timaeus and Critias, Penguin Classics

 

Grading:

The student’s final grade will be based on a point system.

-       Essay 1 – 25

-       Essay 2 – 25

-       2 In-Class Exams 2x10

-       Class Participation 30

 

Essays: The two essays are the core of your effort.  You can choose each essay’s topic from a list of suggestions provided by the instructor.  You are asked to submit a first version of the essay, will receive detailed suggestions for improving the work from the instructor, and will have the opportunity to modify the text.  Only then after the final submission, will the grade be assigned.  The grade will reflect the content as well as the style.  Each essay should have 8 typewritten, double-spaced pages (plus bibliography and title page).  

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