phy55 - Physics 55 Syllabus and Course Description Robert...

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Unformatted text preview: Physics 55 Syllabus and Course Description Robert G. Brown, Instructor June 26, 2010 Robert G. Brown Duke University Physics Department Durham, NC 27708-0305 rgb@phy.duke.edu Snapshot: June 26, 2010 1 Copyright Notice Copyright Robert G. Brown 2010 This document is copyrighted by Robert G. Brown in the year 2010. The specific date of last modification is determinable by examining the original document sources. 2 Contents 1 Physics 55 Course Description/Syllabus 1 1.1 General Course Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1.2 Useful Links and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 1.3 Observatory and Observation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.3.1 Observation Hazards: Mosquitos, Ticks, Chiggers . . . 5 1.3.2 Transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.4 Wikilinks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1.5 Detailed Course Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.6 The Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 1.7 Personal Availability and Methods of Contact . . . . . . . . . 14 2 How to Do Your Homework Effectively 15 3 The Method of Three Passes 22 4 Tentative Schedule 25 i 1 Physics 55 Course Description/Syllabus 1.1 General Course Description Instructor: Robert G. Brown Room 260 Email address: rgb at phy.duke.edu Cell Phone: 919-280-8443 Course Web page address: http://www.phy.duke.edu/ rgb/Class/phy55.php Text: Universe , by Freedman, Geller and Kaufmann, 9th ed. ISBN-13: 978-1-4292-3153-4 Physics 55 is Astronomy a comprehensive review of the science and ob- servational methodology of deciphering the visible Universe. It begins with a review of history and philosophy (astronomy played a key role in developing a rational and scientific worldview over several thousand years of civilization) leading to the scientific method as a valid way of ascertaining probable truth of assertions about the world. It continues with a review of what we know and how we know key astronomical facts about the Earth, the Earth-moon system, the Sun, the Earth-Sun system, the planets (and other interesting near-space objects) and the Solar System, the local group of stars (ones that can be located using parallax), the Milky Way galaxy, the local group of galaxies (ones within a few million light years) and the deep space observa- tions of distant galaxies and the microwave background that are evidence of the Big Bang. At all points both learning the facts and understanding why we believe them to be facts is emphasized. Students will not need any particular complicated mathematics to excel in the course, but will need to be able to understand some relatively simple geometry and trigonometry and to be able to visualize things using geometric drawings and compute things with simple algebra and arithmetic....
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phy55 - Physics 55 Syllabus and Course Description Robert...

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