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There is an opportunity to bring college students to the exploration of the grandeur and wonder of the universe through the design and crafting of courses for the university and liberal arts curricula that would develop multidisciplinary perspectives within the frames of reference of astrophysics and cosmology. There is broad interest within colleges and universities to provide courses that examine “The Big Questions” of human experience from a variety of perspectives. The study of the history of discoveries and insights that we have gained through the development of astrophysics and cosmology provides course options for students to use to explore these questions. Such hybrid courses enable students to approach the questions of origins, human existence, appreciation of the natural world, appreciation of the universe at large, and the significance of our evolving comprehension of the universe from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including those that border on the astrophysical and cosmological domains. There are within such courses opportunities to examine historical, philosophical, theological, and cultural perspectives as they intersect with our scientific understanding of where and who we are. The first of these courses at Sacred Heart University has been developed and presented for the past two years as part of the new Core Curriculum. The development of that course, entitled The Journey in the Physical Universe, will be discussed, and insights will be shared.


Paper presented by Joseph C. Wesney at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 122nd annual meeting, August 2, 2011, Baltimore, MD and at the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts Network Exchange conference hosted by Sacred Heart University April 15-18, 2012.

A subsequent version of this paper was also published in the 2011 Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.



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