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WSP 128 — An Introduction to Astrophysics: The Energetic Universe

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Apr 13
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 6
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $230
Instructor(s): Elena Orlando
Limit: 40
10:00 am—4:00 pm
Apr 13
1 day
Drop By
Apr 6
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Elena Orlando
Staring up at the stars at night, we see a universe that appears to be quiet and calm. Only through the aid of sophisticated telescopes are we able to witness the intense and unexpected phenomena lighting up the cosmos. This workshop offers a basic introduction to the study of these phenomena in astrophysics. It begins by describing the different types of astronomical objects, including the Sun and distant black holes. Next, we will learn about various energetic phenomena in the universe such as explosions of massive stars and lightning from distant galaxies. We will discuss pivotal discoveries made recently using sophisticated telescopes in space and on land, including the Voyager spacecraft, the first human-built instrument to leave the solar system. The day will continue with discussion of recent astrophysical discoveries. For example, in 2017, a group of scientists received a Nobel Prize in Physics for their decisive contributions to the first-ever direct observation of gravitational waves emanated from a black hole collision. Finally, we will look at what astrophysicists are working on and what kinds of things they don’t yet know.

This introductory course is open to students of all levels. No prior scientific knowledge is needed.

Elena Orlando, Senior Research Scientist in Astrophysics, HEPL and KIPAC, Stanford

Elena Orlando’s research focuses on the discovery and explanation of the origin of energetic phenomena in the universe. She has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and is involved in NASA and ESA space missions. She received a PhD in physics from the Technical University of Munich and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.