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Big Bang, Black Holes, No Math ASTR/PHYS 109 Dr. David Toback Lecture 5 & 6 Prep for Today (Is now due) – L5 Reading: BBBHNM 5BBBHNM: Chap 1-4 Recommended BHOT: Chap. 1-3 SHU: Chap. 1-2 TOE: Chap. 1 eLearning Quizzes: Chapters 2-3 Reading questions Turn in now

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Big bang black holes no math astr phys 109 dr david toback lecture 5 6 l.jpg

Big Bang, Black Holes, No MathASTR/PHYS 109Dr. David TobackLecture 5 & 6

Prep for today is now due l5 l.jpg
Prep for Today (Is now due) – L5

  • Reading:

    • BBBHNM 5BBBHNM: Chap 1-4

    • Recommended

      • BHOT: Chap. 1-3

      • SHU: Chap. 1-2

      • TOE: Chap. 1

  • eLearning Quizzes:

    • Chapters 2-3

  • Reading questions

    • Turn in now

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Prep for Today (Is now due) – L6

  • Reading:

    • BBBHNM 5

    • Recommended

    • BHOT: Chap. 1-3

    • SHU: Chap. 1-2, 3 (p55-69)

    • TOE: Chap. 1

  • eLearning Quizzes:

    • Chapters 2-3

  • Reading questions

    • Two questions from Chapter 5 or the recommended reading

    • Turned in on eLearning BEFORE class

Next topic scientific methods l.jpg
Next Topic: Scientific Methods

Unit 1:

  • Introduction  Done

  • Going Big  Done

  • Going Small  Done

  • Scientific Methods

    Today we move on to the Questions and How we go about answering them

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Plan for the Next Few Weeks


  • More on the Questions and How we go about answering them

  • Some of the history to teach us about the method

  • Need to learn some physics



Next Unit

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Next few Weeks Continued…

To learn Cosmology will also need to learn a bit about:

  • Light and Doppler Shifts

  • Gravity

  • Atomic Physics and Quantum Mechanics

  • Nuclear Physics and Chemistry

  • Temperature and Thermal Equilibrium

    Won’t spend too long on these, just enough to get back to the big picture…

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History and The Scientific Method

  • What are the Questions and how do we go about answering them?

  • Scientific Method

    • How do we know what we know? Why do we believe the stories we heard growing up?

    • History as example…

    • Observation (looking at the heavens)

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How do we know what we know?

  • We have a lot of experience in the world around us

  • Unfortunately, our experience is really lousy in guiding us to really understanding the bigger (and smaller) world around us unless we’re really careful

  • As you’ve already seen, the world is incredibly complex and much of it is different from what we experience

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Actually, it’s even worse

  • What we “believe” can deceive us from understanding how things actually work

  • Unfortunately, our history is littered with “Just-so stories…” that have set back our understanding

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History and Just-So Stories

State of our understanding 2500 years ago: “The earth is, obviously, flat…”

So, how DID they figure out the earth is round?

  • Ships on the horizon: Top of the mast first

  • Aristotle (340 BC): The earth’s shadow on the moon

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How did people ages ago understand the stuff in the sky?

People have been trying to understand the heavens for ages and arguing about what’s really going on…

Pumbaa: Timon?

Timon: Yeah?

Pumbaa: Ever wonder what those sparkly dots are up there?

Timon: Pumbaa. I don't wonder; I know.

Pumbaa: Oh. What are they?

Timon: They're fireflies. Fireflies that uh... got stuck up in that big... bluish-black... thing.

Pumbaa: Oh. Gee. I always thought that they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away.

Timon: Pumbaa, wit' you, everything's gas.

  • More serious observers noticed that all the “stars” move together, except for 5 that move weirdly…

    • Call these (and Sun and Moon) “wanderers” or Planets (Greek for wanderer)

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Ptolemy’s Universe (2nd century)

Observe that the Sun, Moon and the other “wanderers” orbit the Earth in mostly circular paths

Every so often the planets move backward for awhile, but these could be me mini-orbits way out there (epicycles)… Hmmm…

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What we “believe” can mislead us

  • We “see” the sun/moon go around the Earth, must be so!

