PHYSICS 169 - The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Modern Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology
Fall 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Physics (PHYSICS)
Department: LSA Physics
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
BS, NS, QR/1
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted for students who are enrolled in or have completed PHYSICS 112.
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
High school mathematics.
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course divides the cosmos into four scales of astrophysical inquiry — the whole universe, galaxies, stars, and planets. In addition to providing windows to view the operations of nature, each of these astronomical entities experience life cycles, beginning with a birth event and ending with death-like closure. This course shows how this cosmic evolution is driven by the basic laws of physics.

All parts of this course will be guided by the scientific method, and will emphasize how the key concepts have been experimentally verified, the degree of uncertainty in the current measurements, and what types of changes (both large and small) might be expected with future observations. The course will teach the students that physics not only increases our understanding and appreciation of the universe, but will also show how past advances in physics have led to useful/practical technologies.

Course Requirements:

The course will require reading assignments, participation in lecture/discussion, homework assignments, and exams. More specifically, reading will be assigned before each class meeting, which will consist of a one-hour lecture and a half-hour discussion period (the class meets twice a week for 1.5 hours per meeting). The course will also have (approximately) weekly homework assignments that are based on the reading and lecture. These assignments will consist of straightforward physics problems that follow the course material. The course will also have both a midterm exam and a final exam.

The proposed weighting for the grades are as follows:

  • Homework assignments (35 percent)
  • Midterm Exam (30 percent)
  • Final Exam (35 percent)

Intended Audience:

Undergraduate students at all levels of their academic career.

Class Format:

The class will consist of a one hour lecture and a half hour discussion period (the class meets twice a week for 1.5 hours per meeting).


PHYSICS 169 - The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Modern Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)