Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics: Lecture 2 Transcript
January 18, 2007
Professor Charles Bailyn:
Welcome back to more of Astronomy 160. The syllabus, if you haven't got it yet,
is on the classes server. We have extra copies but I have to say I don't know where they are, and in any case,
everything that you need to know is on the classes server and there's actually more than is on the printed
syllabus there anywhere.
Let me say a couple things; we're going to stick to the rule that there should be no science majors taking this
class. And from the looks of the enrollment, there's going to be no problem for juniors and seniors. I think
we've got plenty of sections to accommodate everyone in here, provided you're not a science major. But the
way it's going to work in terms of signing up for the class, I think, as I understand it, is as follows: You need
a section, sections are mandatory for this course. So, you have to go through the online section sign up
process. That'll start on Monday but it'll only start for freshman and sophomores on Monday. Juniors and
seniors will be able to sign up for the course and sign for sections on Tuesday, and so please do that. Sections
will start--sections are going to be on Mondays, so they obviously won't start next week they'll start the
following week. I have no doubt looking around the room that we're going to be able to accommodate juniors
and seniors if they want to take the class.
All right, other things, yes, the first problem set is assigned as of today. When I get back to my office I'll stick
that on the classes server as well, and you can pick it up from there. It's due one week from today. The way I
like to do this, I like to have problem sets due at the start of class because it bugs me to look out and watch
people copying each other's problem sets. So, you have to hand it in at the beginning of class otherwise it's
late. On the classes server, there's a whole little thing about lateness policy which you ought to read. And also
something--let me make a couple general remarks about problem sets. The purpose of problem sets is
different from the purpose of a take-home test. This is not something where the major purpose is to evaluate
how much you know. The point of problem sets is to get you to actually do those particular problems because
that's how one learns stuff in this kind of subject matter. It's kind of like doing the reading; if you don't do it,
you're just going to have trouble. And so, the reason it's a substantial fraction of your grade is just to make
sure that you do it.
So, this has implications for working in groups. Working in groups is strongly encouraged. Please do that. It's
a very good thing, make friends with the other people in the class, work together, talk to each other, start
early, and make use of each other's intelligence. However, at the same time, we want to make sure that you
actually do things. So, we want the work you hand in to be your own. This sounds contradictory. On the one
hand, I'm tell you to work in groups; on the other hand, I'm telling you, you have to hand in your own work.