Deep Space and Deep Time

(Honors 1500, Perspectives in the Physical Sciences)

Instructor: Daniel V. Schroeder, Physics Department, Weber State University

Time: Fall semester, 1999, 8:30 a.m.

This course is part of the WSU Honors Program.


This course will address the grandest question of physical science: How big, and how old, is the universe? We will take a historical perspective, looking at how scientists have tried to answer this question from ancient times to the twentieth century. Our modern answers come mainly from the disciplines of astronomy and geology. Underlying these disciplines, however, are the physical laws governing motion, gravity, energy, light, and radioactivity. By the end of the course we will synthesize all of this knowledge into a modern picture of our place in the universe.

Course Outline

  1. The Copernican Revolution (5 weeks)

  2. The Age of the Earth (4 weeks)

  3. The Large-Scale Structure of the Universe (6 weeks)

Reading Materials

Class Format

Class sessions will be devoted mainly to discussion of the reading materials and related ideas, with occasional lecture presentations by the instructor or guest lecturers. There will be about 6-8 written assignments and papers, from one to six pages in length. We will have short quizzes in class roughly once a week, but no full-length exams.

Related information (with no implied endorsement!):

For more information, please contact the instructor, either by e-mail ( or phone (801-626-6048).

Last modified on September 6, 1999.