Physics 101: Mysteries of the Sky
MWF 8:45 - 9:50 a.m., 12:30 - 1:35 p.m., EPS 103
Instructor: Brian Welsch
Grader: Ijaz (pronounced ee'-jahz) Zafarhullah
Office: EPS 226, cubicle #21 -- in the far corner!
Office Hours: On Monday, 6/28, we arranged times during which I'll make
it a point to be at my desk; they are: 11-12 & 4-5 Tu. & Th.
But if you stop by anytime and I'm in, I'll help you!
Text: Voyages Through the Universe, by Fraknoi, Morrison, & Wolff
# scored (tot. #)
Every other Friday -- 7/9, 7/23, and 8/6 -- you'll have an hour-long exam,
covering material in lectures, homeworks, group activities, quizzes, and assigned readings.
The final exam will emphasize material
studied since the previous one, but will also test concepts from throughout the course.
Some part of the first lecture of each test day will be set aside for review and questions;
the exam will be given during the second class meeting. No exams will be given late.
At the start of each class day's first lecture, you'll take a 10 minute quiz
to show that you've completed the reading assigned in the previous lecture. The quizzes will
largely consist of recalling facts and vocabulary.
If you've done the reading, the quizzes will not be hard.
No quizzes will be administered on test days. Your three lowest
quiz grades will be dropped.
During the second lecture of each class day, you will break down into assigned groups and
complete a group activity together.
Everyone in each group will receive the same grade, and every
member is expected to participate actively. Your three lowest
group activity grades will be dropped.
Once per week, a homework assignment will be given.
It will be handed in at the beginning of the
first lecture each Friday, including test days. Most questions will be taken from the text, but
some will involve research on the world-wide web. (So make sure you have web access, either from
the computer labs on campus, or from your own computer!) Your lowest
homework grade will be dropped. No late homework will be accepted.
You will be expected to attend two of four out-of-class activities:
two ``star parties'' (7/16, 7/30, and one TBA), any astronomical
planetarium show at the Museum of the Rockies before 8/2,
and any lecture at the International Astronomical
Union meeting (7/6 - 7/10). In addition, you must type a summary of what you
learned, one page for each event you attended.
These must be submitted no later than the start of the
second lecture on Monday, 8/2. No late reports will be accepted.
All class materials can be found on the web, at this address:
All overheads shown in lectures will be posted to the web.
I hope to always do so before each lecture.
My philosophy: Above all, you should leave this class being ``culturally literate'' in astronomy.
That is, your command of the major ideas and vocabulary of astronomy should provide context to
understand basically the latest astronomical results discussed in the popular news
(e.g., new supernovae, more distant galaxies, more about the Big Bang),
and to understand the everyday aspects of astronomy
(e.g., seasons, phases of the moon, ocean tides, eclipses, comets).
Accordingly, I will emphasize and test conceptual understanding, as opposed to memorization
or mathematical problem-solving skills.
Note that tests account for a third of your grade, while quizzes, group work, homeworks, and
out-of-class events account for two-thirds. So I can control one third of your grade by making
tests harder or easier -- but you can control two thirds of your grade by keeping up with the
reading, helping your group members, doing your homework, and attending
and reporting on the out-of-class events.