AST 302: Our Violent Universe       Class Log

Class Schedule: T Th 2pm-4:50pm Professor: Steve Liebling
Classroom: Pell Hall 302 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). Same as last semester's.
Office Hours: T Th 1:00-2:00pm (and by appointment)
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. Extra. 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: Quizzes from the publisher's web page ( will be "assigned" for each chapter we cover. You will be responsible for taking these quizzes online (and outside of class) before the next test. Make sure you are signed up for our class on the web page so that your scores will be recorded. Additionally, questions for each chapter will be asked in class with scores counted. These questions are to ensure that you keep up and read the chapters before class.

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 Jan. 24 Introduction   Course Overview; Review of needed knowledge  
Jan. 26 Space and Time   Chapter S2    
Week 2 Jan. 31   Ch. S2    
Feb. 2 Spacetime and Gravity   Ch. S3    
Week 3 Feb. 7   Ch. S3    
Feb. 9 Building Blocks of the Universe   Ch. S4    
Week 4 Feb. 14   Ch. S4    
Feb. 16   Test 1  
Week 5 Feb. 21   President's Weekend--NO CLASSES    
Feb. 23 Star Stuff   Ch. 17    
Week 6 Feb. 28   Presentations of the First Part of Project Due   
March. 2 The Bizarre Stellar Graveyard   Ch. 18    
Week 7 Mar. 7   Ch. 18    
March 9 Our Galaxy   Ch. 19    
Week 8 March 14   Ch. 19    
March 16 Galaxies: From Here to the Horizon   Ch. 20    
Week 9 March 21   Ch. 20    
March 23   Test 2  
Week 10 March 28 Galaxy Evolution   Ch. 21    
March 30   Ch. 21    
Week 11 April 4 Dark Matter and the Fate of the Universe   Ch. 22; Second Part of Project Due   
April 6 The Beginning of Time   Ch. 23    
Week 12 April 11   Spring Break--NO CLASSES    
April 13   Spring Break--NO CLASSES    
Week 13 April 18 Life Beyond Earth   Ch. 24; Extra Credit Presentations    
April 20 Dark Energy And Other Topics   Supplemental Materials    
Week 14 April 25   Supplemental Materials    
April 27   Review for Final    
Week 15 May 2   Project Presentations    
May 9   Final Exam (1:50pm-4:30pm)    

Last updated March 30, 2006.
Steve Liebling (home)