  • The Church demanded that this model be accepted for Religious reasons…

    • Man should be at the center of the universe

    • Circular orbits – Perfection!

  • This model was accepted for nearly 1500 years

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Cracks in the `early cosmology’

In 1514, Copernicus wrote that Planets and Earth orbit the Sun

Much simpler in some ways

 no epicycles

More complicated in others

 Earth must be rotating

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If we lived in the 1500’s, why should we believe this crazy guy?

The Earth isn’t at REST and rotates?

  • Shouldn’t we FEEL this?

  • If the Earth is rotating why don’t we fall off like an ant on a bicycle wheel?

  • Why don’t we feel a wind as we rotate?

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An interesting aside… crazy guy?

  • The Church was COMPLETELY opposed to this view for religious reasons

  • Then again…Copernicus was a polish priest and was lucky enough to live far from Rome so he could safely be ignored by the Church

  • Interesting how the church seems to both be the great mover forward, and the great obstacle…

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Cracks in the `early cosmology’ crazy guy?

Should his view have just “been accepted”?

Perhaps his theory was just a “different interpretation” of the same data?

  • Both models are consistent with observations

    Need more evidence!

    Need a better TOOL to test, experimentally, which is correct

    Early 1600’s: Kepler and Galileo started gathering data from telescopes

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The Moons of Jupiter crazy guy?

  • Data changes everything…

  • Moons orbit Jupiter!  Solid evidence that not EVERYTHING orbits the Earth!

  • Planet paths are ellipses, not PERFECT circles, but pretty understandable

  • Copernicus’s models now better predicts the observed data

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Phases of the Moon crazy guy?

  • Can understand the phases of the Moon because of the locations of all three

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The Phases of Venus crazy guy?

  • Venus has phases, like the moon

  • No good way to explain this in Ptolemy’s system

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Interesting aside Continued: The backlash… crazy guy?

  • These findings contradicted the Church!

  • Now scientists have a problem: Galileo was a leading scientist in Italy (close to Rome!) and he was Loud!

  • The Church spurned this as heretical and set back science (nearly ex-communicated, sentenced to life of house arrest)

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The next generation…Newton crazy guy?

  • Newton writes that there is Gravity and that it is a Force

  • So what? The same force that pulls an apple to the ground from a tree ALSO pulls the Moon towards the Earth and keeps it in orbit

  • This “explains” the orbits (and why we don’t fall off a spinning Earth)

Isaac Newton 1687

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Scientific Method crazy guy?

The history is fun, but we have a problem:

  • How do we separate true stories from stories we’d like to believe, but aren’t actually true?

  • Need EVIDENCE and a good Scientific THEORY

    • Good hypothesis testing

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“It’s a theory…” crazy guy?

  • Theory:“A set of rules that relate quantities in a model to observations we make”

  • Hypothesis:“A tentative assumption that is useful in that it predicts the outcome of an experiment and can be tested”

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Science crazy guy?

  • For us to “believe” in a theory, or said better, to think it might correspond to truth, we agree that it has to be tested in such a way it can be tested over and over again such that the results must always confirm the theory

  • Do things function in a “predictable” manner?

  • What happens when you test a hypothesis?

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What Makes a Good Theory? crazy guy?

Two requirements:

  • It must accurately describe a large number of types of observations based on a few arbitrary elements

    • For example g, the acceleration due to gravity

  • It must make DEFINTEPREDICTIONS about the results of FUTURE (not yet done) observations

    • Creates a testable hypothesis

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Yet more on Scientific Method crazy guy?

  • It also must be falsifiable

  • If we do an experiment and the results disagree with the predictions of the theory, then the theory is wrong or has to be modified…

  • But, if we can make predictions for an experiment that’s never been done with incredible accuracy and the data agrees then it gives us really good reason to believe there really are underlying principles in the world we live in

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What science does not promise crazy guy?

