Astronomy 141

Life in the Universe

Fall Quarter 2010

Mo Tu We Th Fr 1:30 - 2:18 pm

Stillman Hall 100


Course Instructor: Prof. Barbara Ryden

Office: 4035 McPherson Lab (fourth floor), 140 W. 18th Ave.

Office Hours: Mo Fr 9 - 11 am, Tu We 3:30 - 5:30 pm, or by appointment

Phone: 292-4562

Email: ryden@astronomy.ohio-state.edu


Menu: [ On-Line Info | Lectures | Grading ]

The Final Exam will be on Tuesday, December 7, at 1:30 pm, in the usual classroom. It will be a cumulative, multiple-choice exam, with 100 questions.


On-Line Information

Course Syllabus [PDF version]

(Details about grading, office hours, course schedule, problem set due dates, and so forth.)

Roof & Planetarium Nights

(On selected nights during the quarter, there will be a planetarium show in Smith Laboratory, followed by an opportunity to view the sky through a 12-inch aperture telescope.)

Astronomy Picture of the Day

(This provides a new astronomical image each day -- the subjects range from distant galaxies to our home planet, the Earth.)


Lectures

Week 1 - Introductory Matters - Reading from Text = Chapter 1

Wednesday, Sep 22: Introduction [PDF notes]

Thursday, Sep 23: Astronomical Numbers [PDF notes]

Friday, Sep 24: Imagining Life Beyond Earth [PDF notes]

Week 2 - Scientific Revolutions - Reading from Text = Chapters 2 & 3

Monday, Sep 27: Copernican Revolution [PDF notes]

Tuesday, Sep 28: Geological Revolution [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Sep 29: Cosmological Revolution [PDF notes]

Thursday, Sep 30: Chemical Revolution [PDF notes]

Friday, Oct 1: Biological Revolution [PDF notes]

Week 3 - Our Earthly Habitat - Reading from Text = Chapter 4

Monday, Oct 4: The Earth We Stand On [PDF notes]

Tuesday, Oct 5: The Air We Breathe [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Oct 6: The Geological Record [PDF notes]

Thursday, Oct 7: Climate Change [PDF notes]

Friday, Oct 8: QUIZ 1

Week 4 - Life on Earth - Reading from Text = Chapter 5

Monday, Oct 11: What is Life? [PDF notes] [Problem Set 1 handed out]

Tuesday, Oct 12: Cells - Building Blocks of Life [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Oct 13: Metabolism [PDF notes]

Thursday, Oct 14: Heredity, DNA, & Mutations [PDF notes]

Friday, Oct 15: Extreme Life [PDF notes]

Week 5 - History of Life on Earth - Reading from Text = Chapter 6

Monday, Oct 18: Origin of Life: The First Fossils [PDF notes] [Problem Set 1 due]

Tuesday, Oct 19: The Evolution of Life [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Oct 20: The Evolution of Us [PDF notes]

Thursday, Oct 21: Mass Extinctions [PDF notes]

Friday, Oct 22: QUIZ 2

Week 6 - Life in the Solar System - Reading from Text = Chapters 7 & 8

Monday, Oct 25: Solar System Overview [PDF notes] [Problem Set 2 handed out]

Tuesday, Oct 26: Requirements for Life [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Oct 27: Terrestrial Planets [PDF notes]

Thursday, Oct 28: Mars [PDF notes]

Friday, Oct 29: Life on Mars (?) [PDF notes]

Week 7 - Life in the Solar System (Part II) - Reading from Text = Chapter 9 & 10

Monday, Nov 1: Jovian Planets [PDF notes] [Problem Set 2 due]

Tuesday, Nov 2: Life on Europa (?) [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Nov 3: Life on Titan (?) [PDF notes]

Thursday, Nov 4: Goldilocks & the Habitable Zone [PDF notes]

Friday, Nov 5: QUIZ 3

Week 8 - Beyond the Solar System - Reading from Text = Chapter 11

Monday, Nov 8: Properties of Stars [PDF notes] [Problem Set 3 handed out]

Tuesday, Nov 9: Meet the Neighbors [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Nov 10: "Life" and "Death" of Stars [PDF notes]

Thursday, Nov 11: NO CLASS

Friday, Nov 12: Habitable Zones of Other Stars [PDF notes]

Week 9 - Life Around Other Stars - Reading from Text = Chapter 12

Monday, Nov 15: Exoplanets [PDF notes] [Problem Set 3 due]

Tuesday, Nov 16: Properties of Exoplanets [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Nov 17: Seeking Other Earths [PDF notes]

Thursday, Nov 18: Intelligent Life in the Universe [PDF notes]

Friday, Nov 19: QUIZ 4

Week 10 - Extraterrestrial Intelligence - Reading from Text = Chapter 13

Monday, Nov 22: The Drake Equation [PDF notes] [Problem Set 4 handed out]

Tuesday, Nov 23: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Nov 24: Colonizing the Galaxy [PDF notes]

Thursday, Nov 25: NO CLASS

Friday, Nov 26: NO CLASS

Week 11 - Speculations - Reading from Text = None

Monday, Nov 29: Have Aliens Visited Earth? [PDF notes] [Problem Set 4 due]

Tuesday, Nov 30: The Fermi Paradox [PDF notes]

Wednesday, Dec 1: Life As We Don't Know It [PDF notes]

Thursday, Dec 2: The Future of the Solar System [PDF notes]

Friday, Dec 3: The Future of the Universe [PDF notes]


Grading

The course grade will be determined from the results of 4 in-class quizzes (40 percent), a final exam (30 percent), and 4 take-home problem sets (30 percent). See the course syllabus for more details on the makeup and grading policies.

Quiz 1: Friday, October 8, in class

Average score = 37 correct

Quiz 2: Friday, October 22, in class

Average score = 37.3 correct

Quiz 3: Friday, November 5, in class

Average score = 37.2 correct

Quiz 4: Friday, November 19, in class

Average score = 36.4 correct

Final Exam: Tuesday, December 7, 1:30pm - 3:18pm, in Stillman 100 (our usual classroom)


Return to: [ Astronomy Undergraduate Courses Page | Astronomy Department Homepage | Professor Ryden's Homepage ]
Updated: 2010 Dec 3, 1034 EST [Barbara Ryden]

Image Credits:
Space Telescope Science Institute (AURA/STScI)

Copyright 2010, Barbara Ryden