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PHYSICS 12N: Black Holes: Fact and Fancy

Black Holes have been observed throughout the universe using radio waves, light, X- and gamma-rays and now with gravitational radiation. They are well-described using Einstein's theory of relativity and provide dramatic demonstrations of how physicists think about matter, energy, space, and time. They have also stimulated much science fiction. This seminar is intended primarily for non-science freshmen who should learn how some really big ideas were developed, debated, and then demonstrated to be correct. Movies and popular books will be critiqued and used to illustrate basic properties of black holes. Special attention will be paid to understanding what it takes for an interesting idea to become accepted or rejected as scientific fact. There will be visits to Stanford labs where instruments used to observe black holes were conceived, constructed and combined.
Terms: Win | Units: 3
Instructors: ; Blandford, R. (PI)
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