Astronomy 340: The Origin of the Universe


Prof. Mike Boylan-Kolchin

Astronomy 340 is an introduction to Cosmology for non-majors. Cosmology is the study of the study of the origin and evolution of the Universe and its contents. The course will cover some of the most exciting topics and address some of the biggest questions in science, including:

  • What is our place in the Universe?
  • Why does the Universe look the way it does?
  • What is the origin of cosmic structure, including galaxies (and by extension, stars, planets, and humans)?
  • Evidence for the Big Bang theory, one of the great successes of modern science
  • Special and General Relativity
  • Black Holes
  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy
  • Cosmological Inflation
The course will also follow the historical quest to understand our place in the Universe, from ancient times to the revolutions of Newton and Einstein to our modern-day point-of-view.

Textbook: Foundations of Modern Cosmology, J. Hawley & K. Holcomb (second edition)

Prof. Mike Boylan-Kolchin (Department of Astronomy)
Office: Physical Sciences Complex (PSC) 1105
Phone: 301.405.3026
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00-3:00pm, and by appointment email: mbk@astro.umd.edu

TA: Kyle Elliott
Office: CSS 1250
Office Hours:Tuesday 4:00-5:00pm, Wednesday 3:30-4:30pm
email: kelliot2@terpmail.umd.edu