ASTRONOMY 353 - SPRING 2011
ASTROPHYSICS
Unique No. 48305
Course Web Page
Course information including important announcements, homework assignments, homework solutions, and lecture notes will be made available within the University’s Blackboard Learning System: https://courses.utexas.edu
Instructor
Dr. Milos Milosavljevic
Office location: RLM 17.220
Phone and voice mail: (512) 471-3397
Email: milos@astro.as.utexas.edu
Teaching Assistants
Rodolfo Santana |
TA Help Sessions: Tuesdays 5-6 p.m. |
COURSE OBJECTIVES
The course introduces astronomy, physics, and other science and engineering majors to fundamental astrophysical concepts and their applications. The concepts are developed from first principles, thus linking the elementary physics curriculum (classical and quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics) to a diversity of astrophysical phenomena. The material is introduced both rigorously and with order-of-magnitude and dimensional analysis techniques. The lectures are interactive and are designed to foster proficiency in independent physical reasoning and mathematical modeling. Where possible, connections to current research problems will be highlighted.
This course carries the Quantitative Reasoning flag. Quantitative Reasoning courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for understanding the types of quantitative arguments you will encounter in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from your use of quantitative skills to analyze quantitative problems.
TOPICS
^{1}Section numbers in parentheses refer to the course textbook, Astrophysics in a Nutshell, by Dan Maoz, and should serve as a reading guide. Lectures will cover significantly more material than the textbook. Typewritten lecture notes will be provided especially for topics not extensively discussed in the textbook.
PREREQUISITES, LECTURES, HELP SESSIONS, OFFICE HOURS, AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Prerequisites
To take Astronomy 353, you should have taken calculus and multivariable calculus, and should have taken calculus-based courses in classical mechanics and in electromagnetism at the level of the standard physics major curriculum. Hands-on experience with ordinary and partial differential equations is also assumed.
Hours and Venue
The class meets in Robert Lee Moore Hall (RLM) 15.216b on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30-1:45 p.m.
Help Sessions
TA study sessions will be provided weekly in Robert Lee Moore Hall (RLM) 15.216b on Tuesdays at 5-6 p.m.
Office Hours
Instructor office hours: Mondays 1-2 p.m. and Thursdays 2-3 p.m., or by appointment, in RLM 17.214.
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.
TEXTBOOKS
Required Textbooks
Astrophysics in a Nutshell, Dan Maoz (Princeton)
Recommended Reading (On Reserve at Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy Library)
The Physics of Stars, Second Edition, by A. C. Phillips (Wiley)
An Introduction to Stellar Astrophysics, by Francis LeBlanc (Wiley)
EXAMS AND GRADING
Exams
There will be 2 in-class midterm exams, on February 24 and April 7, and a comprehensive final exam on May 14 at 2 p.m.
The final will count 30% toward the final grade, and each of the midterms will count 15% toward the final grade.
Please bring a calculator to each of the exams! You will need a calculator and we will not be able to provide any.
Homework
There will be weekly homework assignments due on Thursdays, with the exception of the first week and the midterm exam weeks. The cumulative homework assignment grade will count 35% toward the final grade
You are encouraged to collaborate on the homework assignments in groups, but you must write the final answers on your own.
Attendance
Class attendance will count 5% toward the final grade.
Calculation of the grade
Component |
Maximum Score |
Midterms |
2 × 15% = 30% |
Weekly homework assignments |
35% |
Final exam |
30% |
Attendance |
5% |
Total |
100% |
Score Range |
Grade |
85% ≤ S ≤ 100% |
A |
70% ≤ S < 85% |
B |
55% ≤ S < 70% |
C |