Welcome to Astro 1109

Astro 1109: The Birth of the Universe is a first-year writing seminar focusing on cosmology, the study of the origin, evolution, and ultimate fate of the Universe. In this course, we will investigate the current understanding of cosmology from the perspective of newcomers to science who want to learn more about the Universe around us. Since this is a writing course, we won't use mathematics or physics to understand our surroundings, but will instead take a creative and philosophical approach to our exploration. Texts and stories by popular authors such as Dan Hooper and Alan Lightman will help us investigate some of the burning questions in cutting-edge cosmology: What happened after the Big Bang? What exactly are dark energy and dark matter? What does the future hold?

Starts Spring 2009
Meets Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:55 to 4:10 in Room 102 Rockefeller Hall
Satisfies First Year Writing Seminar Requirement

Required Materials:

  • Einstein's Dreams, by Alan Lightman | Amazon
  • The State of the Universe, by Pedro Ferreira | Amazon
  • Dark Cosmos, by Dan Hooper | Amazon
  • Handbook: Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference, by Andrea A. Lunsford | Amazon, 3rd edition (if you already own a handbook that you would like to use, please see me to make sure it includes everything you'll need; we'll be using MLA format!).


Essay 7 has been posted.

Check out the Schedule and Assignments pages.

Class on Thursday, March 5th will be held in the Physical Sciences Library in Clark Hall.

Astro 1109 now has its own Cornell University Library guide.

Check it out and take advantage of the links within it when looking for sources for your essays!

Essay 4 has been posted.

Check out the Schedule and Assignments pages.

Office Hours have been determined!

I'll hold office hours in 514 Space Sciences Building 3 times a week:

Mondays, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Mondays, 12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

. . . and you can make an appointment any time!

As the semester goes on, watch this space, plus the Schedule and Assignments pages for information on class activities and reading/writing assignments.


The course syllabus outlines course policies and plans.