About the course

Announcement: given the fact that we had only 2 problem sets because of the early exam, and given how well you all did on your class presentations, we have decided to reduce the problem sets to 15% of the grade, and increase the presentations from 5% to 10%. We guarantee that no one's grade will go down due to this change.

Please do not forget to fill in an official McMaster online course evaluation.

See the new page for what's on the final exam and feedback on the midterm.

Please take a minute to fill in (anonymously) this internal course evaluation and return it to one of us: it's just for our use in seeking ways to improve the course.

CLASSES: Th 19:00-22:00  JHE 210                                      

INSTRUCTOR: Richard T. W. Arthur  rarthur at mcmaster dot ca   UH 305; x-23470  OH: T 11:00, Th 14:00

CO-INSTRUCTOR: Ralph Pudritz pudritz at physics.mcmaster dot ca ABB 318; x-23180


The aim of this course is to survey some of the most important ideas, theories, and experiments that mark the development of our understanding the origin of the cosmos and the nature of spacetime that defines it.  Our lectures follow a historical treatment of some of the most important breakthroughs.  We also use an interdisciplinary approach by combining history of science, mathematics, astronomy and astrophysics, and physics (such as particle physics).  There will be some technical material involving physics and astronomy problems.  This is obviously a vast topic!  We have chosen texts that provide a broad non-technical background of the material accessible to any science student (e. g. Greene’s book), as well as insightful treatments of the technical aspects (in the coursepack).We hope that students will be stimulated by the lectures and readings, will engage in class discussions, and that our treatment will serve as a very useful guide to the varied and enormous research literature on this theme. 

© Richard TW Arthur, 2012