Fall 2002 ASTR 2030-002 Homepage
Fall 2002 ASTR 2030-002 Black Holes: Syllabus
This is a lower division course intended to introduce non-science students
to the predicted properties of black holes,
and to the astronomical evidence for their existence.
Along the way we will study
modern ideas about the nature of space, time, and gravity.
For more details, see the
By mutual agreement,
both of the two sections of this course are following
the same grading policy and using the same texts.
The other section,
is being taught by Prof. Mitch Begelman,
and will place a greater emphasis on the astronomical
aspects of black holes.
Distinctive features of the way this section, ASTR 2030-002,
of the course will be taught are:
An emphasis on visualization;
You will learn some basic elements of writing a movie script.
This course is approved for the Natural Sciences Core Curriculum.
There are no prerequisites.
Course material will involve high school math and science.
If you are a science major,
or if you would prefer a more mathematically oriented course,
then you should consider taking
ASTR 3740 Relativity and Cosmology in Spring 2003.
There will be two midterm exams, scheduled for F Oct 4 and F Nov 22.
The exams will cover material discussed in class and in the assigned reading,
and will consist largely of short-answer questions.
Emphasis will be on concepts and major themes,
rather than rote memorization of details. There will NOT be a final exam.
See Scripts for details.
Grading will be based on the two midterms Exams
and two Scripts.
There will no Final Exam:
the Final is your Script 2.
That adds up to 125%.
To bring it to 100%,
I will delete the worst 25% of your score.
In other words, you may do badly
either on Exam 1, or on Exam 2,
or on Script 1 without penalty,
or else Script 2 will count half.
|Exam 1||F Oct 4||25%
|Script 1||F Oct 25||25%
|Exam 2||F Nov 22||25%
|Script 2||W Dec 11||50%
CU's Fiske Planetarium has been reserved
at the usual class time on the days listed in the
You should go directly to Fiske on the listed days.
Kip S. Thorne, Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy
(W.W. Norton, paperback, 1994).
More emphasis on the theory behind black holes,
plus historical perspective from a scientist who has been
at the forefront of BH research for more than 30 years.
Mitchell Begelman and Martin Rees, Gravity's Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe
(W. H. Freeman, Scientific American Library Paperback, 1998).
Emphasis on the observational evidence for black holes, with lots of neat color pictures.
I expect you:
Please note that University policy forbids bringing food or drink
into lecture halls.
To give the class your full attention;
Not to leave class early,
and not to rustle papers in preparation for leaving class.
You may expect me:
To treat you as an intelligent adult;
To finish lectures on time.
You are encouraged to form study groups and to discuss the course material
with your classmates but we expect the papers to represent your own work.
We will be on the lookout for plagiarism,
including the unattributed use of materials obtained through the web.
Detection of plagiarism or other forms of cheating
will carry the minimum penalty of an automatic "F" for the assignment.
We draw your attention to the
Student Honor Code system,
which has now been implemented in all schools and colleges.
Students with Disabilities
The law requires us to make reasonable accomodations to students
with learning or physical disabilities.
If you need such accomodations,
then you should tell me about them in a timely manner.
Normally, you should have obtained supporting documentation from
Fall 2002 ASTR 2030-002 Homepage
Updated 23 Aug 2002