ASTROPHYSICS (Physics 418)   Course Expectations  2006/2007


Universe, 7th edition  by  Freedman and Kaufmann

Astrophysics 2006 a set of data tables, pictures, graphs, and other good stuff

Physics, by Walker  (You won't get your own, but there are 100+ out there; go find them)


taught by John Kolena    email:   office: Bryan 443       
phone: (919)416-2767

The pace of the class will be brisk, partly because I will assume that you already
know a good deal of astrophysics (because you have done the assigned daily
readings and have studied the worked examples suggested).

We will often refer to the text for pictures and graphs virtually every class day,
so please bring your text to class each day.

You are required to have two lab journals.  We might be taking lab data on any day,
or we might be discussing lab work already in your journals, so you need to have
your journals with you every day, except of course when they have been handed
in for grading.

I also expect you to have your working (!) graphing calculator with you every day.




The course syllabus is a rough guide to the order of the topics that we will
study this trimester. 
  Refer to it often; you are allowed to read ahead! 

The course web site address is

It is your responsibility to make sure that you know what is expected of you for
the next class in the way of textbook reading, homework, and   labwork
Assignments will be available on the web. Please get into the habit of checking
the web site daily.  I will try to have any relevant messages and assignments
posted by 6 pm.

I cannot emphasize enough how important reading the relevant text sections
and studying the worked examples in advance of my talking about them are to
your success in this class. Reading an astrophysics book or studying worked
examples is quite unlike reading a novel or a social studies text.
More about this sometime in class.





Assigned written homework problems (many of which will be next-day or in
2 days) will sometimes be brought to class and sometimes due by 5 pm in the
black box on the table outside my office,   Bryan 443.  

After completing the assigned reading each night, you should check out some
of the Review Questions in the back of the text.    If you cannot answer them
pretty immediately, it means that you need to re-read the appropriate sections
and/or re-study the worked examples more carefully.

    You should be solving at least as many problems on your own as I assign.

As we dig deeper into subject, you should also be working extra problems of
the from the text. Keep all these extra worked problems organized in your
notebook; they may be traded in for extra class commitment or class presentations.

Homework MUST be stapled if more than one page. There is a stapler mounted on
the 4th floor Bryan wall across from room 441.

Often lab instructions will be available a day or more before we actually do lab. 
Please read them beforehand.  Links to the instructions will be on the class website. 
Lab expectations are available in the Physics 352/354 Lab Guide handout.


Physics teachers and senior tutors will be available most every M  -  Th for at
least an hour. Use this opportunity!  Check the posted tutorial schedule on
the physics hallway.


My teaching blocks are CDG this trimester.  You are welcome to visit me in my
office (Bryan 443) during your free periods, to talk about astrophysics or anything
else. I will particularly try to be available in the afternoons  after school.


You will receive a copy of the  Physics Department Honesty Policy;
it is also posted in the classroom.

Of course, I expect you to be on time for class.  "Tardy" means not being in your
seat at the time when class is scheduled to begin.  Because Physics classrooms
have radio-controlled, accurate clocks, it will be easy for everyone to know
whether you are Tardy or not.  You will be considered Tardy even if you arrive
on time, but have to return to your room because you are inappropriately
dressed, do not have your calculator, or do not have your lab materials
(lab book, prelab, ...)  on days when lab is scheduled.

The Physics Department Tardy Policy  addresses the consequences of being Tardy. 
The Tardy Policy is also posted in physics classrooms.  In addition each of you will
receive a copy to read, sign, and return during the first week of classes.

Homework is due on the date and time assigned.  Homework that is up to one day
late will be accepted for a maximum grade of 50%. Homework that is more one
day late will not be accepted.  Note that major assignments are due on the day
they are due regardless of last-minute illness!  Contact me before the due date
in case of sustained, major illness or other unavoidable conflicts.

If you miss 2 of any combination of assignments (homework, lab, class
presentation), you will report to Saturday morning Restricted Study (new this
year).  Any additional miss after the first 2 missed assignments will result in
additional Saturday assignments.













Even though we will not have formal tests in this class, you will be tested every
day in a variety of ways; examples of such are in the following (non-exhaustive)

  • coming to class and turning in your work on time
  • showing enthusiasm in your learning
  • working problems beyond the ones required for turn-in
  • taking useful notes
  • asking questions of your own and answering mine in class
  • challenging explanations or examples that leave you confused
  • convincing me that you did the assigned daily reading
  • being prepared for and taking leadership in labs
  • following verbal and written instructions, especially in lab
  • helping your classmates where appropriate
  • re-doing major assignments that do not earn at least a grade of C+
  • taking initiative in getting missed notes & assignments from a classmate
    (or the web) after an absence
  • taking initiative in completing and turning in assignments (homework and
    lab) before a planned absence or asap after an unplanned one (including
    assignments due in class)
  • getting extra help from me outside of class and at tutorial when appropriate
  • posting problem solutions when the option arises
  • presenting 2 problems to the whole class each trimester

Your class commitment grade is my assessment of how committed you are to making
this class a successful learning experience not only for yourself, but also for the rest of
the class. You are encouraged to talk with me periodically during the year about your
class commitment grade.


Pre-final-exam Trimester grades will be based on

20% Class Commitment
15% JITs (weekly "quizzes" submitted before class via the web)
30% Homework assignments
35% Lab and Project work

In determining the final trimester grade, a final exam or project will count 15% - 25%.

The following grading scale applies to all work in this class

A: 80 -- 100
B: 70 -- 79.99etc
C: 60 -- 69.99etc
D: below 60