Lecture: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 12:10 - 1:00 PM, in TH 425
Office: Thornton Hall 520. Telephone: 338.1880
Office Hours: Monday 2-3, or by appointment
(please include "Astronomy 300" in the subject of emails, and don't forget to sign your name!)
Course Website: http://www.physics.sfsu.edu/~chris/astro300 The course website will provide homework assignments, other important course information.
Prerequisites: Physics 220 or Physics 111 with a grade of C- or higher.
The course will emphasize physical laws and principles that underlie astronomical theory and observation. The discoveries by which we came to our current understanding will be discussed, along with the methods used by the discoverers.
Weekly required reading assignments will be from two required texts and from articles distributed by the instructor. Homework assignments will include calculations and reading and writing assignments. Scientific notation, algebra, trigonometry, and logarithms will be used extensively. Calculus is not required but may be helpful at times.
The Watershed: a Biography of Johannes Kepler (Chapter 6) A. Koestler. Provided by the instructor.
We draw from both texts throughout the course. See the COURSE OUTLINE for required readings each week. Carrol & Ostlie is a comprehensive astrophysics text, and will again be use by students taking Astronomy 400. Passages of this text which employ calculus are not requires, but should be skimmed lightly by students interested in a careers astronomy.
The Alchemy of the Heavens provides a captivating historical narrative of how scientsts came to our modern (ahem, 1995) understanding of the Milky Way Galaxy. It is readable by the general public. One advantage of the book is that his shows the complex and sometimes circuitous paths by which scientific theories emerge and develop...an important aspect of science not often found it textbooks.
The same can be said of The Watershed, of which we will read one chapter supplied by
the instructor. This well-written biography of Kepler provides rare insight into both the process
of discovery, and the origins of modern science, whose fundamental aspects were laid out
by Kepler's work.
Class attendance and participation are an important part of your grade. Required in-class activites will allow students to collaborate and challenge misconceptions. They cannot be made up. Students are responsible for all information given out in class.
GRADES Course grades will be determined using these weightings:
If exceptional circumstances cause an exam or homework to be missed, these must be explained BEFORE the due date. Any assignment submitted under a student's name which is not in fact the work of that student will receive zero credit. The student's name will be referred to the University's Office of Student Conduct.
SF State fosters a campus free of sexual violence including sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or any form of sex or gender discrimination. If you disclose a personal experience of such violence, the instructor is required to notify the Dean of Students. To disclose confidentially, contact either The SAFE Place (415-338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/ ) OR Counseling and Psychological Services Center (415-338-2208;http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/ ). For more information on your rights and available resources: http://titleix.sfsu.edu