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ASTRO 1101 : From New Worlds to Black Holes
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 1103 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Lisa Kaltenegger
"From Black Holes to undiscovered worlds" - a journey through our fascinating universe. Ever wondered about the universe? What you see in the night sky? How stars get born and how they die? How Black holes work? And if there is life out there in the universe? Join us for a journey through our fascinating universe from Black Holes to undiscovered worlds through the newest discoveries. We are made of stardust. Ad Astra.  
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ASTRO 1102 : Our Solar System
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 1104 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Phil Nicholson
Steven Squyres
The past few decades have seen incredible advances in the exploration of our solar system. In this course students learn about the current state and past evolution of the Sun and its family of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. The course emphasizes images and other data obtained from current and past NASA space missions and how these data provide insights about the important processes that have shaped the evolution of solar system objects. General astronomical concepts relevant to the study of the solar system are also discussed. Critical focus is on developing an understanding of the Earth as a planetary body and discovering how studies of other planets and satellites influence models of the climatic, geologic, and biologic history of our home world. Other topics covered include energy production in stars, global warming, impact hazards, the search for life in the solar system and beyond, and future missions.
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ASTRO 1103 : From New Worlds to Black Holes
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 1101 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Lisa Kaltenegger
Identical to ASTRO 1101 except for addition of the laboratory.
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ASTRO 1104 : Our Solar System
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 1102 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Phil Nicholson
Steven Squyres
Identical to ASTRO 1102 except for addition of the laboratory.
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ASTRO 1105 : The Universe
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 1107 Semester offered: Summer 2019 Instructor:
David Kornreich
When civilization was young, Seneca wrote, "A single lifetime, even entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject. Our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them." We will work to understand what he and the ancients knew about the night sky, and the ingenious methods by which they came to know it, and trace the history of astronomy through the modern day. Indeed, modern astronomy abounds with strange alien worlds and exotic events that would have amazed that great classical thinker: Stars and the tantalizing planets that journey with them through the galaxies, which smash into one another over millions of years. And when they die in great explosions, stars create exotic pulsars, black holes, nebulae, and people. And somehow all of this started at the single moment of the Big Bang. What will be so plain to our descendants that would amaze us today? Will they have contacted alien intelligence? Traveled in time? Learned the fate of the universe?
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ASTRO 1106 : Relativity, Cosmology, and Black Holes
Semester offered: Summer 2019 Instructor:
Adam Brazier
Explanation of Einstein's theory of Special Relativity, which brought about a fundamental change in our conceptual understanding of space and time. The consequences of the theory: the relativity of simultaneity; mass-energy equivalence, nuclear fission and fusion and thermonuclear processes in starts; why we can't travel faster than the speed of light; and how it all makes sense, including the resolution of some apparent paradoxes. Cosmology, studying the evidence for the evolution and future of the universe, and the considerations and evidence driving our theories, including an introduction to General Relativity and investigation of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. The death of stars: white dwarfs, neutron stars and pulsars, and black holes.
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ASTRO 1107 : The Universe
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 1105 Semester offered: Summer 2019 Instructor:
David Kornreich
Identical to ASTRO 1105 except for the addition of the afternoon laboratory that emphasizes mathematical problem-solving. This option is recommended for potential majors in science and engineering.
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ASTRO 1195 : Observational Astronomy
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Gordon Stacey
Provides a "hands-on" introduction to observational astronomy intended for liberal arts students. High school mathematics is assumed, but otherwise there are no formal prerequisites. The course objective is to learn how we know what we know about the Universe, and to learn how to observe with moderate cost amateur telescopes. There are two lectures and one evening laboratory per week. Typically, labs consist of 4-5 observing sessions using the Fuertes Observatory 12" telescope and a set of Meade 8" telescopes, a trip to Mount Pleasant to look through its 25" telescope and, on cloudy nights, 4-5 in-class experiments, the highlight of which is collecting micrometeorites for study.
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ASTRO 1199 : Are We Alone in the Universe?
Semester offered: Summer 2019 Instructor:
Shami Chatterjee
This course surveys the possibilities for life in the universe and the search for it, against the backdrop of our modern understanding of the cosmos.  It covers ideas about the origin of the universe and how structure arises, the formation of stars and planets, how life might have begun on planets, the evolution of life on the Earth, and the search for life elsewhere in the solar system and beyond.