Science does not promise eternal truths

Only promises the systematic elimination of false hypotheses and the establishment of what is currently the most likely explanation of an aspect of reality…

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Better experiments… crazy guy?

At some point our experiments get so good that we can “observe” things that our eyes can’t see directly

  • The very small

  • The very faint and/or far away

    What happens if the theories that explain what we can see with our eyes don’t explain what we see in a microscope?

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Weirdness… crazy guy?

Have to try new weirder theories

  • What if we come up with a theory that accurately “predicts” the results of both the experiments we can do with our eyes AND the really sensitive ones we can do with really special microscopes?

  • What if that theory is counter to our intuition?

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More weirdness crazy guy?

  • What if our weird theory then makes further weird predictions?

  • What if it predicts that if we do a simple experiment we will get crazy results?

  • What if we DO the experiment and GET the crazy results?

    At what point do start believing there is some “truth” to the theory?

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Fact is Stranger than Fiction crazy guy?

  • Typically we tend to believe that theories that do a good job of predicting the results of experiments have some basis in reality

  • In the 1920’s scientists starting coming up with such theories:General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are good examples…

    • Will talk in the next unit what’s weird about them, and what weird things they predict and explain

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Paper 1 is now posted crazy guy?

  • What is the evidence for the Earth going around the Sun?

  • Explain it to someone who isn’t taking the class (no jargon)

  • Format:

    • Introduction paragraph

    • 1 paragraph per piece of evidence

    • Conclusion paragraph that ties it together


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Paper Notes crazy guy?

  • ~2 pages, double spaced (~600 words)

  • No citations! Use your own words

  • Text should be professional. You are “trusted guide” not a “buddy” or “comedian”

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Administrative Stuff crazy guy?

  • Posted on CPR

    • Can get there from my website or eLearning

    • Read all the directions carefully


  • You will need to submit a copy of your final paper ALSO to the line on eLearning

  • Due 1 week from today at noon

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Next Topics: Unit 2 crazy guy?

  • Light and Doppler Shifts

  • Gravity

  • Atomic Physics and Quantum Mechanics

  • Nuclear Physics and Chemistry

  • Temperature and Thermal Equilibrium

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Prep for Next Time crazy guy?

  • Reading:

    • BBBHNM 5

      • Recommended: SHU: 3 (p55-69)

  • Reading questions

    • Two questions from Chapter 5 or the recommended reading

    • Turn in on eLearning BEFORE class

  • eLearning Quiz

    • Chapter 4

  • Start working on Paper 1

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Full set of Readings So Far crazy guy?

  • Required:

    • BBBHNM: Chap 1-5

  • Recommended:

    • BHOT: Chap. 1-3

    • SHU: Chap. 1-3 (p55-69)

    • TOE: Chap. 1

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End of Lecture crazy guy?

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The Church and Science crazy guy?

  • It’s easy to pick on the church with hindsight

  • Then again, much of the great progress in our understanding of the physical world comes because science (and lots of other things) were its beneficiary

  • In today’s lingo “The Church” was the one of the few funding agencies for hundreds of years…

    • What if you weren’t independently wealthy and wanted to do science? (Want to learn to read???) And be able to eat? Either become a priest or a monk… Maybe work for a King?

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Reading Quizzes crazy guy?

  • We are not looking for questions where we could get the answer on Google (which you could do)

  • Wrong questions:

    • How big is the largest planet we’ve found?

    • When was the telescope invented?

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Epicycles… crazy guy?

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Copernicus Continued crazy guy?

  • This is a test…

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Ptolemy crazy guy?

  • Eight “bodies” rotating the earth in circular orbits (2nd century BC).

  • People accepted this theory even though it had problems (moon should be twice as big..)

    • Church liked it… it stuck and was largely unquestioned

    • It didn’t offend anyone

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Kepler crazy guy?

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Ptolomy crazy guy?

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Brahe crazy guy?

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SHU: Chapter 1 crazy guy?

  • Eratosthenes (Greek mathematician)

  • Different length shadows at the same TIME of day.

  • Pictures? Pages 22 and 23