- Contents: Students get an overview on cosmology and the origins of major biological systems, and deepen their knowledge in a number of specific subjects of their interest.
- Skills: write scientific essays, give presentations, learn to find and evaluate scientific literature.
- Understand the interplay of observation, measurement, technology, theory and critical reflection. Appreciate how difficult it is to come to a consistent interpretation of what is observed. Recognize how ideology and general world view interfere with science and vice versa.
- Gain insight in personal development. Reflection on what you are interested in, on your own academic development, on your critical thinking. Find the relation of your personal development with science, and with the most fundamental and confronting questions.
The Origins module introduces students into fundamental questions about the origins of the Universe. Cosmology includes a description of the origin of matter, space and time. It is about the origin and development of the Universe, of stars, galaxies, supernovas and black holes, and the fact that we literally consist of stardust. It culminates in considerations what the conditions are for the origin of life. This introduces students into fundamental questions about the origins of major biological systems. What are the conditions needed for life? Where will the future of evolution lead us? In the area of cosmology, very important breakthroughs have been realized during the last decades through advances in observation techniques. What impact might these discoveries have on the future of biology and cosmology? What might be the next major breakthrough in these fields?|
On top of the knowledge students gain about cosmology and evolutions they acquire other important skills for the modern academic. Cosmology and evolutions are perfect topics to teach students to deal with a lot of information. How can you filter the information you need? Where does the information stop? What are possible topics for further research? How will this reshape or even automate research? This module will also teach students when and how important breakthroughs have been realized. This will give students an insight into relevant research.
Literature on various levels dealing with the subjects is available and can be purchased after consultation with the professors. On the website original papers, reviews and discussions from the literature will be provided.
The professors and a few invited speakers will give several lectures on selected subjects, and they will provide overviews on cosmology and evolution. Students will study books and papers, write essays on subjects which can be chosen from a list (both individual as well as in groups); individual wishes can be taken care of if they fit into the general scheme. The professors will coach students in the preparation of the lectures.