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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail
The Dark Side of the Universe
Taught by: David J. Helfand

Description
E-Seminar Description
Cosmology has a very simple goal, explains Professor David Helfand: to understand the origin, evolution, and fate of all matter, energy, space, and time. In this e-seminar, Professor Helfand introduces us to the fundamentals of contemporary cosmology, such as space-time and the Universe's expansion, and some of the questions that preoccupy scientists today, including the nature and behavior of dark matter, MACHOs, WIMPs, and dark energy. While guiding us through an inventory of the contents of the universe, Professor Helfand shows us that a thorough accounting must include what we cannot see and do not yet understand—the majority of what is there.

E-Seminar Length:3-5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Credits:Not-for-Credit
Prerequisites:None
Moderator:None
All Registrants:FREE
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E-Seminar Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar Objectives
•    To explore what is understood about the universe.

•    To describe and take an inventory of the contents of the universe.

•    To ask new, unanswered questions about the universe and its contents, such as dark matter, MACHOs, WIMPs, and dark energy.

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Outline
1. Home
2. Einstein's Space-Time
3. Space Is Stretching
4. Explaining Hubble's Law
5. Constant Density of Space
6. Distance and Time
7. A Finite Universe
8. A Dynamic Universe
9. Counting Stars
10. Mass Causes Motion
11. Dark Matter
12. MACHOs
13. WIMPs
14. Dark Energy
15. Conclusion

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
David J. Helfand is Department Chair and Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University. He teaches primarily undergraduate courses for nonscience majors and received the 2001 Presidential Teaching Award and the 2002 Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. His work has covered many areas of modern astrophysics, including radio, optical, and x-ray observations of celestial sources ranging from nearby stars to the most distant quasars. He is currently surveying the Galaxy with a goal of obtaining a complete picture of birth and death (for stars) in the Milky Way. Several years ago Helfand appeared weekly on the Discovery Channel's program Science News. More recently he has been called upon to discuss more serious matters on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. He serves on far too many University, government, and American Astronomical Society committees for his own (or anyone else's) good. He believes he is a better cook than astronomer and, ambiguously, most of his colleagues who have sampled his gastronomical undertakings agree.

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Recommended Reading
None. The site for this lecture includes a list of recommended Web sites and articles.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

IBM-COMPATIBLE PC
Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MACINTOSH
MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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