Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Update and assignments for 10/04


I enjoyed our first class meeting today. You can download the slides I showed from here. The last few slides are particularly important -- they list the rules/policies of our seminar and define your deliverables (= homework + the term project).

Field trip: I have e-mailed with the Mt. Wilson people and we'll be going up there on Saturday, November 12. We will meet at 10am in front of Cahill and will be back no later than 2:30pm.

Assignments for 10/05: (download)

Please read the following articles and be ready to discuss their content in class. I recommend you take notes as you read the articles.
The full articles can be downloaded in PDF format from the journal websites (note that you need to be connected to the Caltech campus network for this to work)
  • Scientific American,  Through Neutrino Eyes: Ghostly Particles Become Astronomical Tools by Gelmini et al., May 2010.
  • Scientific American,  Why I Love Neutrinos by Lawrence Krauss, June 2010.
  • Scientific American, How to blow up a star by Hillebrand, Janka, Mueller, October 2006.
  • Nature Physics, The physics of core-collapse supernovae by Woosley and Janka, Volume 1, pages 147 - 154 (2005).
Research and writing:
  1. The difference between Astronomy and Astrophysics.
    Talk to three professors in Cahill and ask them to define the difference between Astronomy and Astrophysics. Write up what you find and add your own conclusions (1 page max).

    Do this in groups of two, but hand in individual write-ups. A list of Caltech Ay faculty is here:
    Just show up at professors’ offices and tell them that you are doing an assignment for a Fresh- man Seminar. If their door is open, they will be happy to talk to you.
  2. Do research on the internet or in books on the following astronomers. Write short biographical sketches (1 paragraph) for each of them, giving the years they lived, where they lived, with whom they worked, what they studied and discovered.
    Tycho Brahe
    Johannes Kepler
    John Flamsteed
    Henrietta Swan Leavitt George Ellery Hale
    Edwin Hubble
  3. What is a parsec? Find its definition, understand it and be prepared to explain it in class.

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