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Physics 102 Astronomy of the Planets. Dr. Tyler E. Nordgren. Question. Why did you sign up for this class? I have always wanted to learn about the stars and planets. I have always wanted to learn about my horoscope.

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  • Why did you sign up for this class?
    • I have always wanted to learn about the stars and planets.
    • I have always wanted to learn about my horoscope.
    • I am not comfortable with science but since I need the MS1 I heard good things about this class.
    • I am not comfortable with science but since I need the MS1 this looked easier than chemistry or bio.
    • None of the above.
the ms1 laf

Students completing an MS1 will demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the basic concepts and accepted theoretical principles in a particular scientific discipline;
  • knowledge of how a particular scientific discipline advances understanding of the physical world through its application of the scientific method;
  • the ability to apply the scientific method through the acquisition and analysis of data within a laboratory or field setting.
semester goals
Semester Goals
  • What is science? How does it work?
    • Why is science different from philosophy or religion?
    • Why is a scientific “theory” different from a conspiracy “theory?”
  • Learn about the Scientific Method through study of Astronomy:
    • Are there planets around other stars?
    • Is there life on Mars?
    • Planetary perils:
      • What is global warming?
      • What are the dangers of an asteroid hitting the Earth?

Final Grades:

“C Acceptable. The quality of work was acceptable meeting minimal course standards but was not exceptional.”

University of Redlands Catalog 2005-2007 pg 25.

  • A – Outstanding
  • B – Exceptional
  • C – Acceptable
  • D – Poor
  • F – Failing

University of Redlands Catalog 2005-2007 pp 25 – 26.

  • Class three days a week (MWF):
    • 1 hour and 20 minutes
    • Lectures available on website ahead of time
  • Labs as part of class
  • “Optional” Activities
    • Evenings and weekends
    • Check the syllabus and website for exact dates and times!
  • 9:30 am homework due
  • Short lecture
  • Concept questions – “clickers”
  • In-class discussions
  • Lab experiments
    • Some classes entirely lab experiments
  • New homework assigned.
  • Assigned every class.
  • Due 9:30 morning of every class.
  • Three or four questions.
  • Must include a topic of confusion.
  • Class tailored to homework.
  • Science is a process, not a body of knowledge!
  • Labs are integrated into the class schedule.
    • Included with discussion and lecture.
    • Classes entirely devoted to lab work.
    • Some “Optional” activities include lab work.
optional activities
“Optional” Activities
  • Five (5) optional activities.
  • Accentuate class material.
  • You are required to do three (3).
  • Extra credit for doing more.
  • Homework: 15%
  • In-class labs: 10%
  • “Optional” Activities: 10%
  • Class citizenship: 5%
  • Exams: 60%
    • 3 exams, lowest grade dropped
class rules
Class Rules
  • See hand-out and website.
  • You are adults and responsible for ALL rules.
  • A few in particular:
    • No late homework is accepted.
    • No admittance to lab once started.
    • No make-up exams.
    • Cheating will not be tolerated.
why should i believe
Why should I believe?
  • How do we decide what to believe is true?
    • Astrology.
    • Astronomy.
    • The Face on Mars.
    • Search for life on Mars.
    • Creationism (Intelligent Design).
    • The Big Bang.
  • Why should you believe one over any other?
Lots of things worth understanding are worth not understanding the first time you are exposed to them.

Find the courage to be confused.

homework 1
Homework #1
  • Due Fri 5-Sept: Read Tyson Ch. 2.

(denoted “Ty2” on Physics 102 lecture web page)

    • What must a scientific theory do?
      • Explain what is seen and tie together a wide range of ideas.
      • Explain what is seen and predict the results of future experiments.
      • Be based on observational data and unify disjointed sets of ideas.
      • Be based on known physical laws and be falsifiable.
      • All of the above.
    • Which of the following is a weakness of the scientific method?
      • A scientific theory is considered correct only as long as the results of new experiments continue to confirm it.
      • A scientific theory that has been widely accepted can still be called into question by the results of new experiments.
      • If one researcher claims a result that can not be reproduced by another researcher, then the first researcher’s results may not be accepted.
      • All of the above.
      • None of the above.
    • The difference between what we used to call Laws and what we now call Theories is:
      • A theory is a guess that becomes a law when it has survived centuries of repeated testing.
      • Nothing, we now realize that what used to be called laws, are still subject to being overturned.
      • Since 1900 no new theories have been sufficiently proved in order to meet the criteria of being a law.
      • All of the above.
      • None of the above.