FS 001:
Cosmic Explosions

Caltech Freshman Seminar FS 001, Fall Term 2011

Check out the FS 001 Blog!

Instructor: Christian Ott, office hours: Monday 5:00-6:00 pm, Cahill 337


The goal of this course is to introduce the physics and astrophysics of cosmic explosions from both a theoretical and observational point of view. Caltech's historical role in the discovery of such explosions and their underlying physics will be highlighted. In addition, career pathways and demographic/sociological aspects in Astronomy will be discussed.

The class meetings will be informal and interactive and the level of the class will be generally accessible for Freshmen from all backgrounds. There will be a field trip to Mt. Wilson observatory, a tour of the Caltech Center for Advanced Computing research machine room, and a visit to the Caltech 40-m prototype LIGO interferometer.

Location:Cahill 319 (TAPIR Interaction Room)
Day, time, duration: Wednesdays 1:00-2:55pm
First class meeting:09/28/2011
Impact:2 hours of class meeting per week, ~4 hours of reading/preparation/homework/term work per week.
Note:Pass/Fail class. There will be no exams. Passing grade is contingent upon (1) attendance at all class meetings and field trips, (2) completion of reading assignments, and (3) completion of the term project.
(Exceptions can be made in justified cases.)

Class Format:

We will meet once a week in an informal setting in the TAPIR interaction room Cahill 319. Regular attendance is crucial and the class work will consist of participation in class discussions, reading assignments, and a final project. There will be no exams.

Preliminary Syllabus: Check back for updates!

09/28Intro and Planing  
10/05Core-Collapse Supernovae and Neutrinossee blogTour of CACR machine room.
10/12Studying Supernovae with Electromagnetic Waves Prof. Arnett visiting
10/19SGRs and Gravitational Waves Class hosted by Dr. Peter Kalmus, visit to 40-m LIGO prototype
10/26Short Gamma-Ray Bursts Class hosted by Jeff Kaplan
11/02Long Gamma-Ray Bursts  
11/09The Physics of Thermonuclear Explosions Dr. Tony Piro lecturing. Surprise field trip (on campus).
11/16The Palomar Transient Factory / Careers and Minority/Women issues in Astronomy Dr. Mansi Kasliwal and Prof. John Johnson participating
11/23Day before thanksgiving -- no class  
11/30Last class meeting: Term project presenations  

Last change: 09/27/2011, CDO