INCO 796: Cosmology and Our View of the World

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a seminar for students at all levels

Will be on again in
Spring Semester 2016

First Class: Wednesday, January 27, 6:10-7:40 pm
in Morse Hall 401

Eberhard Möbius
Department of Physics and Institute for the Study of Earth Oceans, and Space

Thomas Laue
Department of Molecular, Cellular & Biomedical Sciences

Willem deVries
Department of Philosophy

We will explore the sources and limits of human knowledge concerning the origin of the universe, the origin and distribution of life in the universe, and the mystery of our consciousness of the universe. Three UNH faculty members from diverse academic backgrounds have joined together to offer this discussion-centered course, which is open to students from all academic levels and programs. This one-credit course is not intended to fulfill any particular program requirement, but rather to serve as an expression of a shared desire to delve deeply into the mysteries of our existence as conscious beings in a vast universe.

Starting from the historic evolution of humankind's view of the world, we will explore the edge of current scientific knowledge in modern cosmology and evolution and how this relates to the spiritual “other half” of our being. We will explore the wider picture of the unfolding universe over the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang, including the evolution of sentient life, as well as philosophical and religious interpretations of the meaning of this process. The seminar raises questions about the foundation and structure of human knowledge and whether there are limits to its reach. We will explore the arguments for technological and scientific limits, for “in-principle” philosophical limits connected with the nature of our minds, as well as limits potentially inherent in a religious/spiritual quest for knowledge. These and other related questions will be discussed in the tension field between science, religion and philosophy.

This Seminar is meant to reach out to students majoring in a variety of fields from the "hard core" sciences through the humanities. In order to facilitate this endeavor we plan to disseminate summaries of our discussions via internet across the Campus. The responsibility of preparing a brief summary following each session will be passed among the students. The level of the scientific discussions and the summaries should be that of the publication, Scientific American.
We will include new developments in the sciences, technology and society as appropriate.

Eberhard Möbius
Phone (603) 862-3097
Office Hours: Tu, We, Fr 1100-1200
Morse Hall, rm 407

Thomas Laue
Phone (603) 862-2459

Willem DeVries
Phone (603) 862- 3077

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