THE ACCIDENTAL UNIVERSE
Astro 1905 - Freshman Seminar - Fall 2011
Thursdays 2:30-4:25pm Physics Room B49
Instructor - Prof. Liliya Williams,
353 Physics, 624-1084, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: T, Th 10:30-11:30am, or by appointment
GOALS: In this course you will
Become better acquainted with other students, a faculty member, and the U
Consider the various coincidences that made intelligent life in the Universe possible
Learn about the frontiers of modern Cosmology
Attend all classes
Do assigned readings, post weekly questions/commentaries/reflections on WebVista, and discuss them in class
Participate actively in discussions, including weekly "fascinating facts" (on 3x5 cards)
Write one 500 word reflective essay on the course (due Dec 8th)
Check-in time (10 min)
Fascinating facts (20 min)
Discussions of readings/questions, exercises (30 min)
Break (5 min)
Discussions of readings/questions, exercises (50 min)
TEXT and RESOURCES:
The Goldilocks Enigma, by Paul Davies -- available in Book Store
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Other material will be assigned on the web or on library reserve
NOTE: ALL OF THE FOLLOWING IS SUBJECT TO REVISION!
Details of requirements:
Bring an interesting something you've learned recently, to share/discuss in class.
Tentative readings are shown above, in the table. Changes, if any, will be announced in class.
Each week provide an approximately 1/3-1/2 page of thoughtful commentary, questions, reflection,
etc. on the reading material, and the
material we covered in class the previous week. Post entries at WebVista
http://myu.umn.edu (AST 1905 LECT 002) before 12noon on Wednesday before Thursday class.
Final reflective essays:
These should be 450-550 words long, and be original and thoughtful reflections
on the content and experience of the course. They should be developed around a
coherent theme. You will be graded on content, grammar, and presentation.
You can submit in electronically in plain text or Word 2003 (.doc); do NOT use Word 2007 (.docx).
Or submit a hardcopy.
Weekly commentaries/questions/reflections 25%
Class Participation 25%
Final Essay 25%
Any special needs should be discussed with the professor before the 2nd week of class
You are responsible for being familiar with the academic standards and policies of your college
Student Mental Health Services:
As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers
to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety,
alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or
lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events
may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student’s
ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota
services are available to assist you with addressing these and other
concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad
range of confidential mental health services available on campus via
the Student Mental Health Website at http://www.mentalhealth.umn.edu
In this class, our use of technology will sometimes make students' names and U of M Internet IDs
visible within the course website, but only to other students in the same class. Since we are
using a secure, password-protected course website, this will not increase the risk of identity
theft or spamming for anyone in the class. If you have concerns about the visibility of your
Internet ID, please contact me for further information.