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ASTRO 1700 : History of Exploration: Land, Sea, and Space
Crosslisted as: HIST 1700 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Steven Squyres
Eric Tagliacozzo
From ancient seafarers to the Mars rovers, from Christopher Columbus to the Apollo astronauts, humans have for centuries explored the far reaches of our planet and are now venturing into the solar system and beyond. This course examines the history of such human activity. Among the topics covered are motives for exploration, technological advances that assist exploration, obstacles that must be overcome, the roles of leaders, the spread of information about exploration, and positive and negative consequences of exploration. It is led by Steven Squyres of Astronomy and Mary Beth Norton of History, with the assistance of guest lecturers.
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ASTRO 2201 : The History of the Universe
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Nicholas Battaglia
Martha Haynes
General discussion of how the universe has evolved since the Big Bang era and how our understanding of it has changed from ancient to modern times. Several main themes are covered over the course of the semester: the evolution of our view of the sky from that of ancient cultures to that of space telescopes; the formation and nature of black holes; dark matter and dark energy; and the origin, evolution, and fate of the universe. Presents a nonmathematical introduction to these subjects and discusses uncertainties and unresolved issues in our understanding.
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ASTRO 2202 : A Spacecraft Tour of the Solar System: Science, Policy and Exploration
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Alexander Hayes
Writing course designed to develop an understanding of modern solar system exploration. Discussion will center on describing our home planet as a member of a diverse family of objects in our solar system. In addition to studying what we have learned of other planets and satellites from unmanned spacecraft, we will also discuss the missions themselves and describe the process of how they are selected and developed. Guest lecturers will include political advocacy experts, NASA officials, and science team members of active NASA/ESA missions. Participants will study, debate, and learn to write critically about important issues in science and public policy that benefit from this perspective. Topics discussed include space policy, the potential for life in the ocean worlds of the outer solar system, the search for extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial intelligence, and the exploration of Mars.
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ASTRO 2211 : Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Nikole Lewis
Course surveying the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang onwards: what happens in the first few minutes of the universe's life; star formation, structure, and evolution; the physics of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; galaxy formation and structure; and cosmology. The roles of quantum physics, particle physics, and relativity in astrophysics are discussed (no prior knowledge of these is assumed). The course is more in-depth than ASTRO 1101/ASTRO 1103. All course materials are made available online.
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ASTRO 2212 : The Solar System: Planets, Small Bodies and New Worlds
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Phil Nicholson
Introduction to the solar system with emphasis on the quantitative application of simple physical principles to the understanding of what we observe or can deduce. Topics include the formation and evolution of the solar system, the interiors, surfaces, and atmospheres of the planets including the effects of greenhouse gases on climate, smaller bodies and the orbits of solar system bodies.  Many planetary systems about other stars have now been discovered and comparisons will be made with our own system. Results from past and current spacecraft missions will be discussed including the Cassini mission to the Saturn system and the Mars Rovers. Class involvement will include individual projects and presentations. The course is more in-depth than ASTRO 1102/1104. All course materials will be available online.
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ASTRO 2290 : Relativity and Astrophysics
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
David Chernoff
Provides a geometrically based introduction to special and general relativity, followed by consideration of astrophysical applications.
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ASTRO 3150 : Geomorphology
Crosslisted as: EAS 3150 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Samuel Birch
Alexander Hayes
This course is focused on a subset of the processes that can modify a planetary surface, with an emphasis on exogenic (erosional/depositional) processes.   
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ASTRO 3301 : Exoplanets & Planetary Systems
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Lisa Kaltenegger
Jonathan Lunine
Hundreds of planets around other stars have been discovered over the past two decades, and many more discoveries are sure to come.  How are these discoveries made and what are the properties of these exoplanets and their systems?  How exotic can we expect exoplanets to be?  Is our solar system a typical planetary system or something unusual? How common are planets like Earth?  How might we determine whether exoplanets can host life, or do host life?  These and other issues related to planetary formation and evolution will be discussed.
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ASTRO 3303 : Galaxies Across Cosmic Time
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Dominik Riechers
This course provides an overview of our current understanding of how galaxies have evolved over the last 13+ billion years and how their evolution has been influenced by their local intergalactic environment.  We will look at the evidence that links supermassive black holes, gas accretion and merger events to galaxy evolution and track the star formation rate from early to current epochs.  Additional topics will include the formation and distribution of clusters and groups of galaxies, the importance of dark matter and how galaxy evolution fits into the framework of current cosmological models.
