Recent and exciting discoveries in astronomy and cosmology have inspired many high school students to learn about these fields. A particularly fascinating consequence of general relativity at the forefront of modern cosmology research is gravitational lensing, the bending of light rays that pass near massive objects. Gravitational lensing enables high-precision mapping of dark matter distributions in galaxies and galaxy clusters, provides insight into large-scale cosmic structure of the universe, aids in the search for exo-planets, and may offer valuable insight toward understanding the evolution of dark energy. In this article we describe a gravitational lensing lab and associated lecture/discussion material that was highly successful, according to student feedback. The gravitational lens unit was developed as part of a two-week summer enrichment class for junior and senior high school students. With minor modifications, this lab can be used within a traditional classroom looking to incorporate topics of modern physics (such as in a unit on optics).
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PAPERS| May 01 2015
Modern Gravitational Lens Cosmology for Introductory Physics and Astronomy Students
Phys. Teach. 53, 266–270 (2015)
Paul Huwe, Scott Field; Modern Gravitational Lens Cosmology for Introductory Physics and Astronomy Students. Phys. Teach. 1 May 2015; 53 (5): 266–270. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.4917429
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