Teaching physics with Hubble's law and dark matter

Colin S. Wallace, Edward E. Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Physics instructors can enrich, enliven, and enhance their courses with conceptually rich cosmology content. In this paper, we specifically discuss how instructors can integrate lessons on Hubble's law (as it relates to the expansion of the universe and dark energy) and spiral galaxies' rotation curves (as they relate to the presence of dark matter) into an introductory, college-level course on mechanics. These cosmology topics intersect with the content of introductory physics in a number of areas, such as students' abilities to read and interpret graphs and their conceptual understandings of both kinematics and dynamics. Throughout this paper, we draw upon the results from, and research-validated curricula informed by, physics and astronomy education research. In particular, we feature the results from a national study we recently completed with introductory college-level general education astronomy students on the teaching and learning of cosmology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-390
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 17 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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