27207 - History of Cosmology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2017/2018

Learning outcomes

To study in depth significant results of the history of cosmology trough the evolution of the concepts of space and time.

Course contents

Contents. From the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic universe (studied in detail in the classes of History of Astronomy for the degree in Astronomy) to Scientific Revolution; from Copernican System to its definition by Kepler and Galileo; from Newton to the origins of astrophysics, and to the birth of modern cosmology.

Aim. To give a good grounding on the historic development of universe models. In particular, the student is able to:
-describe observational bases of the first World Systems and of the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology;
-describe the origins of Copernican Revolution and follow its evolution inside the Scientific Revolution;
-follow the evolution of ideas on origin and formation of the universe, from the beginning of physical astronomy to modern cosmology;
-understand the importance of observational instruments in developing new concepts of universe.


- A. Pannekoek: "A History of Astronomy", Dover, 1989
- M. Hoskin: "The Cambridge History of Astronomy", Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999
- S . Bergia: "Dal cosmo immutabile all'universo in evoluzione", Boringhieri, 1995
- A. Masani: "Storia della cosmologia", Editori Riuniti, 1980
- S. Bonometto: "Cosmologia e cosmologie", Zanichelli, 2008
- C. Barbieri: "Alla scoperta dell'Universo", Cleup, 2002
- O. Gingerich (Edt.): "Astrophysics and twentieth-century astronomy to 1950", in "The General History of Astronomy", Part 4a, Cambridge University Press, 1984

Teaching methods

  • Oral lectures
Depending on the teaching programme and on the willingness of the students, seminars to deepen aspects of the evolution of astronomical ideas in relation with the evolution of general scientific thoughts could be given. Possible closer examinations of programme themes or of side subjects could be organized with the students.

Assessment methods

  • Oral Examination
A basic knowledge on the overall historical evolution of astronomy will be requested to the student, even with respect to the classes programme. The major part of the examination will be on a monographic particularly in-depth subject, selected in agreement with the teacher.

Office hours

See the website of Fabrizio Bonoli