Physics 55 Spring 2007
To encourage you
to explore astronomy beyond the class during this
semester, you can earn extra credit, up to 5% of the
total course grade, by doing a pre-arranged project. Here are
some suggestions for possible projects:
Possible Extra Credit Projects
If you are interested in such a project, please first
make an appointment to meet with me, to work out the
details of what you will do and how you will be graded.
- Keep an astronomy-related blog. This was done by all students in Fall 04;
this semester it will be an extra-credit project. For credit, I would
expect at least 12 entries of 150-300 words each, over a period of at
least 6 weeks. This is an excellent way to connect astronomy
with your particular field of study, interests or area of expertise.
- Attend a local astronomy club, local astronomy
event, or tour a local research facility like TUNL, TCO , or the
Planetarium and write a summary of your
- Try your hand at some simple astronomical
experiment such as following sunspots over a week with
our sunspot telescope, measuring the height of a crater
on the Moon, following a Galilean moon to confirm
Kepler's law, or studying sunlight spectroscopically.
- Do one of the
CLEA astronomy projects, which are software-based
astronomy labs using real data.
- Participate in a Duke outreach program to a local
middle- or high-school and talk about some aspect of
- Prepare a lecture for a Physics 55 class on some
topic that is not covered in the syllabus. (You do not
have to give the lecture, just prepare a good one.)
- Interview a local researcher doing research
related to astronomy (e.g., one of Duke's string
theorists, neutrino researchers, nuclear physics
scientists, or gravitational lensing theorists, or one
of UNC's astronomers) and
summarize his or her research interests and goals at a
level appropriate for Physics 55 students.
- Write a piece of fiction related to some theme of
astronomy: science fiction, some historical event seen
through the eyes of a contemporary, a future
first-contact scenario, the interaction of an
astronomer with a non-scientist, etc.