AST 248: Search for Life in the Universe

Syllabus

Spring 2019

last update: 8 February 2019

Instructor: Prof. Fred Walter (ESS 459; 632-8232; frederick.walter at stonybrook.edu)
Office Hours: MWF 9-10, or by appointment

TA: Jiani Ye; Jiani.Ye at stonybrook.edu; Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-4 PM, ESS 457A
Jeffrey Michel; Jeffrey.Michel.1 at stonybrook.edu; Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesday 4-5:30 in ESS 457A
Ilia Goro; Ilia.Goro at stonybrook.edu; Office Hours: TBD in ESS 457A

Lecture: Mondays and Wednesdays, 2:30-3:50 PM Room: Javits 102


Lecture Schedule

Week Date   Topics Reading
1 Jan 28
Jan 30
  Introduction; The Drake Equation
You Live Here; What is Science?
BS 1, 3, 12.1, Appendix C
2 Feb 4
Feb 6
N* The Sun
The Influence of the Sun on Earth
Why the Sun Shines
BS 2, 3, 10.1
3 Feb 11
Feb 13
N*
fs
The Stars: Other Suns
The Lives of the Stars
BS 2, 3, 10.1, 11.1
4 Feb 18
Feb 20
fs
fp
Just Enough Physics
Overview of the Solar System
BS 3.3, 3.4, 10.1
5 Feb 25
Feb 27
fl Just Enough Chemistry and Biology
The History of The World
BS 4, 5
6 Mar 4
Mar 6
fp
fl
Life on Earth
Looking for Life in all the Wrong Places
BS 6, 7
7 Mar 11 nh Barsoom. I. BS 8
7 Mar 13   Midterm 1 BS 1 - 7, 10.1, 11.1
8 Mar 25
Mar 27
nh
fl
Barsoom. II.
Europa and the Icy Moons
BS 8, 9
9 Apr 1
Apr 3
fl
nh
Titan
Rare Earth
BS 9, 10
10 Apr 8
Apr 10
fp
nh
The Galactic Context
How to Find Exoplanets
BS 11
11 Apr 15   Midterm 2 BS 1-11.3
11 Apr 17 nh
fl
Exoplanets BS 11
12 Apr 22
Apr 24
fi
fc
L/T
Exoplanet Habitability
Lifetimes of Civilizations
BS 12,13
13 Apr 29
May 1
fc SETI
Spaceflight
BS 13
14 May 6
May 8
N The Fermi Paradox
Consequences of Contact
Summary
BS 12.4, 13, Epilogue
  May 14
5:30 PM
  Final Exam
BS 1-13, Epilogue


*** note: this plan is subject to change ***

Readings

Readings from the textbook should be done BEFORE the lecture. That way the lecture can be used to clarify, and not just introduce, concepts.

BS refers to chapters in Bennett & Shostak's Life in the Universe.


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