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PHYS 190
Neil Braganza

W eek 1 Lecture 1 Tues. Jan. 8 Physics 190: Intro to Astronomy Dr. “Howard” Trottier Office: Room P8437 Office Hours: MWF afternoons Email: [email protected] Some novel features of this course: Survey course designed expressly for non-science students Satisfies both Sci-B and Q requirements Science students: can take only before finishing 1st year Experiential activities major part of course! Get out of the classroom and do science! Physics experiments & computer simulation labs Optional astronomical observation projects Grading Scheme Assignments (5): 15% Experiential Activities (5): 15% Midterm Exam: 30% Final Exam: 40% Exams: Multiple choice, fill-in-blank, & brief essays Midterm: Thursday February 21 Final: Wednesday April 17 3:30-6:30PM No changes to date except for documented “extraordinary” circumstances (such as a family medical emergency) T extbook th Chaisson & McMillan, Astronomy: Beginner’s Guide (7 ed.) Cover about 2/3 of textbook, often in bits & pieces (detailed chapter list on WebCT) Comes with MasteringAstronomy access code: All assignments & practice for exams will use this on-line system Bundled with 7th edition or purchased separately at bookstore Class and T utorial Schedule N.B. Different format than specified by the Registrar Lectures: Tu & Th 2:30-3:50 PM Tutorials: Tu & Th 3:50-4:10PM Won’t use many of the tutorial pefirst tutorial Thursday. Preparation for Experiential Activities and Homework Tutorials Physics Lab Schedule: You only attend 5 lab periods Each section (LA01 ... LA08) is divided into two groups. Typically, Group1 = A-Lee and Group2 = Leu-Z (last name) Exact split for each lab section given in handout. You must attend the day/time period (LA section) specified by Registrar, and only on the five weeks I specify for your group. Next week (Jan.17/18): Group1 for all LA sections. Following week (Jan.24/25): Group2 for all LA sections. LA01 = R 9:30-10:50AM ...... LA08 = F 3:30-4:50PM. No switching between sections or groups Physics Labs (cont’d): Physics Lab I - actually a “planetarium” computer lab. Then: 2 genuine physics laboratory experiments! Then: 2-3 telescope computer simulation “labs”. Room P9412: physics corridor from AQ Do labs in groups of 3 students You must print and bring your own lab script to each lab Read the lab script fully before coming to the lab Each person hands-in own lab script at end of lab Notake-home work! Optional Astronomical Observation Projects For extra credit: details in the tutorial! Quantitative material We use basic algebra and quantitative reasoning Don’t sweat it - trust me ;). Academic Honesty You are obliged to know university policy Read policy in activity guide & informational links to be posted on our web site You can take data with your lab partners, discuss homework and astronomy projects, but the work you submit must be your own General comments Course requires extra “logistical” effort to manage the experiential labs (but astro projects☹optional) The experiential activities should be fun, require only modest commitment, are straightforward, eat 15-20% It’s ALL designed for NON-SCIENTISTS☺ I greatly value your input Comments / questions / criticisms, in & out of class, are always welcome! Use group “break out” Q’s to encourage participation WebCT start of term survey: ready soon! Who am I? Astronomy Arguably the “first” science, roots in ancient Babylon Seeks answers to the most existential of questions Galaxyrise Over Alien Planet Dana Berry How old and big is the universe? What is it made of? What was its origin? What is its destiny? Are we alone in the universe? Living in an awesome age: answers / informed speculations Living in a Golden age of Discovery Curiosity Rover on Mars Exoplanet at the nearest star Super-Earth in Goldilocks Zone 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics: “Cosmic Microwave Background” Mather Smoot Dawn spacecraft “leaves orbit” Most distant galaxy 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics: Discovery of Dark Energy We survey cosmos: From Earth out & to the ends of time Cassini image from Saturnonly∼ 1 billion km Spiritual dimension of science Directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forest Gump”) Based on the novel by Carl Sagan (1934-1996) Search For Extraterrestrial After sequence, I’ll open a Intelligence (SETI): monitoring discussion of your perspectives for possible radio transmissions W eek 1 Lecture 2 Thurs. Jan. 10 Scientific Notation Chaisson Appendix 1 aka “Powers of T en” Physics & astronomy span a huge range of scales in space and time Size of observable universe: ≈ 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 meters Size of nucleus of the atom: ≈0.000 000 000 000 001 meters Age of universe: ≈ 100,000,000,000,000,000 seconds Lifetime of some unstable subatomic particles: ≈0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001 seconds Use “Powers of Ten” for Convenient Bookkeeping 10 = one factor of 10 = 101 2 100 = 10 x 10 = two factors of 10 = 10 1000 = 10 x 10 x 10 = three factors = 103 -1 0.1 = 1/10 = one factor in denominator =10 -2 0.01 = 1/100 = 1/(10 x 10) = two in denom = 10 0.001 = 1/1000 = 1/(10 x 10 x 10) = 10 3 0.. . . 1. x 10-3 1 = no factors of 10 = 10 ↺↺↺ Size of observable universe ≈ 10ters 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,.00 ↺ Size of nucleus of the atom ≈ 10ters 0.000 000 000 000 001 ↺ Science spans some 40 powers of 10 in space & time: 40 orders of magnitude ! Age of universe ≈ 10 seconds 100,000,000,000,000,0.0 ↺ Lifetime some subatomic particles ≈ secs 0.000 000 000 000 000 000 001 ↺ 1977 Film: “Powers of Ten” Inspiring visual treatment of scientific notation very influential in physics education Charles and Ray Eames artists and architects Narrated by Philip Morrison, MIT physicist It clearly provided inspiration for opening sequence in “Contact” and for many variations Scale of the Universe 2 With thanks to Carrie Helter Rice on a chess board A story said to have originated in Persia offers a classic example of exponential growth. It tells of a clever courtier who presented a beautiful chess set to his king and in return asked only that the king give him one grain of rice for the first squa re, two grains, or double the amount, for the second square, four grains (or double again) for the third, and so forth. Answer: Next class (in meantime, try it yourself!) The king, not being mathematically inclined, agreed and ordered the rice to be brought from storage. The eighth square required 128 grains, the 12th took more than one pound. Long before reaching the 64th square, every grain of rice in the kingdom had been used. Population Even today, the total world rice production would not be enough to meet the amount required for the final square of the chessboard. Bureau Albert Bartlett, American Physicist “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” Celestial Sphere CCh.0.1n Breakout discussion: Physics Lab I: Stellarium Astronomy Why a Project I sphere ? What would sky “shape” be for an astronaut ? Constellations On a given night one can see about 3,000 stars (under very dark skies) Humans have innate tendency to discern patterns, even when none exist 88 “Constellations”: ad hoc groupings Northern Skies - ancient Babylonian/Greek/Arabic myths Southern Skies - 17th c. European explorers Have no scientific meaning, though still used by astronomers as convenient references for location in the sky Constellations are purely “psychological” These stars have nothing to do with one another! Vastly different distances More Prominent Winter/Spring Constellations: Tutorial Celestial Coordinates Three “coordinates” needed to locate an object in space Distance (3rd coord.) imperceptible to the eye! “Latitude” “Longitude” On the celestial sp
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