Why have astronomy departments stopped teaching celestial mechanics/spherical trig?

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  • #1
Simfish
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I know it's something where everything has been discovered, but it's still quite useful.
 

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  • #2
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I think it just comes down to a question of semantics and priorities: they teach classical mechanics, and maybe more specialized astrodynamics---but from there "celestial mechanics" are just specific applications.

Similarly with spherical geometry: its just such a small topic (small wrt common applications) that its not worth its own class... you get the basics from regular geometry, and anything else comes simply from more advanced differential geometry.
 
  • #3


I know it's something where everything has been discovered, but it's still quite useful.
Something to do with ethics committees together with 'cruel and unusual punishment' laws?

Departments these days are competing for students, you lure them into Astronomy with stories of blackholes and fundemental questions about the creation of the universe. If you then hit them with Smart's spherical trig in astronomy 101 they will all defect to computer science where they can learn about computer games and become 20 year old billionaires.
 
  • #4
Chronos
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News to me. No physics department I know of has stopped teaching classical [newtonian] mechanics. It still works 99.9% of the time. If you don't already know Newtonian physics, GR is incomprehensible.
 
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Simfish
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I know it's something where everything has been discovered, but it's still quite useful.
Something where 'everything has been discovered'...... Since when? We are still uncovering observational evidence in the SS that can't be explained - yet.

Cheers

David
 

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