What is the size and structure of the Universe? How do stars and planets form and evolve? Could there be life elsewhere in the Universe? How can we write software for a quantum computer? Can self-assembly enable microscale robots? How is DNA folded within the nucleus? How can we describe exotic electronic fluids in quantum materials? Which particles are missing from current particle physics? How can metamaterials simulate solid state systems? These are some of the most fascinating open questions of Mankind.
In this introductory course on contemporary astronomical and/or physics research topics, you learn what modern astronomy and/or physics is and what it means to be a successful researcher in astronomy and/or physics. You will learn basic academic skills of modern research on how to tackle challenging research questions and where to start searching for an answer. You will also learn how to communicate these answers to colleagues through different approaches, from research publications to scientific presentations. In addition, you will understand the different career paths of astronomers and/or physicists.
Students will be provided with a bird’s-eye view of contemporary challenges in the astronomy and/or physics community through work sessions and guest lectures covering all the major fields in astronomy and/or physics. There will be special emphasis on the topics that are central to STRW/LION because STRW/LION most likely will play a part in the student’s foreseeable future.
In interactive work sessions, students will learn about academic skills: searching literature, reading papers, writing reports, and presenting posters. A group research project forms the core of this class. In groups of three, you choose a recent research question and apply the before mentioned research skills to discover current challenges related to your question. You will discuss the outcomes with your peers, and will create a poster with your findings at the end of the course.
The course address the following topics:
Current field of modern astronomy and/or physics
Knowledge-bases: Astronomy databases and research articles repositories (e.g.: ADS and astro-ph)
Research Communication with peers: Publications and Presentations
Astronomy and/or Physics Careers
Communicating Astronomy and/or Physics with the Public
After this class, you will be able to dive into a completely new research topic and summarize the key challenges in a written report and a poster presentation and you will be able to summarize the contemporary astronomy and/or physics research landscape.
This involves that you are able to
Select a difficult contemporary topic in astronomy and/or physics that interests the members of your group and list different techniques that astronomers and/or physicists use to tackle these topics
Pose an astronomy and/or physics related and unanswered question
Use the main tools and the main knowledge databases used in astronomy and/or physics for data and research publications related to a specialized topic
Define a research publication workflow and peer-review processes
List the main sections of a research publication and compare it with the main open research questions
Summarize and judge the results of research publications
Digest difficult research papers efficiently so that you can gauge their quality and extract key information
Summarize the current key challenges for a specialized astronomy and/or physics topic in a written report and a poster
Write a literary overview that recapitulates the main results of an extensive collection of research papers related to a specialized topic
Develop and deliver a poster presentation based on research publications
List the main components of a successful poster presentation
Recognize the different careers steps of a professional astronomer and/or physicist and possible alternative career paths
In this course, you will be trained in the following behavior-oriented skills:
Work in a small group on summarizing key challenges in a specialized astronomy and/or physics topic and distribute and manage the various tasks involved
Create a poster that summarizes a topic clearly
Deliver a well designed and developed poster presentation
Present research to fellow colleagues in a convincing and inspiring way
Write a structured essay on a very difficult, specialized topic in astronomy and/or physics
Make an informed choice about a future research field or career you want to be involved in and have an overview of the possibilities within STRW/LION concerning that choice
Mode of Instructions
Instructions and course material can be found on Brightspace. Registration for Brightspace occurs automatically when students enroll in uSis via uSis by registration for a class activity using a class number