Summer 2020 Physics and Astronomy Courses

ASTR 001 - The Solar System and Exoplanets

Professor Brian Chaboyer, Professor Elisabeth Newton

Professor Chaboyer Introduces A1

Astronomy 1 is an introduction to the solar system and planets which orbit other stars. The course is geared towards a non-science student who has little or no background in astronomy. This is primarily a descriptive course, but math (at the level of high school algebra, including the use of logarithms) will be used, particularly in the labs.  Astronomy 1 has four virtual (computer based) labs which you will do with a lab partner, and satisfies the SLA distributive.  You will view lectures from the summer 2019 version of this course asynchronously (on your own schedule), and be placed in small groups to discuss the lecture quizzes.  Canvas discussions and virtual office hours (conducted via Zoom videoconferencing) will supplement the lectures and readings.  Assessment will be based on four lab reports, lecture quizzes, weekly tests and a final project.

Course Catalog


ASTR 002 - Exploring the Universe

Professof Ryan Hickox

A survey of contemporary knowledge of the nature and the evolution of stars, galaxies and the universe. Topics include stellar evolution, the origin of the elements, the deaths of stars, black holes, the structure of our Galaxy, other galaxies, dark matter, the expanding universe and the big bang. Physical processes underlying these phenomena are discussed. No student may receive credit for both ASTR 2 and ASTR 3. Identical to ASTR 3, but without the observing laboratory.

Course Catalog

PHYS 003 - General Physics 1

Professor Jeremy Ouellette

The fundamental laws and phenomena of mechanics, heat, wave motion, and sound, including relativistic concepts. The sequence Physics 3-4 is designed primarily for students who do not intend to take PHYS 19. One laboratory period per week.

Course Catalog

PHYS 31.02 - Research Methods in 21st Century Physics and Astronomy

Professor Chandrasekhar Ramanathan

This course provides a structured introduction to some of the key methods used in 21st Century Physics and Astronomy Research. Student will learn how to perform a literature search, engage in hands-on experimental and/or computational research and use computational techniques for data analysis and modeling. Students will practice distinguishing between critical variables and background details and learn to summarize and present their results to different audiences. Ethics and researcher responsibilities will also be explored.

PHYS 044 - Mechanics

Professor Robyn Millan

The fundamental principles of mechanics. Lagrangian form of the equations of motion. Central force motion, collisions and scattering, dynamics of rigid bodies, vibrations, normal modes, and waves. Nonlinear dynamics and chaos.

Course Catalog