A. John Mallinckrodt   Professor of Physics, Cal Poly Pomona
Phy303
Physics 303 is an upper division general education synthesis course in cosmology.
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Spring Quarter, 2006

  • CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Review of material for the final exam
    (See also: Review of material for the midterm exam)

    Midterm Solutions

    Guidelines for the Brief Report and the Research Paper
    (revised and extended, May 17)

  • Course Syllabus
  • MasteringAstronomy website (Online course assignments to accompany The Cosmic Perspective, 4th Ed., by Bennett et al)
  • Physics 2000
    A GREAT website to spend time at. Educational AND entertaining.
  • Assignments (online activities indicated in blue)

    Class Date

    Assignments to be completed at least 15 minutes before the start of class
    (and reminders of readings and in-class activities from the course syllabus)

    Monday
    Mar. 27
    • No pre-class assignment!
    • Roll call, review of syllabus, course introduction, "Cosmos" video
    Wednesday
    Mar. 29
    • Read Ch. 1 and Chapter 2, Section 1
    • Enroll online at the course website. Use the Access Code that came with your text or purchase one online to register and then sign up for "Course ID" PHY303SPRING2006
    • If you are successful, take a look around the website and complete the assignment "Introduction to MasteringAstronomy"
      If you are not successful, see me for help.
    Monday
    Apr. 3
    Wednesday
    Apr. 5
    Monday
    Apr. 10
    • Read Chapter S4 and Chapter 14, Sections 1 and 2
    • Complete online Assignment 3
    Wednesday
    Apr. 12
    • Review Chapter S4 and Chapter 14, Sections 1 and 2
    • Complete online Assignment 4
    Monday
    Apr. 17
    Wednesday
    Apr. 19
    • Review Chapter 15
    Monday
    Apr. 24
    • Intended topic for brief report due at the start of class
    • Read Chapter 16 and Chapter 17, sections 1&2
    • Complete online Assignment 6
    Wednesday
    Apr. 26
    • MIDTERM EXAM (Through Chapter 15)
    Monday
    May 1
    • Read Chapter 17, sections 3&4 and Chapter S3
    • Complete online Assignment 7
    Wednesday
    May 3
    • Brief report due at the start of class
    • Read Chapter 18, section 1&2
    Monday
    May 8
    • Start thinking about the topic for your research paper
    • Read Chapter 18, sections 3&4 and Chapter 19, sections 1&2
    • Complete online Assignment 8
    Wednesday
    May 10
    • Read Chapter 19, sections 3&4
    • Complete online Assignment 9
    Monday
    May 15
    • Intended topic for research paper due at the start of class
    • Read Chapter 20 and Chapter 21, sections 1&2
    • Complete online Assignment 10
    Wednesday
    May 17
    Monday
    May 22
    Wednesday
    May 24
    Monday
    May 29
    • Academic Holiday
    Wednesday
    May 31
    • Research paper due at the start of class
    • Read Chapter 24
    • Complete online Assignment 14 by FRIDAY June 2, at noon
    Monday
    June 5
    • FINAL EXAM (3:50-5:50)
  • Suggestions for paper topics
    • The scientific method: How new ideas become "accepted theory"
    • Occam's razor
    • Newton's laws
    • Special relativity: New ideas about space and time.
    • The twin paradox
    • Relative velocities in relativity
    • Energy and matter: E=mc2
    • General relativity and gravity
    • Equivalence principle of gravity and acceleration
    • Black holes
    • Are the laws physics the same everywhere in the universe?
    • Certainty and uncertainty in quantum mechanics
    • The wave-particle duality in quantum mechanics
    • EPR (Einstein Podolsky Rosen) paradox
    • String theory
    • The Copenhagen and the Many Worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics
    • The rate of asteroid impacts, supernovae, gamma ray bursts, etc. and the implications for life on Earth
    • The fate of our sun and its relevance to life on earth
    • The Anthropic Principle: Is it science?
    • Time and distance scales in the universe
    • Using Cepheid variable stars as "standard candles" to determine distances to nearby galaxies
    • Using supernovas as "standard candles" to determine distances to distant galaxies
    • The possibility of extra terrestrial life in the universe
    • What lies beyond the observable universe?
    • Astrology: history, science, cultural beliefs and ramifications
    • Expansion and acceleration of the universe
    • Hubble's Law and the use of "standard candles"
    • The cosmological constant: Einstein's "greatest blunder"?
    • "Dark matter"
    • The difference between bosons and fermions
    • Evidence for the Big Bang and alternative scenarios
    • The large scale structure of the universe
    • The production and recycling of atomic nuclei
    • Evolution: Are there viable alternative scientific theories?
    • Hawking radiation
    • Quantum mechanical tunneling
    • Multiple universes
    • Climate change
  • Class Discussion List
    An email list that I will use to communicate with you as needed between class meetings and that you can use to broadcast questions or comments of any kind related to the course. For instance, I particularly encourage you to use the list for discussions of homework problems and questions about textbook readings. I will monitor the discussion and contribute myself when I feel it might be useful.

    Subscribe to the list using the list's subscription management web page.

    Once you have subscribed to the list, you can send messages to everyone else who has subscribed by addressing them to

        phy303@mailman.csupomona.edu
  • College of Science Emergency Procedures
    All students are responsible for being aware of these Emergency Procedures.
    Please take the time to familiarize yourself with them.

©2001 by A. John Mallinckrodt
ajm at csupomona.edu
http://www.csupomona.edu/~ajm

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The space for this page is provided by Cal Poly Pomona and is subject to its policies. Nevertheless, the opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent official policy of the University. I take full responsibility for the information presented and will appreciate being informed of errors or inaccuracies.

Last modified on 29 May, 2006