AST 100: Astronomy Today

Fall 2013

M 4:00-4:53 PM, ESS 450

PREREQUISITES: None. Students who have taken any college-level astronomy classes are discouraged from taking AST 100.

INSTRUCTOR: James Lattimer, 2-8227,, Office Hours: TuWTh 2:30 - 3:30

GRADING: In this course, students give one 20-minute presentation concerning a recent discovery or activity in astronomy. To prevent too many talks on the same topic, you have to reserve your topic in advance at least a week ahead of time(see below). Students will also write short summaries and critiques of other students' presentations. Each summary is due 1 class period after the talk. Late summaries will be downgraded.

I will take the summaries of each talk, remove identifying information, and give it to the speaker as an aid to help their future presentations.

If you have your own laptop, or can borrow one, you can make your presentation as a powerpoint or adobe acrobat pdf file. If you wish to use my laptop, the presentation should be prepared as an adobe acrobat pdf file (in which case video clips probably can't be used). If you want to make sure your presentation will work with our projector or laptop, you should make arrangements to try it out well before the class meets (for example, during my office hourse). It is your responsibility to make sure your talk will project properly, and this will affect your grade. You can reduce the possibility of problems if you bring a copy of your talk on a memory stick as a pdf file (or email it to me in advance).

You will receive a grade based 50% on your own presentation, and 50% on your summaries of other students' presentations. Part of your grade is based on how well you keep to your time limit, the accuracy and quality of your presentation, and your contact with the audience during your talk. If you are asked questions during your talk, you will recieve additional time to compensate, but plan your talk to last between 16 and 18 minutes. Be prepared for a few questions following your talk, so understand what you are presenting. While you answer questions, the next speaker will set up.

PRESENTATION SCHEDULE: I have arbitrarily selected dates for each presentation. You can switch dates with another student if the two of you agree and provide me the new information at least 2 weeks in advance, unless you are talking on September 24. (I will need an email from both of you to confirm the change.) To reserve a topic, send an email to me. I will include the topics after the speakers' names as soon as I receive them. If you select a topic already chosen by another student, I will alert you to change your topic.

  • 26 Aug: Overview and assignment of presentation dates

  • 9 Sep: Introductory lecture about stars: Prof. Michael Zingale

  • 16 Sep: Introductory lecture about extragalactic astronomy and cosmology: Prof. Michael Zingale

  • 23 Sep: Michael Arulin "Stellar Flares and Magnetic Storms", Matthew Luchsinger "Supernovas (sic)"

  • 30 Sep: Inessa Royt "Space Slinky", Christopher Oliveri "Coloring with the Stars"

  • 7 Oct: Rebecca Coffman "Binary and Triple Stars", Aunika Warren "Gold in the Universe"

  • 14 Oct: Kyung-Yong Kim "Introduction of Galaxy Types", Angela Bair "James Webb Telescope"

  • 21 Oct: Nick Sardelli "Defending the Earth from NEOs"

  • 28 Oct: Tony Gordon "The Kepler Telescope: Successes and Failures", Samantha Scibelli "Dark Energy Survey"

  • 4 Nov: Alif Hirani, Jodie Darnell "Mars"

  • 11 Nov: No class meeting

  • 18 Nov: Won Yoo Lee "Mars Science Laboratory"

  • 25 Nov: reserve

  • 2 Dec: reserve

    % Ariel Kodis "Super-earth" (Are you enrolled?) % Michael Crawford (Are you enrolled?),