Big Ideas in Science

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Please write a concise, well-developed essay of approximately 1200 words, addressing one (1) only of the four essay questions listed below.
You must appropriately reference all sources. We are flexible with regard to format, provided your citation references are clear and accurate. All citations should be listed in a bibliography, which will not contribute to the word limit.
In order to satisfy the University policy on plagiarism, it is important you use quotation marks (“ … “) to designate text that you have directly extracted and clearly acknowledge its source. Plagiarism is a serious form of academic misconduct and attracts severe penalties.
If you are referencing a web site, do not just give the URL, but also give a 1-2 line description of the website and date the website was accessed. If referencing a journal, give publication details including the authors, title of article, page numbers and publication year.
Note the marking rubric we use for assessing your essays can be found on iLearn.
Essay questions are on the next page
1. Planet Earth and Deep Time – Young Earth Creationism is a school of belief founded on the basis that the Earth was created less than 10,000 years ago. What evidence could you present to a Young Earth Creationist to prove that the Earth is, in fact, billions of years old? Many Young Earth Creationists think that pre-historical events are impossible to verify because no-one was there to witness them first-hand. How would you respond to this?
2. Climate Change – Hurricane Harvey recently battered the coast of the United States, causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Professor Michael Mann commented that; “while we cannot say climate change “caused” Hurricane Harvey (that is an ill-posed question), we can say is that it exacerbated several characteristics of the storm in a way that greatly increased the risk of damage and loss of life.”
It’s a fact: Climate Change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly – Michael. E. Mann, The Guardian, 29th August 2017
In what ways are specific environmental changes associated with climate change likely to have contributed to the extreme severity of Hurricane Harvey? Some believe Hurricane Harvey should not be “politicised” by drawing links between it and climate change. How would you respond to this?
3. Cosmology – The concept of deep time enables us to peer billions of years into the past, but also trillions of years into the future. What does the deep future hold for our universe? What will be its eventual fate? What value is there in understanding what the eventual fate of the universe might be?
4. Relativity – Black holes are objects from which light cannot escape, due to their immense gravitational fields. What would an observer falling into a black hole experience, according to General Relativity?
Some scientists have speculated that our universe exists within a black hole. Comment on this proposition, drawing on your response to the above. How might scientists test this proposition

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