Tuesday, 8 January 2013

G+C: Module 1

So - the course starts! First thing is it seems to go at quite a rate. We're expected to go through two chapters a week, and then answer a quiz on the topic. You need 60% to pass for each quiz. You get two deadlines to complete the quiz by, with only half marks available if you slip the first dead line. So the pressure is on!

The first lecture is a 15 minute video on the history of cosmology and some background material. The video is powerpoint like slides mostly with narration over it, and occasional inset video of the speaker.

I noticed some yellow marks on the slider at the bottom of the video, and found when it got to that point the video paused and you got asked some questions. You get instant feedback on these so it's quite interactive.
However some of the questions were suddenly a little heavy for late night consumption!
Quick, integrate between limits 0 to 1 ex dx. What quantum jump gives the H-alpha line. I admit to having to google that one - I thought it was probably 3-2 but wasn't confident when it came to it.

A couple of things I did learn from this though, which I presumed I'd learn some new things.

  • Bolometric output is the whole output of something. I sort of knew that, but it's not something that concerns me normally, but something clicked here.
  • He went over Olber's paradox, and said not only did it apply to light, but also to gravity. You can recast the paradox into "why aren't we ripped apart by the total tidal force of the gravitational interactions?"
So most of it was a general introduction. The spontaneous calculus was a bit of a shock - but apart from that it was ok.

The next two videos were on more general history leading up to CMB and Dark matter and things like that, taking us up to the present day. These also had quizes in them, but I found them much easier to answer!

So that's module 1 done - about 45 minutes of video in all, with some questions thrown in. Not bad for the first day :) I need to do module 2 though before attempting the assessed quiz.

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