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Modern Astronomical Research


Admission requirements



An introductory course on modern research. The students learn what it means to be a researcher in astronomy. In particular what it takes to come up with challenging questions, where to start searching for an answer and why those answers are not accessible at Wikipedia. In addition, we will discuss the career paths and daily activities of astronomical researchers, how they communicate their research to other scientists and the general public, and how they prepare and give talks to other scientific researchers. The course covers how to carry out literature searches (using ADS and astro-ph), how to read and understand scientific papers, through to preparing and presenting a talk to the rest of the class.

Course objectives

  • Understanding of how modern research in astrophysics is conducted by professionals

  • Learn what it means to be an astronomer

  • Learn the way scientific questions are posed and addressed

  • How results are shared

  • Gain expertise on how to make presentations

  • Learn how to critically read a paper

Soft skills

In this course, students will be trained in the following behaviour-oriented skills:

  • Analytical skills (analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence)

  • Verbal communication (presenting, speaking, listening)

  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, summarizing)

  • Collaboration (teamwork, group support, loyalty, attendance)

  • Critical thinking (asking questions, check assumptions)

  • Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box)


See Schedules bachelor Astronomy 2017-2018

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures

Assessment method

  • Two homework assignments: 2/3 of the final grade

  • Presentation of a scientific paper: 1/3 of the final grade

The retake exam consists of an additional homework assignment. Each additional assignment can count for 1/3 of the score.


Blackboard is not used for this course.

Reading list



Register via uSis. More information about signing up for classes and exams can be found here. Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to register. For a la carte and contract registration, please see the dedicated section on the Prospective students website.

Contact information

Lecturers: Dr. P.M. (Pedro) Russo, Dr. A. (Alessandra) Candian, Dr. C. (Christian) Ginski and Dr. L. (Lizette) Guzman-Ramirez
Assistants: Dennis Vaendel, Martijn Wilhelm
Course website: will be announced at the start of the course