Project - Physics 160: Stellar Astrophysics Term Paper Guidelines As 35% of your overall grade, you will complete an

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Unformatted text preview: Physics 160: Stellar Astrophysics Term Paper Guidelines As 35% of your overall grade, you will complete an independent term paper related to the material covered in this course. The intention of this paper is to give you an opportunity to explore in detail some aspect of stellar astrophysics that you find particularly interesting, but which we do not have sufficient time to delve into in class. Examples include, but are not limited to: • Numerical models of star formation; • modern stellar atmosphere models; • turbulence, magnetic fields or feedback in star formation; • binary star properties (e.g., frequency, mass ratio distribution, separation distribution); • an unusual class of star (e.g., FU Orionis stars, SW Sextans stars, Herbig Ae/Be stars, Cepheids) • color magnitude diagrams of Galactic globular clusters and what they tell us about ages and metallicities; • the distributions of stars within 20 pc of the Sun; • the coldest stars and brown dwarfs; • hypervelocity stars; • pulsars (e.g., millisecond pulsars, double pulsars and GR); • asteroseismology and stellar properties (e.g., with Kepler data); • the largest stars in the Galaxy; • the radius ­mass relationship; • starquakes on neutron stars; • strange (quark) stars; • orbital periods of cataclysmic variable systems; • models and mechanism of supernovae explosions; • Solar flares and coronal mass ejections; • the use of adaptive optics in studying stars; • focus on a particular star forming region or clusters (e.g., Orion, Pleiades); • magnetic fields around other stars; • gamma ray bursts or X ­ray flashes; • the properties of planets around stars; • planet formation theories; etc. Page 1 of 5 The term project consists of three parts (total of 35%): (1) (5%) A proposal, including abstract describing the subject of the paper and its relevance to the course, a rough outline of the paper, and a list of references. This should take no more than 2 pages. This is due in lecture on Thursday, November 10th. Either a paper copy or a text or PDF file sent by this time is acceptable (no Word or other formats please). (2) (20%) A completed term paper, 5 ­10 pages in length including figures and references. This is due in lecture on Thursday, December 1st. Either a paper copy or a PDF file sent by this time (4pm) is acceptable (no Word, Open Office, or other formats please). (3) (10%) A 5 ­7 minute presentation of your paper to be made during our “final exam” on Thursday December 8th from 3 6pm in WLH 2204. Your presentation should be a computer ­style presentation, done in PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF or html (although a “chalkboard talk” is also OK). It is strongly suggested that you prepare and practice your presentation (in front of friends!) well in advance of the final to make sure it is clear and fits within the 5 minute time frame. Presentation files should be sent to me no later than Wednesday December 7th. Papers will be graded according to accuracy, depth of research and clarity of writing. Length will not get you extra points (it may actually cause the opposite). Your paper and presentation should be consistent with ~20 30 hours of total effort (remember, this is nearly the equivalent of all of your homework!) Please remember that academic integrity and prevention of plagiarism are taken very seriously at UCSD. Students who plagiarize or turn in someone else’s work will receive a failing grade for the course, and can be suspended or even expelled from the University. The S&H library provides an excellent brochure for tips on preventing inadvertent plagiarism: ­PP ­Brochure ­09Apr10.pdf Page 2 of 5 FAQ: How do I come up with an idea for my paper? First, decide what material we have covered (or will cover) in the class was most interesting to you. Atmospheres? Planet formation? Supernovae? Then look through the chapter on that topic and try to identify a specific question, like “How do you make compute a stellar atmosphere?” or “How are very massive stars formed?” or “How does a pulsar work?”. Then start identifying references around that question (see next question). Another method is to attend some of the talks given as part of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences Seminar Seris (Wednesdays at 4pm in SERF 280), which are often related to stars. A schedule of these talks is given at You can also attend the talks given through the UCSD Astrophysics Club (see their Facebook page for a schedule). Alternately, you can search for online talks (e.g., through YouTube or UTunes) centered on a topic related to stars. What are some sources for research materials? A good place to start is the Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ARA&A): Copies of this journal are available in the CASS library on the 3rd floor of the SERF building; you can also search from specific topics using the NASA ADS site: A very long list of all ARA&A articles ever written can be found from this link: You can also hunt around the various press releases put out by NASA, the American Astronomical Society or that show up in the news (e.g., the New York Times, BBC, etc.). Often the original citation will appear in the press release – this is a good place to start as well. Once you find the article on your topic, read through and find references specifically related to the subject of your paper. Try to include at least 3 primary references directly from the literature in your research (which means you will need to read these papers!). Page 3 of 5 Are figures allowed? Yes, but any graphics you obtain from another source must be properly attributed (e.g., “from Smith et al. 2010, ApJ, 999, 9999” or “from the NASA JPL site, ­ 357”). You are encouraged of course to make your own graphics wherever you can. Can I get help from you or someone else in the class on this? As an “independent” paper, you must do the research yourself, but you are encouraged to ask me or others in the class how to find resources or citations for your research, or for clarification on points that you might find unclear. You can even write the to the author of the paper if you want! Can I write about some research I’m doing? Absolutely, but it must be specifically related to stellar astrophysics. How do I include references? Look at your primary references for guidance, but in general journal references should include the authors (at least the first three), title of paper, year, journal, volume number and page numbers. For example: Harrison, T. E., McNamara, B. J., Bornak, J., et al. “Spitzer Observations of GX17+2: Confirmation of a Periodic Synchrotron Source,” 2011, ApJ, 736, 54 If you cite material from the web, include the page title, URL and date you retrieved the information: “Electron” from Wikipedia,, retrieved 11 November 2011 How many slides should be in my presentation? A good rule of thumb is that you should have about half as many slides as minutes for your presentation. This means that 5 ­7 minutes translates into only 3 ­4 slides! (not including a title slide). So you need to be efficient. A good outline for you slides might be: Page 4 of 5 • Title slide (1 slide) – name and title of your talk • Context slide (1 slide): describe the overaching topic of your project and its relevance to stellar astrophysics. For example, if you paper is on Type Ia supernovae and dark energy, your first slide should explain what supernovae are and how they are related to stellar death, and maybe summarize the various types of supernovae • Your project (1 ­2 slide): here you explain one or two points that are specific to the focus of your paper. In the example above, here you might talk about why Type 1a supernovae are used for distance measurements, and how these distance measurements are used to detect dark energy. You might also include a short animation related to your project. • Summary slide (1 slide): summarize the main results of your paper, and what open questions remain on the topic, if any. Remember, it is important to PRACTICE your talk ahead of time so you can go through it efficiently and cut out any extra material that doesn’t fit in 5 ­7 minutes. Page 5 of 5 ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/26/2012 for the course PHYS 160 taught by Professor Norman,m during the Fall '08 term at UCSD.

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