Matthew Pryal

Assistant Professor
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Astronomy
Office location and address
530 McCormick Rd
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
ASTR 1210: Introduction to the Sky and Solar System
Credits: 3
A study of the night sky primarily for non-science majors. Provides a brief history of astronomy through Newton. Topics include the properties of the sun, earth, moon, planets, asteroids, meteors and comets; origin and evolution of the solar system; life in the universe; and recent results from space missions and ground-based telescopes.
ASTR 1220: Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe
Credits: 3
A study of stars, star formation, and evolution primarily for non-science majors. Topics include light, atoms, and modern observing technologies; origin of the chemical elements; supernovae, pulsars, neutron stars, and black holes; structure and evolution of our galaxy; nature of other galaxies; active galaxies and quasars; expanding universe, cosmology, the big bang, and the early universe.
ASTR 1270: Unsolved Mysteries in the Universe
Credits: 3
An exploration of the unsolved mysteries in the universe and the limits of our knowledge for non-science majors. The class emphasizes the nature of scientific endeavor, and explores the boundaries between science, philosophy, and metaphysics. A number of thought provoking topics are discussed including the beginning and end of the universe, black holes, extraterrestrial life, the nature of time, dark matter and dark energy.
ASTR 1280: The Origins of Almost Everything
Credits: 3
From ancient Babylon to modern cosmology, nearly every culture on Earth has stories and myths of creation. It is a universal human desire to understand from where we came. In this introductory astronomy class for non-science majors, students will explore the origins of the Universe, structure and galaxies, stars, planets and life. The course will use the content to illustrate the nature of science and scientific inquiry.
ASTR 3480: Introduction to Cosmology
Credits: 3
Open to first-year students; primarily for non-science students. A descriptive introduction to the study of the ultimate structure and evolution of the universe. Covers the history of the universe, cosmological speculation, and the nature of the galaxies. Provides a qualitative introduction to relativity theory and the nature of space-time, black holes, models of the universe (big bang, steady-state, etc.) and methods of testing them.
ASTR 4998: Senior Thesis
Credits: 3
May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.