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ASTRO 4410 : Experimental Astronomy
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Jim Cordes
James Lloyd
The course covers methods in optical and radio astronomy and selected topics in astrophysics.  Major experiments use techniques chosen from charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging, optical photometry, optical spectroscopy, radiometry and radio spectroscopy.  Observations use the Hartung-Boothroyd Observatory's 24-inch telescope and a 3.8-meter radio telescope on the roof of the Space Sciences Building.  The course covers the fundamentals of astronomical instrumentation and data analysis applied to a wide range of celestial phenomena: asteroids, main-sequence stars, supernova remnants, globular clusters, planetary nebulae, the interstellar medium, OH masers, and galaxies.  Methods include statistical data analysis, artifact and interference excision, Fourier transforms, heterodyned receivers, and software-defined radio.
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ASTRO 4432 : Introduction to Astrophysics and Space Sciences II
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Dong Lai
An overview of modern astrophysical concepts for physical science and engineering students similar in terms of level, style and prerequisites as ASTRO 4431. A previous knowledge of the ASTRO 4431 material is useful but not required. The course will include topics not covered in ASTRO 4431, such as formation of stars and planets (including exoplanets), dynamics and formation of galaxies, dark matter and cosmology, and gravitational wave astronomy. Current research problems in these areas are introduced along the way. The emphasis is on using fundamental principles of physics to explain astronomical phenomena.
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ASTRO 4433 : Introduction to Cosmology
Crosslisted as: PHYS 4433 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Nicholas Battaglia
An introduction to theoretical and observational cosmology aimed at interested science and engineering majors. Topics include an introduction to general relativity as applied to the cosmos; the cosmic expansion history and how it relates to the nature of matter in the universe; processes in the early universe; how galaxies and clusters of galaxies form; current and prospective cosmological surveys of galaxies, galaxy clusters, gravitational lensing, and the cosmic microwave background. The material is at a less technical level than the graduate cosmology course ASTRO 6599.
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ASTRO 4445 : Introduction to General Relativity
Crosslisted as: PHYS 4445 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Thomas Hartman
One-semester introduction to general relativity that develops the essential structure and phenomenology of the theory without requiring prior exposure to tensor analysis. General relativity is a fundamental cornerstone of physics that underlies several of the most exciting areas of current research, including relativistic astrophysics, cosmology, and the search for a quantum theory of gravity. The course briefly reviews special relativity, introduces basic aspects of differential geometry, including metrics, geodesics, and the Riemann tensor, describes black hole spacetimes and cosmological solutions, and concludes with the Einstein equation and its linearized gravitational wave solutions. At the level of Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity by Hartle.
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ASTRO 4523 : Modeling, Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 6523 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Jim Cordes
This course builds upon a review of probability and statistics to explore, develop, and apply algorithms for discovering objects and events in astronomical data, for inference of sophisticated models for populations of objects using frequentist and Bayesian methods, and for visualization and presentation of results to address fundamental questions using persuasive, data-based arguments. Methods include time-series analysis; clustering, classification algorithms, genetic and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods.
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ASTRO 4940 : Independent Study in Astronomy
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Rachel Bean
David Chernoff
Jim Cordes
Eanna Flanagan
Martha Haynes
Terry Herter
Dong Lai
James Lloyd
Richard Lovelace
Jonathan Lunine
Phil Nicholson
Marina Romanova
Steven Squyres
Gordon Stacey
Saul Teukolsky
Nicholas Battaglia
Ira Wasserman
Donald Banfield
Paul Helfenstein
Larry Kidder
Tom Loredo
Robert Sullivan
Nikole Lewis
Dominik Riechers
Alexander Hayes
Lisa Kaltenegger
Individuals work on selected topics. A program of study is devised by the student and instructor.
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ASTRO 4940 : Independent Study in Astronomy
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Rachel Bean
Nicholas Battaglia
Alexander Hayes
David Chernoff
Jim Cordes
Eanna Flanagan
Martha Haynes
Terry Herter
Nikole Lewis
Dong Lai
James Lloyd
Richard Lovelace
Jonathan Lunine
Phil Nicholson
Marina Romanova
Steven Squyres
Gordon Stacey
Saul Teukolsky
Ira Wasserman
Donald Banfield
Paul Helfenstein
Larry Kidder
Tom Loredo
Robert Sullivan
Dominik Riechers
Lisa Kaltenegger
Individuals work on selected topics. A program of study is devised by the student and instructor.
