Course topics Collisions in the Solar system Formation of the solar system Collisions affecting the Earth in more recent times – science, and Hollywood Collisions in a general sense: gravitational interaction in the Universe Life and death of stars Interacting (“colliding” stars) Neutron stars, black holes and warped space-time The biggest explosions… “gamma-ray bursts” Cosmic collisions Colliding galaxies Giant black holes and quasars Time-warps and wormholes
Course texts Night Comes to the Cretaceous Powell, c. 1998, Harcourt-Brace The story of the search for traces of the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs
Course Information This course is for non-science majors who have strong interests in astronomy This is a 200-level class; it is not a replacement for ASTR100 or ASTR101 Assume some background in (or willingness to learn) basic astronomy Simple math: algebra and statistical reasoning Satisfies CORE distributive studies requirement for a non-laboratory physical sciences course
Course work and grading In-class participation is very important There will be homeworks, in-class quizzes, a book review, in-class activities, one midterm exam, and a (cumulative) final exam These, as well as grading breakpoints are summarized in the syllabus This course will NOT use the +/- scheme
Grading (cont.) Midterm exam25% Final exam35% Homework25% In-class activities15% NOTE: if you want an ‘A’, you can’t just rely on the exams
Grade boundaries You will be guaranteed at least the following letter grade corresponding to your score percentage: 90% and aboveA 80-89%B 68-79%C 55-67%D Below 55%F Any curving will only increase your letter grade.
Examinations Midterm and final exam will have similar formats Section of multiple choice questions Section of questions needing short written answers or short calculations. Midterm exam will be in class on the 23 rd October 2003 (tentative). As per the current University schedule, the final exam will be 8.00-10.00am on 15 th December 2003 in this room.
Absences, academic dishonesty I strictly follow the University policy Absences – all must be documented If scheduled (e.g. sports), bring paperwork within the first 10 days of classes Illness: if possible, contact me before missed class or assignment; arrange for make-up (if necessary) within one week Academic dishonesty Zero-tolerance policy: all cases go to Honor Council Plagiarism is most common problem in a class like this one