Lecture 5 notes (oct 10).docx

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University of Toronto St. George
School of Environment
Stephen Scharper

ENV100: LECTURE 5 10 TH OCTOBER 2013 - How science and cosmologists put environmental context within universal context, how do we relate to the larger unfolding of the universe - Film: Cosmic voyage- what the role of the human is within the unfolding universe, how this relates to environment, what is our place, think of the larger environmental  What is truly large and what is truly small  To understand the universe: what is our true place in the universe, we are all travellers on an unending voyage of discovery  One thinker suggested the earth moved around the sun  Many assumed the earth was at the centre of an unchanging universe  Revolutionary breakthrough 2000 yrs later: Galileo invented telescope, aimed it at the night sky discovered that the moon was filled with mountains, our cosmic journey begins in Venice (outward journey)  Galaxies expanding away from each other, universe is expanding  Inward journey of discovery, microscope invented by Van Hooek, he discovered a living kingdom in a drop of water, busy world of single celled organisms in a droplet of water 1mm  Molecules made up of atoms, atomic nucleus contains almost all of mass packed into protons and neutrons, corks  Particle accelerator to recreate the events after the birth of the universe: particles move at (subatomic derby)  Cosmic voyage enters another dimension of time: physicists trying to understand the events after the Big Bang, one outlines the theory-says that everything was crammed together and then Big Bang occurred (space itself exploded in a burst of radiant energy-newborn universe begins to form-corks begin to form into protons and neutrons), clouds of dust condensed and formed galaxies, galaxies came together in clusters, some galaxies evolved into discs, galaxies drawing together in a collision, force of gravity strips long tails of gas and yet stars never collide because of the vast distances b/w them, 10 billion yrs passed until we encounter our own galaxy-Milky way  Massive stars end explosively, exploding stars called supernovas send out oxygen, iron etc, new star (our sun) ignites and planets form around it  Earth and moon bombarded constantly by asteroids and comets  With violent impacts, acid rains and UV, the young earth was very hostile yet the basic ingredients of life were already here- water, carbon and energy  Scientists that molecules multiplied and gave rise of life  Blue green bacteria evolved, bubbles of oxygen release by them and changed atmosphere, oxygen forms ozone layer that blocked UV rays  New organisms flourished in the waters, algae produced new oxygen  Evolution of organisms in many forms, some with shells for protection, others evolved complex life cycles, increased diversity of life forms, colonization of the harsh dry land-bacteria were first, then algae, then plants then animals  Vertebrates appeared feeding on animals and plants and gave rise to larger life forms, some lived in the air, others in the open plains  15 billion years from cosmic explosion to evolution of life forms. From the beginning we were explorers, curiosity and technology evolved  The Hubble space telescope captured images of dying stars and within the eagle nebula-old stars giving birth to new stars,  Black hole: a red star being consumed, some black holes are collapsed cores with gravity so powerful that even light cannot escape them  Strong evidence that there are planets orbiting other stars- do any have life on them? Search for alien civilization and if we ever get response from aliens it would change our place in the universe  Telescopes are like time machines, the deeper the astronomers look into space the further they see back in time. The more we learn the more mysteries we uncover  Will the universe keep on expanding forever? Will there be other universes?  Man must understand his universe in order to understand his destiny (Neil Armstrong) - Does the unfolding of the universe have a connection with our current environmental state? - Thomas Berry talks about Einstein who was mathematically proving the expansion of the universe. Berry was so blown away that he added the cosmological constant and that mitigated the effect of the expansion. Jesuit priest realized that Einstein had proven universe expansion. Hubble. Berry brought Einstein
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