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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Knowing the Universe: History and Philosophy of Astronomy by University of Arizona

4.6
stars
22 ratings

About the Course

This is an introductory level course about the history and philosophy of astronomy, the oldest science. We'll look at how humans learned to ask questions about the universe, and even before the invention of modern instruments like the telescope, learned some amazing things about their place in nature. We will start with prehistoric cultures who kept accurate calendars and move through the time of the Greek philosophers who laid down the rudiments of logic and mathematics and the modern scientific method. We'll then examine the revolutions of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton that redefined our place in the universe. We will then learn about the revolutions in physics in the early 20th century that redefined our ideas of space and time, mass and energy. Finally, we will discuss how modern cosmology has shown us that we live in an ancient universe (14 billion years old), in one galaxy in a universe of hundreds of billions of galaxies. At the end, will ask questions that don't necessarily have answers. What came before the Big Bang? Is there anything outside our universe? What is reality? We'll finish by looking at the role of life in the universe and ask whether the earth is the only place with biology on it....

Top reviews

DG

Jan 13, 2023

Professor Impey is outstanding in teaching this course, as he displays his generosity to share his amazing knowledge of the astronomy field. Thank you so much for such an enriching experience.

XZ

Mar 12, 2024

popularized science, made it so easy for everyone to learn, and motivated to learn more...

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1 - 12 of 12 Reviews for Knowing the Universe: History and Philosophy of Astronomy

By Carol B

Jan 11, 2023

The Course Material was factual, interesting , thought provoking and so beautifully presented that I was sad that it had to come to the end.

I loved the sequence of the modules .I settled in nicely with the astronomy that was familiar to me and building up from there was the most incredible experience. Up until now 've had a very compartementalized idea of the history and philosophy of astronomy.

At first I was apprehensive of the peer assignments but what a wonderful way to experience the different thoughts, opinions and writing styles of my peers, from whom I could learn much. I now have a whole new perspective of the universe (and maybe other universes as well!) Thank you so much for the opportunity.

By Ragnar L

Mar 4, 2023

Excellent course. Very engaging and entertaining. The overlap from Prof. Impey's 2 other astronomy courses was solidly reenforced and much, much new information on astronomy in general was provided, particularily historical. I had never dwelled much before on the philosophical and socialogical impact of astronomy on mankind throughout history. Highly recommended. Well spent time and effort.

By Colleen M

Jan 11, 2023

Excellent course. Extremely interesting and informative. Particularly enjoyed the videos and the cartoon elements. These courses are great for people who cant go to university but still love learning. Many thanks to Professor Impey.

By David G

Jan 14, 2023

Professor Impey is outstanding in teaching this course, as he displays his generosity to share his amazing knowledge of the astronomy field. Thank you so much for such an enriching experience.

By Dimitris S

Mar 7, 2023

Long long way of astronomy. Thank you, prof, I'm so grateful. The presentations are exquisite. Highly recommended as an introductory course.

By Xin Z

Mar 13, 2024

popularized science, made it so easy for everyone to learn, and motivated to learn more...

By Susan M

Feb 3, 2023

Loved the course! Very provocative!

By Gordon R

Mar 2, 2024

Excellent course and teaching.

By Patrick P V

Oct 24, 2023

Grat course, great professor

By Reclus P

Mar 28, 2024

thank you Professor Impey

By Jim B

Mar 1, 2023

The strong part of this class is the setup and the figures. The setup is that a download of the slides are provided, and you can have them open while listening to the lecture (and can make notes). This is a lot better than some other classes I've taken where no slides were available and only the (poor) machine translations of the lecture was available. The figures are another strong point. Well done diagrams, and of course great photography, make the class easy to get thru.

I don't give it 5 stars because there are some slides shown that are not in the download, forcing me me get a screen shot of the material and add it in. There are also some typos (like one astronomers' born and died dates made him 250 years old). But the most irritating part was near the end, where there are some places where the download material has 4 photos superimposed on top of each other and you only get to see the top one.

Then there's the content. I was expecting more on the past astronomy (this is a history class) but in the end he gets into Dark Matter and Dark Energy that he admits no one really knows what they are.

He also spends way too much on biology evolution and geological changes. I understand that these processes require many years to work, and that astronomy gives them the years needed, but this is a History of Astronomy class not a History of Science class, and I just wasn't interested.

Still, I'm glad I took the class, and I'm movng on.

By Karen M

Dec 12, 2023

A wide -ranging course which is interesting and thought provoking. Professor Impey runs regular live Q &A sessions online which is very useful for clearing up any queries you have about the course but also includes a vast range of Astronomy questions. I am grateful to Professor Impey for taking the time to be present at these sessions, they were an unexpected bonus. Thank you. On the negative side, there are a few transcription errors on the slides which are a distraction. However, my main problem with the course is the slow loading of pages on the Coursera platform. I have taken part in 3 courses on Coursera and this was the only one with this issue. It took minutes to respond, to the point where you give up and try again another day. It took perseverance to continue, I nearly gave up completely several times but thought the course was worth the effort to stick with it.