Are we alone? The Hunt for Extra-Solar Planets
Course Director †††††† P.A. Delaney
Phone:††††††††††††††††††††††† 736-2100 ext. 22035
The First Year University Seminar course offer students in a small group setting the opportunity to learn about an area of science and the way science is performed.† The course emphasizes communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as developing the process of critical thinking and analysis.† Research is at the heart of science.† An appreciation of a scientistís methods and passion for a given discipline should enhance the students understanding of science and the scientific method.† To be aware of the resources available to the student in a university setting is also a part of this type of course.
In this course, one of the most exciting aspects of modern astronomy will be studied.† The discovery in recent years of planets beyond our solar system, extra-solar planets, had long been expected.† However, the search for these planets has been difficult and the course will initially focus on the astronomy needed to appreciate and understand the search techniques.† The implications of the existence of these planets on the possibility of extra-terrestrial life will then follow.† To engage these topics though, an appreciation of the scientific method, indeed how science is done, must occur.
Throughout the course, take full advantage of the people and resources around you to enhance your learning skills for all your university studies.† Please note that this course deals with Astronomy and astronomical topics and you will meet astronomers!† If you are expecting Chemistry or English literature, you are in the wrong course!
Important Dates and information:
The last day to DROP a course without a grade being
submitted for Term Y is
Students who feel that there are extenuating circumstances, which may interfere with the successful completion of the exam or other course requirements are encouraged to discuss the matter with the Course Director as soon as possible.
Students with physical, learning or psychiatric disabilities who require reasonable accommodations in teaching style or evaluation methods should discuss this with the Course Director early in the term so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
The class will meet
weekly throughout the year on Wednesday afternoons in
Class topics will include (but will not be limited to)
The course assessment will be as follows:
Element††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Weight (%)
Term 1 Essay/project (Due December 1)† ††††††††††† 12.5
Term 2 Essay/project (Due March 30)†††††† ††††††††††† 12.5
Term 1 class presentation† (November 17, 24)†††† 5
Term 2 class presentation † (March 16, 23)†††††††††† 5
Term 1 in-class mid-term quiz †(October 20)†††††††† 10
Term 2 in-class mid-term quiz† (February 9)††††††††† 10
Term 1 in-class end-of-term quiz ††† (December 1)17.5
Term 2 in-class end-of-term quiz† (March 30)††††††† 17.5
(includes Fermi questions, etc.) †††††††††††††††† 10
More detail will be given in class concerning the above assessment elements.† However, as can be seem. a varioety of communication skills will be strengthened during this course.† Most will involve individual work but some group relatred exercises will occur.†
The following texts contain useful information in support of this course.† All can be found in the Steacie Science Library.
∑ Astronomy: A Physical Perspective, M.L. Kutner (Harper & Row)
∑ The Universe and beyond, Terence Dickinson
∑ Sky and Telescope magazine
∑ SkyNews magazine
∑ Scientific American magazine
∑ A Beginner's Guide to Scientific Method, Stephen S. Carey (Nelson Publishing)