Astronomy 490          Oral Presentation Guidelines           Spring 2007


General guidelines:  This seminar includes several oral presentations.  All but the final project reports should be very short.  A good rule of thumb is that you should have no more than 1 slide per minute of your presentation (fewer is better).  Thus, when you are giving a JournalWatch/NewsWatch presentation, you should have no more than 5 slides.  Journal paper presentations should be similar, though could be slightly longer if necessary  Final oral presentations will be somewhat longer and may include ~15 slides.  The outline below should be followed, at least roughly, for any presentation.  In the case of JournalWatch/NewsWatch assignment, each item should roughly correspond to one powerpoint slide.  For journal paper presentations, slightly longer powerpoint presentations are okay (up to ~8-10 slides).

Presentations should be done in powerpoint or equivalent software and emailed to the instructor by 11am on the day of the presentation.  Please also put your presentation onto a CD or flash drive or equivalent prior to the class meeting in case of difficulty with a particular machine.  Students doing the oral presentations for a given week should arrive 10 minutes early to test out their presentation.  Please inform the instructor if you are unable to arrive early so that other setup/testing arrangements can be made.

0.  Title slide --- Include the complete name of the article, a list of authors (including institutions if possible), the name of the journal (or other source), the issue number (if relevant) and date of the publication.  You do not need to read all of this during your presentation, but it should appear on the title slide.

1.  What the authors did --- e.g., (for observational papers):  used telescope   to observe object … at wavelengths…; or (for theory papers):  used technique… to make theoretical calculations concerning…

2.  What the authors found --- e.g.,  (observational papers): There is green cheese in craters on the Moon near the poles; or (theory papers):  the melting point of lunar green cheese is…

3.  The significance of the findings in a larger context --- In journal articles, look especially at the introduction and conclusion (or discussion) sections to see how the authors have set their work in a broader context.  You may of course also add your own view of the larger context in which the work falls.  News articles will typically also comment on this.

 4.  How something in this paper connects to something that you learned in your astronomy/physics education --- What in the article were you able to understand, verify, or interpret using what you have learned in previous astronomy and/or physics classes?  Pick at least one example to mention to the class.

5.  Questions and comments that you have about the paper --- You should expect to have lots of questions about any article we read.  Few if any will be completely comprehensible to anyone not working in the particular subfield of astronomy.  As you are reading the article, keep track of your questions (including basic ones like the meaning of a particular word) and comments and then pick some that you think might help lead off the discussion of the article you are presenting.

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