8.1 How Does the Universe Affect Me?
This module begins with a focus on the forces that formed the universe, and Earth’s solar system, from chaos. Students explore the big bang theory, and the role of gravity as the major force that continues to operate and maintain order in the universe, enabling us to observe predictable patterns in the Earth-sun-moon system. Students then investigate the role that light, in particular, plays in how we observe objects in our solar system, and then shift to the many other important roles that light plays in life on Earth. The scientific principles that explain the behavior of light are the principles that govern much of the behavior of cellular phones, computers, MRI scanners, microwave ovens, nuclear power plants, televisions, satellite communication, GPS, and many other systems. Nearly all the major scientific discoveries and major technological advances made in the last 100 years are based, directly or indirectly, on principles underlying the behavior of light. It is impossible to make sense—scientifically—of the world in which we live without understanding how light propagates and how it interacts with matter. Students are introduced to the electromagnetic spectrum and exploration of the role of visible light in allowing them to examine the universe, and to the role of nonvisible light that has advanced technology. Some students are likely to addresses technological advances in their Module 8.4 projects.