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Astronomy 141

Life in the Universe
Winter Quarter 2012

Prof. Richard Pogge
MTWRF 12:30-1:18pm
0020 Page Hall

[Overview | News | Info | Internet Resources | Lectures | Homework | Quizzes | Final Exam | Copyright ]


Astronomy 141, Life in the Universe, is an introduction to Astrobiology. The topics covered in this course lie at the interfaces between astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology, and the earth and planetary sciences. We will learn about scientists' ongoing quest for answers to some of the most fundamental human questions: How did life originate on Earth? Is there life on other worlds? Are we alone in the universe? What is the long-term future of life in the universe?

Course News

2012 Mar 1
Reminder: Quiz #4 will be Friday, March 2 in class.

2012 Feb 28
Homework #5 will be handed out in class today. It is due back on the last day of class, Friday, March 9. Please note the special instructions and the data file needed for this assignment. It is available here and on Carmen.

Homework #4 is due in class Tues, Feb 28.

2012 Feb 26
Quiz 4 will be Friday, March 2, in Class. The Quiz 4 Study Guide is now available.

The second week of lecture notes for Unit 5: Life in the Universe have been posted here and on Carmen.

Course Information

Internet Resources

My Favorite Astronomy Picture Sites:
Astronomy Picture of the Day
NASA Planetary Photojournal A great collection of planetary images at JPL.
Latest pictures from the Saturn system returned by the Cassini spacecraft.
Latest pictures from the Mars Exploration Rovers
Latest pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope

This Week's Sky at a Glance
Courtesy of Sky & Telescope Magazine

Lectures Notes & Audio Recordings

Lectures are daily at 12:30-3:18pm in Page Hall Room 0020 on the OSU main campus in Columbus. All lecture notes are in PDF format, and will have an accompanying audio recording of the lecture in MP3 format.
Unit 1: Introduction: Imagining Other Worlds [Jan 3-5]

Unit 2: Five Revolutions [Jan 6-12]

Unit 3: Life on Earth [Jan 13-Feb 2]

Unit 4: Life in the Solar System [Feb 6-16]

Unit 5: Life in the Universe [Feb 20-Mar 9]

Using the Notes

The lecture notes are copies of a subset of the slides shown in class, printed three slides per page with room to take notes on the other half of the page. They are not verbatim transcripts, and they often omit some of the graphics shown in class because of copyright restrictions (the principle of "Fair Use" permits me show most graphics in class, but not to post them on the web). Notes will generally become available the morning of the lecture at the latest.

In the past, students have found it very helpful to make copies of these notes before class, and then follow along with them in lecture, making their own notes in the margins. You will find this much easier than trying to take detailed notes of everything I say (because I can say a great deal, sometimes a little fast...).

The primary content of the class is what I say during the lectures, with the lecture slides composed in the style of annotated illustrations. The printed notes are meant to serve as aids for following along in class, not as substitutes for regular attendance. Historically, students who have gotten into the bad habit of skipping class and just reading the online notes have performed one whole grade point below the class average.

Copyright Statement

All of the written materials provided in these web pages are copyrighted by the course instructor, except as noted. In addition, some images and animations are also copyrighted by the instructor, while others are copyrighted by the original sources. These latter appear with the written permission of the copyright holders. Please read the Copyright Statement before you make copies of any of these web pages for any purpose. Use of these notes implies that you have read and understood the copyright statement.
Updated: 2012 March 1
Copyright © Richard W. Pogge. All Rights Reserved.