Astrophysics

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Astrophysics
Science Course
Course CodeASTR
Year Opened1982
Sites OfferedJHU, LAN, SAR
Previously OfferedCLN, HKG, LOU, TEC, UNI
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Course Description

Astrophysics covers an introductory astronomy textbook, from solar system motions, through stellar evolution and galaxies, to relativity and cosmology. It also involves hands-on experience with equipment during Study Hall.

The course used to include a trip to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

For the Baltimore campus in 11.1 both field trips were canceled

Class History

Lancaster

Astronomy at Lancaster has been taught by Jason St. Pierre for the past few years. He is "really honkin'" fantastic (and is rumored to play the King in the RA circle during American Pie). Remember, former LAN Astro students: Gravity works!

ASTR.LAN.09.1 was TA'd by Lauren Weiss.

ASTR.B.LAN 16.1 (otherwise known as Astrology B or Astroloby G) was instructed by Mohammad Shahabuddin and TA'd by our savior Henry Cornell. Class consisted of photons being "like large birds who just kinda flap around and run into stuff," Ratboy Genius and the quest to save Summer Solstice Baby from the clutches of evil King Little John, vigorous paper eating, $110 bets on whether TA Henry had watched Cowboy Bebop, unnecessarily gendered straight bats, Doppler sportsball (which quickly resulted in the wreckage of scientific equipment), Moomin Valley, "yiffersnappers," people floating nicely into black holes, BBC Carl Sagan, and theories that TA Henry was the user behind the twitter account @dril. The instructor was soon denounced to just be some guy who is always giving lectures because it was agreed by the class that Henry was "our real teacher," as he knew our names by the end of the session. While the course was difficult to many students and it was hard to pay attention because of the droning nature of the instructor's voice during lectures, the class became good friends with one another and suffered together to make the class worth it.

ASTR.B.LAN 17.2 included the award-winning beach ball Pat along with a large amount of air spent attempting to save him after a game of S**t ball gone wrong. The majority of breaks were spent saving Pat and using duct tape to patch him. This led to chants on Harvard Green along the lines of “SAVE PAT! SAVE PAT!” or coming up with campaign slogans such as “Do you want happy blue balls?” or “Make big balls happy again”. The course was amazing, there were a multitude of field trips and a people who worked well together. Indoor breaks consisted of playing Super Smash Flash II on computers. Kirby was the best.

ASTR.A.LAN 18.1 was instructed by Maria Niland and TA'd by Henry Cornell.

ASTR.B.LAN.18.2 was instructed by Shawn Lemke and TA'd by Andrew. There was a beautiful gender divide of nine boys and nine girls but within the first few days we were a homogenous mess of hormonal teens reigned only by the electromagnetic spectrum song, Aidan's questionable music taste, Lemke's physics puns, and our love for Andrew. Aside from actual astrophysics, we learned that:

  • Yeet can and should be used as a verb
  • Bose is the plural of bees
  • DESTINY IS CALLING ME
  • Cole is the best pineapple
  • Male lactation should always be explained in terms of Harry Potter
  • The electromagnetic spectrum can lead to uncontrollable sobbing
  • 3E is not hungry
  • It's a lamb, duh
  • Frisbees are dangerous weapons, especially when wielded by Aanya
  • Balls are to be stolen, then fondled
  • Bathrooms are for High School Musical singalongs
  • Bathrooms are also not soundproof
  • Bathrooms also have terrible plumbing systems
  • Bathrooms in general

In summary, it was the best class ever.

Baltimore

Both Astrophysics classes at Baltimore in 18.2 met Marshall Perrin, who worked with the Hubble telescope and is working on the James Webb Space Telescope. He went to CTY Lancaster '95-'98.

ASTR.A.JHU.18.2 was instructed by Rutu Das and TA'd by Jason Hathaway (not the Canadian race car-driving dude). There were 4 girls and 14 boys. Class members were either 12 or 13 years old; almost all had never been to CTY before and scorned tradition—only one student participated in traditions. Requests to visit the vending machine during breaks were constant. Anyone who had a smartphone was addicted to it, and the most commonly played video game was Disco Zoo.

On the first day, it was discovered that there was a widespread black hole obsession within the class.

Frankie was known for asking too many questions. While he was the one to ask the most questions, almost all the boys frequently asked questions, and multiple occasions, hands were raised before the lecture even started. (The class often got off-topic.) Frankie also made an awesome impression of Fritz Zwicky's facial expression in the photo he chose for his presentation on him.

Ethan once ate a plate of bread and only bread for lunch until Rutu made him get other food and proceeded to lecture those who were listening on the importance of a balanced plate.

Technological problems were frequent and had awful timing; a JHU tech guy often had to come in during class to work with the projector.

The most interesting class project was writing a sci-fi story using at least three astrophysics concepts learned during the course. Two of these had the entire class unable to speak coherently due to explosive giggling. The most frustrating class project was building a Flinn Scientific telescope that was impossible to put together and was confusing to use.

ASTR.B.JHU.18.2 was taught by a teacher who could not speak English fluently (likely because all Astrophysics instructors and TAs were hired late), causing the class to learn little. The teacher often responded to questions with unhelpful answers. A prime example was when one student asked what a brown dwarf was, and the teacher responded by incoherently explaining what red and blue dwarfs were. This was typical behavior for the three weeks.

Students were often left behind/forgotten outside on breaks or at various places. When visiting a telescope and a museum attached to it, the class had to stay in the five-story building for an extra hour due to lightning. Students decided to play Hide and Seek in the entire building, and the teacher lay on the ground to sleep. Many students were almost left behind.

During the car-jacker situation on campus, the TA lied to the students when they were receiving word of the situation from their friends in other classes. The TA told the students that nothing was happening, resulting in students being angry about not getting the full story.

The teacher ended the session by telling the whole class, "I hope you all can go home and be happy again."

ASTR.B.JHU.19.1 was taught by Maria Niland and TA'd by Michael. We went on a few field trips, one to the space telescope science institute where most of us took a nap, to an actual lab where we got to learn about the dragonfly mission, and we had one other field trip that got canceled so we got a telescope on the lawn. The class overall was one of the best experiences.

we played a lot of foursquare, watched tennis in the fresh food cafe, and one of the days went to the cafe next to our building. Our class was pretty chill, it was 5 girls and like 15 guys. Most people slept during class and we were allowed to snack during our sessions.

All in all one of the best classes ever but it was a lot of work.

Saratoga

ASTR.SAR.18.2 was instructed by Aziz "Saint" Kayihan and TA'd by Erin Maloney. The class had ten boys and eight girls, including both empresses, 19.2's emperor, and the TAPS lord. The classroom was lovingly named George (Uranus was named George) and was very cold. Before entering George, we always sat down in the hallway, and struggled to get back up.

Aziz was a funny, short Turkish guy with a man bun who had a love for Kurzgesagt and astronomy. He played in multiple Turkish movies about space. He has a hard time hearing people and says "anyhow" too much (over fifty times).

Erin was a TA of many rules, including no moving in chairs, no talking in the halls, and no kinetic sand on the way in.

Siena

Astronomy at Siena is very Carl Sagan-centric, with "Cosmos" videos almost every day, and various quotes repeated over and over, such as...

  • "In order to make apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
  • "Crumbly, but good."
  • "He had a... zest for experimentation."
  • "Our planet, our society, everything around us is star stuff.

External Links

Carl Sagan's site