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Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe

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The more we learn about the universe, the more questions seem to arise. Each new discovery seems to unlock a Pandora’s box of even bigger, even deeper physics questions. This course on edX from Australian National University (ANU) will help understand some of the mysteries that throughout history, mankind has searched and struggled to find the answers tucked away inside the universe.

Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe (ANU-ASTRO1x) is an initiative by two highly esteemed astrophysicists to help us understand and explore nine of the most intriguing mysteries of modern astrophysics including why big bang happened, what is universe made of, how black holes got so big, where the first stars have gone etc. Apart from this various information on recent and ongoing research in this field will be provided. The course expects basic understanding of high school level math and Physics.

This course will be taught by renowned and highly respected astrophysicist Brian Schmidt and Paul Francis. Brian won the The Nobel Prize in Physics 2011 jointly with Riess and Perlmutter, for their observations which led to the discovery of the accelerating universe. This discovery completely changed our understanding of the universe.  It showed that about 70% of the mass of our Universe is in a previously unknown form which is now usually referred to as ‘Dark Energy’. Brian is currently leading ANU’s effort in building SkyMapper telescope, a new facility that will provide a comprehensive digital map of the southern sky from ultraviolet through near infrared wavelengths.

Paul Francis is a prize-winning educator, science communicator and astrophysics researcher at the Australian National University. He is currently trying to work out why the tails of distant comets don’t point the direction they should. Below is a video of him giving a talk at ANU on “greatest unsolved mysteries of the universe”.