6: College of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Academic Information | Departments and Programs | Faculty

Afro-American and African Studies | Anthropology | Archaeology | Art | Asian and Middle Eastern
Asian Studies | Astronomy | Biology | Chemistry | Classics | Cognitive Science | Comparative Literature
Drama | Economics | English | Environmental Sciences | French | German | Government and Foreign Affairs
History | Latin American Studies | Linguistics | Mathematics | Medieval Studies
Middle East Studies | Music | Personal Skills | Philosophy | Physics | Political and Social Thought
Psychology | Religious Studies | Service Physical Education | Slavic | Sociology
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese | Statistics | University Seminars | Women's Studies

Course Descriptions

ASTR 121 - (3) (S)
Introduction to the Sky and Solar System

Primarily for non-science majors. Study of the night sky. Provides a brief history of astronomy through Newton. Topics include the properties of the sun, earth, moon, planets, asteroids, meteors and comets; origin and evolution of the solar system; life in the universe; and recent results from space missions and ground-based telescopes.

ASTR 124 - (3) (S)
Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe

Primarily for non-science majors. Study of stars, star formation and evolution.Topics include light, atoms, and modern observing technologies; origin of the chemical elements; supernovae, pulsars, neutron stars, and black holes; structure and evolution of our galaxy; nature of other galaxies; active galaxies and quasars; expanding universe, cosmology, the big bang, and the early universe.

ASTR 130 - (3) (S)
Introduction to Astronomical Observation

Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 121, or ASTR 124, or permission of instructor
Primarily for non-science majors. An independent laboratory class in which students work individually or in small groups on observational projects. Extensive use is made of binoculars, 6-inch through 10-inch telescopes, and photographic equipment at the department's student observatory. In addition, some projects use computers to simulate observations taken with much larger telescopes. Projects focus on the study of constellations, planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies. Class work is done predominantly at night.

Note   ASTR 121, 124, and 130 were formerly called ASTR 101, 102, and 103, respectively. These courses and all other astronomy courses can be used to satisfy the College natural sciences area requirements. ASTR 121 and 124 cover complementary subject matter, both at an introductory level. Each is complete in itself, and a student may elect to take either ASTR 121 or ASTR 124, or both concurrently.

ASTR 170, 171 - (1) (SI)
Seminar

Primarily for first and second year students, taught on a voluntary basis by a faculty member. Topics vary.

ASTR 211, 212 - (3) (Y)
General Astronomy

Prerequisites or corequisites: MATH 121, or MATH 131, PHYS 151, or PHYS 231, or permission of instructor. ASTR 211 and 212 form a sequence and should be taken in that order
Primarily for science majors. A thorough discussion of the basic concepts and methods of solar system, stellar, galactic, and extragalactic astronomy with emphasis on physical principles. Topics include recent research developments such as black holes, pulsars, quasars, and new solar system observations from the space program.

ASTR 313 - (3) (Y)
Observational Astronomy

Prerequisites: ASTR 211, 212, or permission of instructor
Primarily for science majors. A laboratory course dealing with basic observational techniques in astronomy. Students make use of observational facilities at McCormick Observatory and at Fan Mountain Observatory. Classes generally meet at night.

ASTR 341 - (3) (Y)
Archaeo-Astronomy

Prerequisite or corequisite: A 100- or 200-level astronomy course or permission of instructor
Open to non-science students. Discussion of prescientific astronomy, including Mayan, Babylonian, and ancient Chinese astronomy, and the significance of relics such as Stonehenge. Discussion of the usefulness of ancient records in the study of current astrophysical problems, such as supernova outbursts. Uses current literature from several disciplines including astronomy, archaeology, and anthropology.

ASTR 342 - (3) (Y)
Life Beyond the Earth

Prerequisite or corequisite: A 100- or 200-level astronomy course or permission of instructor
Open to non-science students. Study of the possibility of the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life; methods and desirability of interstellar communication; prospects for humanity's colonization of space; interaction of space colonies; and the search for other civilizations.

ASTR 346 - (3) (SI)
Development of Modern Astronomy

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
A reading course dealing with the history of astronomy.

ASTR 347 - (3) (Y)
Science and Controversy in Astronomy

Prerequisite or corequisite: ASTR 121, or ASTR 124 or permission of instructor
Open to non-science students. A critical evaluation of controversial topics in science and pseudo-science from the astronomer's perspective. Analysis of methods of science and the nature of scientific evidence, and their implications for unresolved astrophysical problems. Topics include extraterrestrial life, UFO's, Velikovsky, von Daniken, astrology, etc.

