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Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe

Australian National University via edX


Despite spectacular recent progress, there is still a lot we don't know about our universe. We don't know why the Big Bang happened. We don't know what most of the universe is made of. We don't know whether there is life in space. We don't know how planets form, how black holes get so big, or where the first stars have gone. This course will take you through nine of the greatest unsolved problems of modern astrophysics. We can't promise you the answers, but we will explain what we do and don't know, and give you an up-to-date understanding of current research. This course is designed for people who would like to get a deeper understanding of these mysteries than that offered by popular science articles and shows.

This is the first of four ANUx courses which together make up the Australian National University's first year astrophysics program. It is followed by courses on exoplanets, on the violent universe, and on cosmology. These courses compromise the Astrophysics XSeries. Learn more about the XSeries program and register for all the courses in the series today!

Taught by

Paul Francis and Brian Schmidt


4.6 rating, based on 16 reviews

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  • Kristina Šekrst completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This is the best series of astronomical courses on the Internet. The teaching style, the mysteries (Yes, the mysteries in which you're investigating a made-up universe and play around with it! Or your job is to try to save the world!), the homework sets - everything was perfect. The easiest thing is to take these courses in order, so that Cosmology doesn't surprise you.

    After these courses, I gained so much interest, so I switched a bit from my theoretical mathematics background to astrophysics, and I'm loving it in here. So, it can really change your life. This is the best thing.
  • Hal Snyder

    Hal Snyder completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Entertaining and informative intro to astrophysics, with a very gentle intro to the math involved. Work load not crazy. You will still be able to enjoy your weekends.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Over and above the best MOOC I have ever taken. No easy, but instructors answer questions and are extremely kind and helpful. After the first time round, they listened to suggestions and improved the class even more. The two presenters are a great team and kept my attention even while they were going through math solutions!
  • Peri Ost

    Peri Ost completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This is honestly the best course I've ever seen. The "Mystery" bit is a really interesting way to apply what you learn during lessons and homework.

    (be prepared for lots of numbers - having a calculator nearby helps)
  • Martin Dunn completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I found the ANU Astrophysics MOOCs quite engaging, with the latest information being presented. There is a little bit of mathematics, but mostly you just need to think through the problems.
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