The Evolving Universe from the Big Bang to Homo Sapiens
Firdevs Duru, Associate Professor of Physics
January 25 & February 1
Scientific knowledge currently tells us that everything in the Universe originated from a very hot, dense singularity during the fraction of a second after the Big Bang. In this two-week forum, Associate Professor of Physics Firdevs Duru introduces that idea and other key aspects of the emergence of the Universe and life on Earth. The first session will introduce some basic physics concepts, including the nature of light, waves, particles, and force, the formation of matter and spontaneous symmetry-breaking, and the origins of mass, galaxies, stars, solar systems, and planets. The second session will focus on life on Earth. We will begin by defining the organic chemicals and conditions essential to life on our planet, including the notion of “primordial soup” and the Miller-Urey experiment. The discussion will continue with a brief history of human species from primates to homo sapiens, including examination of concepts like Darwinian evolution, natural selection, and consideration of why today’s humans were the ones who survived.