Astronomy professor and Academy Village resident Michael Chriss is continuing his encore presentation of an undergraduate course he is teaching at the University of Arizona. His course is entitled “The Philosophy and History of Astronomical Thought.”
The free, non-credit course is being presented in the Arizona Senior Academy Great Room in three sections: five weeks last fall, six weeks this winter/early spring and six more weeks in the fall of 2016.
In the current section—six Wednesdays from Feb. 24 through March 30—Chriss is covering “The New View: The Scientific Revolution from Copernicus to Enlightenment.”
Each class runs from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., with a break for refreshments near the middle. No tests will be given, and written notes for the course will be made available via the internet
This “semester” touches upon the Renaissance’s impact on astronomy, Copernicus and a new model for the universe, Galileo’s clash with the Catholic Church, and Newton’s physics of the universe. The March 23 lecture will have two parts: “The Marriage of Heaven and Earth,” discussing Newton and the physics of the universe; and “The Clockwork Universe,” showing how Newton’s theories led to controversies over fate and free will.
Chriss has spent a lifetime in teaching. Before he retired he was Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at San Francisco State University and Professor of Astronomy and Humanities at the College of San Mateo, where he had been teaching since 1966.
He received his degrees in astronomy at the University of Arizona with further studies in History of Art and Science at UC Berkeley, Stanford and Oxford University. Since 1986, he has lectured about astronomy and other related topics on cruise ships.
Now he is back at the UA Steward Observatory, teaching students where he started his career in 1952 as a freshman majoring in astronomy.
Written by Mike Maharry, Academy Village Volunteer