Astronomy 490                    Course Information                     Spring 2007

Course Description:  This is a seminar course designed primarily for astronomy/astrophysics BA and BS students in their senior year.  Graduate students doing research in astronomy and others with the relevant astronomy preparation are also welcome.  The course will center around a series of journal and review papers from the current astronomical literature.  Papers will be drawn from three or four broad topic areas to be selected at the beginning of the semester (see topics on reverse).  Goals of the course include: applying knowledge gained from astronomy and physics courses to areas of current research; developing methods for reading of journal articles; practicing written and oral communication and presentation skills.

Prerequisites:  Astronomy 320 and Astronomy 410 and permission of instructor.  Students who have not taken these prerequisites must show evidence of equivalent course work.

Course Requirements:    Students will be required to read one journal paper per week in detail, do a short weekly written assignment related to the paper, and come to class ready to discuss it.  Over the course of the semester, students will also give ~2 short (~ 5-10 minute) oral presentations of the journal papers being read by the class and ~2 short (~5 minute) oral “JournalWatch/NewsWatch” presentations on papers that they pick from the recent literature or news media.  A longer (~15 minute) oral presentation will be the final requirement for the course in lieu of an exam.  P&A colloquium attendance is also required (Mon 4-5pm).  In case of conflict, consult instructor on 1st day for possible alternate assignments.

Meeting time and place:

       Astronomy 490 (schedule # 11751)
       Monday 2:00 - 4:00 pm  
       411 Thornton Hall 


       Dr. Adrienne Cool
       Department of Physics and Astronomy
       Office:  416 Thornton Hall
       Phone:   (415) 338-6450

Office Hours:

       Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 pm or by appointment

Grading: Grades will be based on a combination of:  (1) class participation; (2) weekly homework assignments;  (3) JournalWatch/ NewsWatch oral presentations; (4) journal paper presentations; (5) final oral presentation

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