syllabus - Syllabus for AST 2037 Life in the Universe(v1.0...

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Syllabus for AST 2037: Life in the Universe (v1.0) Fall 2011, Prof. Ford, Section 1021 Basic Information: Course website: http://www.astro.ufl.edu/~eford/teach/ast2037/ Classroom: Florida Gym 260 (FLG 260) Class Meeting Times: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays 9:35am-10:25am (period 3) Time reserved for final exam: 16B (Dec 16) Instructor: Prof. Eric Ford Office: 212 Bryant Space Science Center Office hours: Generally Thursdays 4:30pm-5:30pm or by appointment in Bryant 212. Some weeks office hours will be rescheduled for Tuesday 4:30-5:30pm. If many students come, we may move to Bryant 217/219. Email: (please write AST2037 in the subject line) Phone: 294-1866 (I check email much more frequently than voicemail.) Text Books: The required textbook will be Life in the Universe by Bennett & Shostak. There are three editions. I will specify reading assignments using section/page numbers based on the the 2 nd edition. Students may use either the 2 nd (2007; ISBN #0805347534) or 3 rd edition (2011; ISBN #0321687671), provided they make a point of reading the relevant sections prior to class. Additional readings will be provided in class and/or via the course web page. Both Life in the Universe and The Search for Life in the Universe by Donald Goldsmith & Tobias Owen (2001, 3rd edition; University Science Books; ISBN #1891389165) are to be held in reserve at the Marston Science Library. I do not recommend that students purchase the text by Goldsmith & Owen, but encourage them to visit the library and read the relevant sections any time they are confused about a topic. Prerequisites: None. This is not a highly mathematical science course. However, just as a knowledge of English is necessary to read the text and understand the discussion, a knowledge of grade-school level mathematics is often required to engage in significant scientific discussions. I will assume students will be proficient in the Florida Department of Education's Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Course Goals & Objectives: In this class we will consider the origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life existing beyond Earth from a multidisciplinary and scientific perspective. The greater purpose is to help you to appreciate the scientific process and to build scientific reasoning skills that are applicable beyond this course. Science plays an increasingly important role in our daily lives and modern society. To achieve those goals, the course will introduce basic concepts of science and apply them to address three topics: 1) The Nature of Life on Earth, 2) The Possibility of Life in the Solar System, and 3) The Possibility of Life beyond the Solar System. For each of the above units, the course objectives for students to achieve during the semester are: Knowledge & Comprehension : Define vocabulary. List facts and observational data that enable you to participate in scientific discussions of the potential for life beyond Earth.
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