Measuring the Universe

An Ashoka University online course for high-school students.


Somak Raychaudhary

Course Dates

3rd June – 15th June


INR 12,000 + GST


June 3, June 15: 5:30 – 7:30pm
June 6,8,10, 13: 5:30 – 7pm

About The Course

Astronomers do not have the luxury of studying their subjects in a laboratory, or even visiting them. They have to apply tools of science from various disciplines to interpret the information they receive from the planets, stars and galaxies in the form of light and other forms of radiation. Here we will look at how we measure the sizes of celestial bodies and distances between them, thus estimating the size, mass and scale of the planets, the solar system, our Galaxy and the Universe. How do we know what the mass or weight of the Earth is? How much matter is there in our Galaxy? Are the stars and galaxies made of the stuff of which we are made? Putting all of this together, it will tell us very surprising things, about the past, present and future of the Universe, that we are only now uncovering.

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    Course Faculty

    Mahavir Jhawar

    Somak Raychaudhary

    Ph.D. University of Cambridge
    Somak Raychaudhury is the Director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune. He served as the Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Presidency University, Kolkata till 2015, and taught at the University of Birmingham, UK, for over a decade.
    Professor Raychaudhury obtained a BA in Physics from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Cambridge. He observes the sky in the optical, radio, ultraviolet and X-ray radiation using telescopes on the ground and in Space. His research interests lie in the study of the evolution of galaxies in groups and clusters, and on the supercluster filaments of the cosmic web. He has published over 120 research papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals on these themes.

    Horizons Course Objectives

    Discover Your Interest and Aptitude

    Go Deep Into Specific Disciplines

    Learn with Amazing Peers from Schools across India

    Explore Unique Perspectives and Ideas

    Develop New Skills and Abilities

    Learning Support for the Course

    Kartik Tiwari

    Teaching Assistant

    Kartik Tiwari – Teaching Assistant
    Kartik Tiwari is a Physics Major and Philosophy Minor. He enjoys employing computers to solve problems of physics. He has worked on multipath error on ISRO’s NavIC satellite signals and studied numerical relativity with Miguel Alcubierre. For his undergraduate thesis, he would be working on computational raytracing near neutron stars. In philosophy, Kartik likes to read about Philosophy of Science, Formal Logic, and its inadequacies. Beyond academics, Kartik enjoys writing music on his guitar, reading vintage science fiction, watching rocket launches, and listening to Urdu poetry.

    Madhavi Menon

    Professor of English, Ashoka University

    Director, Centre for Studies in Gender & Sexuality

    Director of the PhD Programme in English

    Ph.D. Tufts University

    Madhavi Menon is an eminent theorist and scholar of gender, sexuality, politics, and identity. 

    She joined Ashoka University in 2013 as one of its founding faculty members. She went on to establish the university’s Centre for Gender & Sexuality Studies (CSGS), which is the first of its kind in India. Previously, she was a professor at Ithaca College and American University

    Most prominently known for her work on queer theory and Shakespeare, she has also edited the collection Shakesqueer and written three books on Shakespeare and sexuality. She is also most recently the author of Infinite Varieties: A History of Desire in India and Law of Desire: Rulings on Sex & Sexuality in India. 

    In addition to being Director of CSGS, she is the Director of the Ph.D. programme in English and Professor of English at Ashoka University.