After finishing the course the student should be able to
explain the properties of and difference between theories and models.
explain the properties of and difference between phenomena and observations.
explain how physicists use observations and models to constrain physical theories.
account for astrophysical observations that significantly advanced our understanding of fundamental physics.
critically evaluate the interplay of theory and observation in a specific astrophysical situation.
account for and present recent developments within astrophysics pertaining to the topic of the course.
Background: The epistemological (theory-of-knowledge) meaning of the terms theory, model, phenomena and observations and how they relate to one another. Examples from the history of science. Application: Wide-ranging astrophysical situations as examples of data sets that help to constrain our description of the physical reality: particles, forces, natural constant and their potential variability, the equation of state of matter under extreme conditions, dimensionality of space-time.
Lectures. Seminars and presentations on selected topics.
Active participation in class (1 credit). Passed hand-in lecture summaries (2 credits). Passed seminar and presentations (2 credits).