Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Mary E. Putman, 1318 Pupin; 854-6831; email@example.com
Departmental Office: 1328 Pupin; 854-3278
Adjunct Associate Professor
Astronomy is, at once, the oldest science and one of the most vibrant fields of modern research. Its goal is to construct testable, quantitative, coherent models of the universe (the UNIty of the diVERSE) and its contents-galaxies, stars, and planets. The department offers two majors, both of which require a solid grounding in the mathematics and physics necessary for the pursuit of the discipline.
The astrophysics major is designed as preparation for graduate study and consists of a significant fraction of a standard physics major sequence; a year-long introduction to astrophysics (typically taken in the sophomore year, but open to first-year students with an adequate preparation in calculus and physics); and two required courses covering advanced topics in astronomy. Research, in the form of summer internships and/or term-time independent projects, which can lead to a senior thesis, is strongly encouraged. Research, in the form of summer internships and/or term-time independent projects, which can lead to a thesis, is strongly encouraged. For a research thesis, students should enroll in the parallel, two-semester sequence ASTR C3997-C3998, preferably in their senior year. The research project is begun in the fall, and it is completed and written into a thesis in the spring semester. ASTR C3997 and ASTR C3998 cannot be repeated for credit.
The astronomy major also provides a basis for further study in the field, but it is designed to be more compatible with liberal arts students who may pursue other careers and for students wishing to combine astronomy with related sciences other than physics, such as chemistry or geology. It requires only two physics courses beyond the introductory sequence and can be completed easily if begun in the sophomore year.
For introductory astronomy courses, the Department offers numerous 1000 level courses with no prerequisites and the calculus-based ASTR C2001- C2002 Introduction to Astrophysics I and II sequence that is recommended for astronomy majors and concentrators and is required for astrophysics majors. Each semester, there are at least two 3000 level courses taught. ASTR C3601 General Relativity, Black Holes, and Cosmology, ASTR C3602 Physical Cosmology, and ASTR C3646 Observational Astronomy are usually given in alternate years and other 3000 level courses are taught in various semesters. ASTR C3996 Current Research in Astrophysics is a one point course offered in the fall that is designed to introduce majors to research methods and topics. It requires students to attend the department colloquia and a seminar designed to help students understand the colloquium topic. The 3000 level courses need not be taken in any particular order.