Astronomy & Cosmologies, Spring 2015

| Home | Schedule | Texts | Syllabus| | Covenant | Moodle| Science Seminar 2015 |
| Evergreen Library | Math Center | Writing Center | CAL | Faculty |

Welcome to the Astro & Cosmo 2015 homepage. This interdisciplinary program will combine science and humanities. We will learn introductory astronomy through lectures, discussions, and interactive workshops. We will observe the sky using naked eyes, binoculars, and telescopes, and with virtual astronomy programs.  From sacred stories to modern astrophysics, we will explore cosmological concepts from perspectives such as science, literature, mythology, philosophy, and history.
Assignments will include: astronomy workshops; weekly observing sessions; interactive online work; reading, analysis, and discussion of texts; writing essays and peer responses; telling cosmological stories; and mini-research projects, shared with classmates and schoolkids. We will study roles of science and of storytelling in human searches for understanding and meaning.

Catalog Program Description . For daily details, see our Moodle site (available to registered students who attend week 1).

UPDATE: Continuing First-year students are welcome to register for Astronomy & Cosmologies in spring 2015. Come to the Academic Fair to get a faculty signature. Class Standing: FR-SR.
Prerequisites: Facility with algebra.. Good reading, writing and thinking skills. Willingness to work in teams and to use computers for web-based assignments and information. There is no prerequisite in physics.

OPTIONAL field trip to clear skies may be organized by students at the end of quarter, 6-9 June.

The first day of class is Monday 30 March 2015 at 6:00 pm in Sem2 A2109. Read Finkel's "Learning Through Writing Together" and bring it to class with Singh's Big Bang. Waitlisted students must attend the first class if you want to get in. Registered students who miss the first class may be dropped from the program, to make room for students who show up.

ACTIVITIES (check Moodle for details)
do / DUE
Weekend R&R! Individuals read, write, do homework and independent study. Pre-seminar: discuss readings, questions, ideas, post PIQs. Meet teammates for homework, group projects, ... Schedule time with TA, writing or math tutor.
6:00-9:00 pm in Sem2 A2109: Science Seminar for everyone - week 1
Bring Seminar texts
TUESDAY 6:00 -10 pm in the CAL: Astronomy & Cosmologies Bring Astronomy texts
Read, write, meet team. Groups A & B
Post online assignments
THURSDAY 6:00 -10 pm in the CAL: Astronomy & Cosmologies (+SciSem workshop 6-8 wk 1) Bring texts & equipment: we'll OBSERVE the SKY at dark, if it's clear, and stay after class
Friday & Saturday
No class - how about a star party with friends and classmates?
Post online assignments, e.g. your weekly reflection / essay

TEXTBOOKS & Equipment: Bring your own copy of each text to class each day. Evergreen's College Bookstore should have everything you need.

Discovering the Universe, by Comins, 9th Ed. (or 10th Ed, MacMillan) 978-1-4292-5520-2 

Dickerson, Terence. NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe(newest Edition). XX: Firefly Books. 2006.  ISBN: 9781554071470 

Universe dickerson

Big Bang:  The Origin of the Universe, by Simon Singh (Harper Perennial 2005) 978-0007162215

Staal, Julius, The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars, Blacksburg, VA: McDonald Woodward, 1988. ISBN: 9780871088581  

BB stahl

Bookmark Sky & Telescope and/or access it electronically through the Evergreen Library.

Additional seminar readings will be made available free online to students in class.

s&t lab
EQUIPMENT - get the Kit from the Greener store and your own Binoculars + Tripod

Bookstore kit: 40-50° Planisphere, red Flashlight (to hang around your neck on a string), unlined Notebook (for observing), and Staedler eraser.

Also buy a good #2 or HD pencil, your choice.

planisphere redLED

Binoculars (10x 42 or 10x50), with tripod and tripod mount. Buy or borrow these, and you will be better equipped than Galileo.

Lightweight toolbox for your observing gear is recommended - from hardware store. Bonus if you can sit on it.


Approx. workload for 16 credits:
* participation in classes/workshops/seminars - 4 cr
* team meetings + PIQs - 2 cr
* essays + responses - 3 cr
* completion of astronomy quizzes- 2 cr
* observing sessions - 2 cr
* your team research project - 3 cr

Likely credit equivalencies:

4 cr: Introductory Astronomy, with labs and field studies
4 cr: Introductory Algebra-based Physics
3 cr: Astronomy research project
3 cr: History and Philosophy of Science, or Science Education, or Writing: personal, academic, and expository essays.
2 cr: Cosmology: science, literature, mythology, and cultural studies of the universe

Faculty Contacts:
Dr. E.J. Zita Zita(at)
Office hours: by appointment
webpage updated: 2 April 2015