Cluster 7: The Big Bang and the Subatomic World


Instructors: Professor Manoj Kaplinghat and Colleagues in the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Prerequisites: Algebra or Integrated Math I, and Geometry

Course Description:
How did the Universe get to be the way it is? In the last hundred years, we have made great strides in answering this age-old question. But what we have learned has only deepened the mystery. The expansion of the Universe is accelerating and almost 95% of the energy in the Universe seems to be dark. What are the building blocks of this “dark sector”? What are the building blocks of the periodic table of elements? How does Einstein’s theory of relativity and gravity figure into these questions? These fascinating questions are in the realm of particle physics (study of the smallest particles) and cosmology (study of the universe on the largest observable scales). This cluster will provide students with a quantitative understanding and appreciation of the big unanswered questions in cosmology and particle physics through lectures, tutorials and in-class discussions and debates. Each student will also participate in a group research project on a cutting edge topic in particle physics and cosmology, culminating in a poster and oral presentation during the last week.