ONLINE: Humankind has struggled with existential questions for as long as there have been humans. Typically, our search for meaning and purpose has focused inward, looking to ourselves for answers. In this lecture-based course, we look outward at the universe to discuss our existence. We start with a survey of current knowledge of stars, galaxies and the universe, and then discuss the great outstanding cosmological questions: What is dark matter? What is dark energy? What is the nature of black holes? How did the universe begin? How will it end? What is the role of intelligence in the cosmos? We also address questions about exoplanets and exolife. We end with a far-ranging discussion of our species’ need to explore, survive and thrive to find purpose and meaning in this cosmos. The answer is not here, it is out there. | Lecture + Q&A, Facilitated discussion.
Max enrollment: 200.
Class sessions are recorded.
Brand Fortner is a teaching professor at NC State University where he teaches astronomy, astrophysics and physics, and is adjunct professor of physics at UNC. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in high energy astrophysics. Brand founded two scientific software companies, and previously held positions at NASA and Johns Hopkins University. Brand has written books on color vision and technical data, and is in high demand for his public lectures on all things astronomical.