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ASTRO 6510 : General Relativity II
Crosslisted as: PHYS 6554 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Thomas Hartman
A continuation of PHYS 6553 and ASTRO 6509 that covers a variety of advanced topics and applications of general relativity in astrophysics, cosmology, and high-energy physics.
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ASTRO 6516 : Astrophysical Dynamics
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Dong Lai
Introduction to the study of the structure of galaxies via the laws of modern physics.
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ASTRO 6523 : Modeling, Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy
Crosslisted as: ASTRO 4523 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Jim Cordes
This course builds upon a review of probability and statistics to explore, develop, and apply algorithms for discovering objects and events in astronomical data, for inference of sophisticated models for populations of objects using frequentist and Bayesian methods, and for visualization and presentation of results to address fundamental questions using persuasive, data-based arguments. Methods include time-series analysis; clustering, classification algorithms, genetic and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods.
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ASTRO 6525 : Techniques of Optical/Infrared, Submillimeter and Radio Astronomy
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Jim Cordes
Gordon Stacey
This course covers telescope design, optics design and instrumentation for wavelengths from optical to radio and their relation to current research needs. Adaptive optics, interferometry, aperture synthesis, and beam forming will be covered. Instrumentation discussions will include CCD and IR/submillimeter detector arrays, heterodyne systems and phased array feeds at radio wavelengths as well as camera designs, cryogenic systems, spectrographs/spectrometers and interferometric correlators. Sensitivity issues, observing techniques, polarimetry and data analysis will be discussed.
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ASTRO 6530 : Astrophysical Processes
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Ira Wasserman
This course covers fundamentals of radiative transfer, bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, Compton scattering, spectral line transfer, gas heating and cooling, and topics in atomic and molecular spectroscopy are discussed within the framework of astrophysical sources and problems. Applications will include the interstellar and intergalactic media, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei, and exoplanetary systems.
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ASTRO 6560 : Theory of Stellar Structure and Evolution
Crosslisted as: PHYS 7667 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Ira Wasserman
Intended to provide a systematic development of stellar astrophysics, both theory and observations. Topics include hydrostatic equilibrium; equation of state; radiation transfer and atmospheres; convection and stellar turbulence; nuclear burning and nucleosynthesis; solar neutrinos; star formation; pre-main sequence stars; brown dwarfs; end states of stellar evolution (white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes); supernovae; interacting binary stars; stellar rotation and magnetic fields; stellar pulsations; winds and outflows.
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ASTRO 6940 : Advanced Study and Research
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Rachel Bean
David Chernoff
Jim Cordes
Eanna Flanagan
Nicholas Battaglia
Martha Haynes
Terry Herter
Dong Lai
James Lloyd
Richard Lovelace
Jonathan Lunine
Phil Nicholson
Marina Romanova
Steven Squyres
Gordon Stacey
Saul Teukolsky
Ira Wasserman
Donald Banfield
Paul Helfenstein
Larry Kidder
Tom Loredo
Robert Sullivan
Nikole Lewis
Dominik Riechers
Alexander Hayes
Lisa Kaltenegger
Guided reading and seminars on topics not currently covered in regular courses.
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ASTRO 6940 : Advanced Study and Research
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Rachel Bean
Nicholas Battaglia
David Chernoff
Jim Cordes
Eanna Flanagan
Martha Haynes
Terry Herter
Nikole Lewis
Dong Lai
James Lloyd
Richard Lovelace
Jonathan Lunine
Phil Nicholson
Marina Romanova
Steven Squyres
Gordon Stacey
Saul Teukolsky
Ira Wasserman
Donald Banfield
Paul Helfenstein
Larry Kidder
Tom Loredo
Robert Sullivan
Dominik Riechers
Alexander Hayes
Lisa Kaltenegger
Guided reading and seminars on topics not currently covered in regular courses.
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ASTRO 7671 : Topics in Planetary Atmospheres
Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Nikole Lewis
Description
ASTRO 7690 : Computational Physics
Crosslisted as: PHYS 4480, PHYS 7680 Semester offered: Fall 2019 Instructor:
Saul Teukolsky
Covers numerical methods for ordinary and partial differential equations, linear algebra and eigenvalue problems, integration, nonlinear equations, optimization, and fast Fourier transforms. Find out how and why the "black-box" numerical routines you use work, how to improve and generalize them, and how to fix them when they don't. Based on the text Numerical Recipes by William H. Press, Saul A. Teukolsky, William T. Vetterling, and Brian P. Flannery.
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