AST 185C -- FALL 1998 (45140)
Dinerstein, Tues. 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Astronomy 185C is a "conference course"
for first-semester astronomy graduate students. I treat this course
as a semester-long orientation to our department, graduate school
in astronomy, and astronomy as a profession. We will include overviews
of the five research groups; for each group, a full class meeting
will be devoted to a discussion of the research activities of
its members. This is important because you will soon be choosing
a research area and advisor.
of the class time will be devoted to broader issues
such as: What does it really take to succeed
in graduate school and beyond? What are the prospects of finding
a job, what kind of jobs are available, and how does one prepare
oneself for various career paths? We will also have a number
of guest participants who are
at different stages of their careers and have had a variety of
experiences, to provide a broad range of opinions and perspectives.
There is a special shelf in Peridier Library devoted to "Careers"
and related issues. Some of the more useful items there include:
- "A Ph.D. is Not Enough! A Guide
to Survival in Science," Peter J. Feibelman (1993), Addison-Wesley
paperback. (I have ordered a few copies through the UT Co-Op;
it cost $12.95 last year.)
- "To Boldly Go: A Practical Career
Guide for Scientists," Peter S. Fiske (1996), American Geophysical
- "Communicating in Science: Writing
a Scientific Paper and Speaking at Scientific Meetings,"
Vernon Booth (1984, 1993), Cambridge University Press.
TOPICS TO BE INCLUDED:
Introduction to research facilities and resources:
- an overview of the research facilities
of McDonald Observatory, including the telescopes at Mt. Locke
in West Texas and the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
- introduction to the five Observatory Research
Groups (stellar, interstellar, solar system, theory, and extragalactic)
Survival and success in the UT Astronomy program:
- advice from both faculty and students;
official requirements and unofficial expectations
- professional ethics and integrity issues
Survival and success in an astronomy career:
- statistics on the current job market in
- how to get yourself and your work known,
job hunting strategies, advice from post docs
- what actually happens in the peer-review
process (for grant proposals, papers)?
- careers involving education and outreach,
corporate research, support jobs, etc.
Scientific communication: (we may not have time for all of these)
- critiquing papers, practice oral presentations,
discussion of writing skills