Episode 703: Preparation for cosmology topic

The Crab nebula

Advance warning
This is an area in which there is still a ferment of conflicting ideas. It is useful if you can get some of this across to your students, rather than presenting them with a neat, no-loose-ends version of the scientific truth.

It is worth making an effort to keep up-to-date by reading magazines such as New Scientist, Scientific American etc. Encourage your students to do the same.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a good source of booklets and posters.

Main aims
Students will:

  • describe the evidence for the expansion of the Universe
  • relate this to other evidence that the universe originated in a hot big bang

Prior knowledge
Students should know that light from astronomical objects is often red-shifted, and that this can be interpreted in terms of movement of the source.

Where this leads
Even if your students are not going to become professional cosmologists, this is a topic that many will want to read about in the future, so you will be doing them a great favour if you can kindle their interest at this stage.

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