ASTR 348 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Cosmology

Open to first year students; primarily for non-science students. A descriptive introduction to the study of the ultimate structure and evolution of the universe. Covers the history of cosmological speculation and the nature of the galaxies. Provides a qualitative introduction to relativity theory and the nature of space-time, black holes, models of the universe (big bang, steady-state, etc.) and methods of testing them, and the history of the universe.

ASTR 395 - (3) (S)
Tutorial

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
A study of a topic of special interest to the student under individual supervision by a faculty member. May be repeated once for credit.

ASTR 444 - (3) (SI)
The Nature of Discovery in Astronomy

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Selected topics concerning the people, ideas, and principles that motivate the advance of twentieth century astronomy.

ASTR 451 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Astrophysics

Prerequisites: ASTR 211, 212; PHYS 252 or permission of instructor
Basic concepts in mechanics, statistical physics, atomic and nuclear structure, and radiative transfer are developed and applied to selected fundamental problems in the areas of stellar structure, stellar atmospheres, the interstellar medium, and extragalactic astrophysics.

ASTR 498 - (3) (S)
Senior Thesis

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated once for credit.

ASTR 511 - (3) (O)
Astronomical Techniques

Prerequisites: ASTR 211, 212; PHYS 342, PHYS 343 or permission of instructor
A survey of modern techniques of radiation measurement, data analysis, and image processing, and their application to astrophysical problems, especially the physical properties of stars and galaxies. Relevant laboratory experiments and observations with the department's telescopes are included. Students are expected to develop a familiarity with FORTRAN programming and other basic computer skills if they do not already possess them.

ASTR 534 - (3) (E)
Introductory Radio Astronomy

Prerequisites: MATH 225, PHYS 210
Study of the fundamentals of measuring power and power spectra, antennas, interferometers and radiometers. Topics include thermal radiation, synchrotron radiation and line frequency radiation; and radio emission from the planets, sun, flare stars, pulsars, supernovae, interstellar gas, galaxies, and quasi-stellar sources.

ASTR 539, 540 - (3) (IR)
Topical Seminar

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Detailed study of a current topic is made by the instructor and the seminar members. Topic to be covered appears in the Course Offering Directory for the semester in which it is given.

ASTR 542 - (3) (E)
The Interstellar Medium

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Topics covered include the physics of interstellar gas and grains, the distribution and dynamics of the gas, and cosmic radiation and interstellar magnetic fields.

ASTR 543, 544 - (3) (O)
Stellar Astrophysics

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Observation of the properties and physics of stars. Study of radiative transfer; stellar thermodynamics; convection; formation of spectra in atmospheres; equations of stellar structure; nuclear reactions; stellar evolution, and nucleosynthesis. Analysis of applicable numerical techniques.

ASTR 545 - (3) (E)
High Energy Astrophysics

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Introduction to the physics of basic radiation mechanisms and particle acceleration processes which are important in high energy phenomena and space science. Applications to pulsars, active galactic nuclei, radio galaxies, quasars, and supernovae are discussed.

ASTR 546 - (3) (SI)
Binary Stars

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Topics include the determination of orbital elements, the mass-luminosity-radius relation, formation of binary systems, the Roche model, mass loss, mass transfer, circumstellar material, accretion disks, evolution of close interacting binaries, and some special classes of binaries such as cataclysmic variables, RS CVn binaries, Algol-type binaries, and X-ray binaries.

ASTR 548 - (3) (O)
Evolution of the Universe

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor
Study of the origin and evolution of structure in the universe; the formation and evolution of galaxies; and tests of the theory based on observations and of large scale structure and the properties of galaxies as a function of look-back time.

ASTR 571, 572 - (3) (S)
Fundamental Concepts in Astronomy

Prerequisites: Open only to students in the Curry School; permission of instructor
Subject matter is the same as for ASTR 121, 124. Students enrolling are offered special reading assignments and consultation on topics in astronomical education. Offered concurrently with undergraduate section.

ASTR 573 - (3) (S)
Laboratory Concepts in Astronomy

Prerequisites: Open only to students in the Curry School; permission of instructor
Subject matter is the same as for ASTR 130. Students enrolling are offered special reading assignments and consultation on topics in astronomical education. Offered concurrently with undergraduate section.

ASTR 575, 576, 577, 578 - (3) (S)
General Topics in Astronomy

Prerequisites: Open only to students in the School of Education; permission of instructor
The subject matter of these courses is the same as for ASTR 341, 342, 347, 348, respectively. Students enrolling are offered special reading assignments and consultation on topics in astronomical education. Offered concurrently with undergraduate section.


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