MWF 9:00-10:00 · WEL 3.502 · Unique No. 48450


John Scalo

RLM 15.204 · (512) 471-6446 [office], or 478-2748 [home] · email

Courses - Spr '09  |  Course Website

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Dropping the course: (see General Information, ch.4, for details of required approvals, and authoritative documentation of the dates given here).
Friday Jan 23 is the last day of the official add/drop period; after this you need approval of the department chair and usually the student’s dean. The 12th class day, Wed Feb 4, is the last day to add or drop courses and receive a refund. Mon Feb 16 is the last day to drop without a possible academic penalty. After the end of the 4th week of class, and until the deadline for dropping courses (Mon March 30), a student wishing to drop a course will ask the instructor to complete a drop form that assigns a Q (ONLY if average grade is D or better) or an F. After Mon March 30, students are only allowed to drop for urgent and substantial nonacademic reasons (e.g. extended health-related problems or family emergencies). For non-academic reasons, a written appeal must be presented in the Student Division of the Dean's Office.

The College of Natural Sciences does not in general honor the "one free drop" policy of some other colleges (e.g. Liberal Arts), so do not ask me for a Q drop after March 30 for academic reasons (e.g. because your grade is lower than you’d like), no matter what a counselor in your college may have told you. You need a substantiated non-academic reason. The only possible exceptions are first-semester freshmen who are allowed to drop a single College of Natural Sciences course--in that case there is a special form that I would need to see.

Incompletes: An incomplete (X) will only be considered for students who cannot complete the required course work for reasons other than lack of diligence (illness or other imperative nonacademic reasons), but only if the student has a passing grade on the work completed.

Cheating: Academic dishonesty will result in failure of the course and a report to the Dean of Students, who will decide on further action. Because of the small size of this class, you will be asked to sit at least one seat apart during exams. Also, bring your UT ID card with you to exams and be prepared to show this card if asked.

Student observing opportunities: (schedule is tentative--call 471-5007 for Monday updates)
Students interested in observing the night sky through small telescopes have several opportunities. 1. The Painter Hall Observatory has UT Student/Staff Night on Fridays from 9:30 to 10:30. Public Night is on Saturdays, 8:30 to 10:30. These sessions are free and open to all ages; no reservations are required. 2. The Astronomy Department sponsors weekly "Star Parties" on the 18th floor observing deck of R.L. Moore Hall 30 minutes after sunset (7pm, probably 6pm) on Wednesdays this Spring. This is free and open to the public. Call 471-5007 for a list of all Astronomy Department public events, since this schedule may have changed.

Course Description--Review this in detail after first class day.

This course is meant as a descriptive introduction to a wide range of topics in astronomy for students who are not science or math majors. The emphasis in this course is on description of astronomical phenomena, how astronomical observations can be interpreted, and physical theories for the evolution of various types of astronomical objects. Concerning the mathematical level, it is minimal in this course--I do not believe manipulation of formulas demonstrates understanding, so I try to equalize the background differences by using very little math in lectures, and almost (not quite) none on the exams. However you will encounter a few important but simple formulas in the text whose understanding will be helpful, even crucial, throughout later sections of the course, so please don’t interpret this paragraph as suggesting that you should ignore the important equations!

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