AST 301: Our Violent Universe       Class Log

Class Schedule: T Th 2pm-4:50pm Professor: Steve Liebling
Classroom: Pell Hall 209 Office:  Pell Hall 210
Text: J.Bennett, M.Donahue, N.Schneider, & M.Voit. The Cosmic Perspective, Third Edition, Addison Wesley, (2004)
the accompanying Astronomy Media Workbook, 4/E.
and a personal access kit (required) for the Astronomy Place website (ClassID: cm948096).
Office Hours: M W 12:30-1:30pm
Web: Phone: 299-3439

Course Goals: Grading Policy: Grades will basically follow the traditional divisions at 90% (A or A-), 80% (B+, B, B-), 70% (C+, C, C-), and 60% (D), with minimal adjustments based on how the class proceeds.
Labwork 20%
Project (details) 15%
Quizzes & Homework 15%
Classroom Participation 5%
Test 1 15%  
Test 2 15%
Final Exam 15%
Extra Credit: There will be no extra credit or extra credit papers, Do the homework, labs, and take the quizzes and tests. As the semester progresses, there is less and less to be done to increase your grade.

Class Participation: Everyone starts with 90%. Subtractions are made for being disruptive (excessive talking, ringing phones, being late, etc) as well as excessive absences. Additions are made for contributing (questions or answers) to class discussions.

Homework: Homework will be assigned in class, usually every week or two. Often the homework will consist of assignments from the publisher's class web page (

Quizzes: Generally, quizzes from the publisher's web page ( will be "assigned" for the appropriate chapters. You will be responsible for taking these quizzes online (and outside of class) before the assigned deadline.

Tests: The class will have two tests on the dates indicated on the syllabus. The tests will be given during classtime.

Final: The final will be held at the time dictated by the Registrar during Exam Week.

Academic Honesty: You are encouraged to work on homework problems with others. However, you must work alone on quizzes and tests. On quizzes and exams you may use only a calculator and writing utensils (no cell phones, PDAs, etc). All the work you turn in must be your own.

Other Resources: Tutors, library books, office hours, supplemental texts, and study groups.

Syllabus: Below is the anticipated schedule of what we'll cover. The dates of the tests are fixed; on principle I do not change them so that students can plan for them. Near the end of the semester, I generally have flexibility in what we cover. If you have a preference for what we might cover, please feel free to provide feedback.

Week 1 Sept. 6 Introduction   Course Overview; HW 1  
Sept. 8 Our Place in the Universe   Ch. 1   
Week 2 Sept. 13   Ch. 1    
Sept. 15 Discovering the Universe for Yourself   Ch. 2   
Week 3 Sept. 20   Ch. 2   
Sept. 22 The Science of Astronomy   Ch. 3    
Week 4 Sept. 27   Ch. 3    
Sept. 29   Test 1  
Week 5 Oct. 4   Rosh Hashanah--NO CLASSES    
Oct. 6 A Universe of Matter and Energy   Ch. 4    
Week 6 Oct. 11   Ch. 4; First Part of Project Due   
Oct. 13   Yom Kippur--NO CLASSES    
Week 7 Oct. 18 The Universal Laws of Motion   Ch. 5    
Oct. 20   Ch. 5    
Week 8 Oct. 25 Light: The Cosmic Messenger   Ch. 6    
Oct. 27   Ch. 6    
Week 9 Nov. 1 Telescopes: Portals of Discovery   Ch. 7    
Nov. 3   Ch. 7    
Week 10 Nov. 8   Test 2  
Nov. 10 Space & Time   Ch. S2    
Week 11 Nov. 15   Ch. S2    
Nov. 17 Spacetime and Gravity   Ch. S3    
Week 12 Nov. 22   Ch. S3; Second Part of Project Due   
Nov. 24   Thanksgiving--NO CLASSES    
Week 13 Nov. 29 Building Blocks of the Universe   Ch. S4    
Dec. 1   Ch. S4    
Week 14 Dec. 6 Our Star   Ch. 15    
Dec. 8   Ch. 15; Final Part of Project Due   
Week 15 Dec. 13   Project Presentations    
Week 16 Dec. 15-21   Final Exam Period    

Last updated August 30, 2005.
Steve Liebling (home)