The Universe – A Cosmic Journey

OLLI-USF offers some excellent travel opportunities, many of which enable you to actually visit the places you learn about in OLLI classes.  But OLLI will have to call in Elon Musk—or perhaps a time travelling Jean Luc Picard—to let you visit the places Lt. Commander Fulvia M. Fiorani will cover in her class this semester: The Universe – A Cosmic Journey.

She starts here in our own solar system, so you’ll recognize many of the landmarks: our moon, the Sun, several planets named after Roman gods–the usual suspects.  But she’ll take you back through time to our solar system’s origins, then forward to its eventual end.  (No worries!  It’s long after the end of this semester.)

The following classes will take you far, far away from our small blue planet and introduce you to exoplanets, supernovae, neutron stars, and black holes.  You’ll travel back in time to witness the Big Bang and see how our universe evolved from that tiny super-dense point.  And journey forward to explore how the universe might end.  And what may happen next.

Did we mention dark matter and dark energy?  Yeah, you’ll meet them, too.  They make up 95% of our universe, so it would be rude to leave them out.

Throughout the course, you’ll see stunning photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, arguably one of history’s greatest explorers.  Classes are Mondays, 1 to 3 p.m. at The Regent.  You can sign up here.

Still wondering whether it’s a good class?  Here are some reviews by past students.

A masterful job of explaining a deep subject in a clear and simple way”

“I knew nothing about the topic yet she made it extremely interesting, and I was able to grasp the concepts”

“This is the best OLLI class I have taken”

Fulvia Fiorani holds a Master’s degree in physics from the Naval Postgraduate School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and is a retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander.  She taught physics at the United States Naval Academy as her last active duty assignment.