Department of Astronomy

SAGES Seminars

Here are a sampling of SAGES seminar courses we offer.

Archaeoastronomy (Topical First Seminar)

The unifying theme of this course is how astronomical practice and knowledge is central to ancient civilizations and how that emphasis continues today as manifested through scientific endeavor and also as strongly through the power of unifying myth. We will begin with a discussion of the sky, its motions, and its relation to us and to our forebears and then discuss why ancient man studied the sky – ritual or practical prediction? We shall seek evidence in diverse cultures and times spanning prehistoric monuments in Great Britain to Mayan codices.

Extraterrestrial Life (University Seminar)


Einstein, Space, and Time (University Seminar)

This course explores the profound changes in our conception of space and time brought about by Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity.

Pluto, Dark Matter, and other Astronomical Arguments (University Seminar)

This course explores how scientific controversies are resolved, using examples from astronomy and cosmology. We start with a discussion of the scientific process — both as an ideal and as a practical reality — and an overview of the scale of the universe in space and time. Then we address some historical controversies (with the benefit of scientific hindsight!), before turning to modern examples of astronomical debates (which remain unresolved). In each case, we will examine the scientific basis of the controversy as well as the roles played by cultural and human biases.