SAMPLE ALL THE FLAVORS!Increasingly, Vanderbilt instructors are incorporating blogs into their course design. Course Blogs at Vanderbilt is a mash-up of live feeds representing a wide variety of Vanderbilt courses that use blogging to help students reflect on, comment about, and introduce new ideas to course material. Click on the blog title to view the originating course blog. You can also click on the Participating Blogs tab for links to each blog.
ADD YOUR COURSE BLOG TO THIS SITE!Are you administering or participating in a course blog as at Vanderbilt? SEND US THE URL and we'll include it on this site.
Category Archives: Historical
The removal of Pluto as a planet was an emotional blow to anyone with a heart. It was a devastating betrayal leaving many asking questions that no one wanted to hear the answers to. While there were many reasons behind Pluto’s status change, the ultimate culprit is the dwarf planet Eris. Eris was discovered inContinue reading “The Real Villain in Pluto’s Demise” Continue reading → Continue reading
“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy So you want to study space? Now, … Continue reading The Trouble With Astronomy 🤔 Continue reading → Continue reading
How did you first picture the universe? Before being taught in school or at home what the universe was like, we often start to wonder about the world around us. This phase in a child’s life often leads to parents being questioned about almost everything. Questions range from why the sky is blue, why isContinue reading “Our Place in the Universe” Continue reading → Continue reading
While believers in a Flat Earth have always existed (even after it became widely understood that the Earth is a sphere), the number of “Flat Earthers” has grown (and continues to grow) at alarming rates. So how is a fact that has been proven thousands of different ways over a few thousand years rejected byContinue reading “The Resurgence of Flat Earth Theory” Continue reading → Continue reading
While we discussed in class the importance of blackbody spectra continuous spectra, there is an important historical footnote in understanding where the famous blackbody curve arises from. Physics in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s predicted the wavelength-intensity relationship to be I α 1/λ^4, using a derivation based on classical statistical mechanics. This relationship closelyContinue reading “Ultraviolet Catastrophe” Continue reading → Continue reading
The telescope was first invented in the Netherlands in 1608. Its design quickly spread across Europe until it reached Galileo. Galileo spent years refining and redeveloping the telescope until it was much more powerful than before. He was able to observe many new astronomical phenomena such as the moons of Jupiter. For a while, GalileoContinue reading “History of the Telescope” Continue reading → Continue reading
Stromatolites are layered mounds or sheet-like layers of sedimentary rock that were originally forced by growing on a layer of cyanobacteria, a single-cell microbe. Fossilized stromatolites provide a record of ancient life and tidal patterns on Earth. Millions of years ago, seas all over the world would resemble the picture above, which was taken fromContinue reading “Stromatolites” Continue reading → Continue reading
Three weeks ago, for my Earth System Dynamics course, I listened to a Radiolab podcast about the distance between the Earth and the Moon. In “The Times They Are a Changin’” paleontologists talk about how coral shells taught us that the Earth used to have shorter days. Their shells have tiny bands, an alternating patternContinue reading “The Moon’s Tug” Continue reading → Continue reading
While astrology is widely disproven as a form of science in our modern age, it has its origins in the beginnings of computational astronomy. As explained by David Lindberg in his book The Beginnings of Western Science, “By the end of the fifth century B.C., Babylonian celestial divination had expanded to embrace horoscopic astrology, whichContinue reading “The Astronomy behind Astrology” Continue reading → Continue reading
The winter and summer solstices occur as a result of the Earth’s tilt. The summer solstice occurs for a hemisphere when it is facing most directly towards the sun, and this marks the longest time of sunlight for that hemisphere. The winter solstice, is the exact opposite occurrence, resulting in the least amount of timeContinue reading “The Equinoxes Throughout History” Continue reading → Continue reading