*~Gravity and the Cosmos~*

Come explore Einstein's greatest achievement, his theory of gravity in a concept based course using everyday language. Learn about our latest understanding of what gravity is; the curvature of space and time. Ponder questions like "does gravity make time travel possible? Do wormholes really exist?" Learn how Einstein's general theory reaches to the very creation of the universe, the Big Bang. This thought-provoking course explains the core science which governs the creation, structure and fate of our cosmos.

WEEK 1: Welcome and Overview - What is gravity? Was the great Isaac Newton wrong? Einstein labored for 10 arduous years to develop his theory of gravity, praised for the magnificence of its architecture and the grandeur of its conception". Learn how he did it and the theory's amazing predictions for our universe.

WEEK 2: Goodbye to Old Fashion Inertia - Explore Galileo's famous Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment. Learn how Einstein was able to explain the nearly 300 year old mystery of why all objects appear to fall at the same rate. We will discuss Apollo 15 astronaut David Scott's dropping of a feather and a hammer on the moon.(which fell fastest?).

WEEK 3: Einstein's Breakthrough - The Equivalence Principle. - A house painter falling of a roof led Einstein to the epiphany that connected his special theory to general relativity. Learn why Einstein called it "the happiest moment of my life". Take the Alien Abduction Test - can you tell whether you are here on Earth or accelerating in an alien rocket ship at 1G?

WEEK 4: The Warping of Time ad Space - Einstein was able to show that gravity makes time run slower. The possibility of time travel with a simple change in altitude will be discussed. Karl Schwarzschild used Einstein's theory to show how stellar objects like our Sun actually distort neighboring space.

WEEK 5: What is Spacetime Curvature? - Einstein's model depicts gravity not as a force but as the curvature of spacetime. We will discuss what spacetime curvature means, and the "geodesic", the shortest path through curved spacetime. From this, Einstein predicted the bending of starlight by the Sun. Learn how the 1919 solar eclipse proved Einstein right, and made him the most famous scientist in the world.

WEEK 6: The Universe Revealed - We will discuss what it means to say "Matter grips spacetime and tells it how to curve, and spacetime grips matter and tells it how to move". Learn about the implications of this visionary theory, including black holes, the Big Bang, gravity waves, and cosmic time.

Textbook: Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe, Vintage Books ISBN #0-375-70811-1 (pbk.) Price about $15