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2018 Week 5 Course 5

A History of Cosmology across Five Centuries:


Copernicus to the Big Bang


Allan Chapman


Week 5

29 July - 4 August 2018

One of humanity’s greatest achievements has been the fathoming of the universe. This course will examine how this came about, between 1500 and today. The reason why the universe of the young Copernicus was still essentially that of the ancient Greeks was not because of ‘medieval superstition’, but a shortage of fresh data. What changed after c.1570, and especially with the telescope after 1609, was a floodtide of new information, obtained with new types of instruments. And this Renaissance connection between technology and discovery has accelerated down to today. But discovery is also about ingenious men and women and historical circumstances, and these we will examine, from the moving earth to the ‘Big Bang’.





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