Class Mechanics

  • Lectures: Lectures are given every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a few exceptions. Geoff will have at least a couple of travel windows in October and/or November for NSF matters, and possibly a Gemini observing run in November. We'll also not have class Wednesday and Friday Nov. 23/25, the days before and after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for exact dates.

  • Readings: There will be a reading assignment for every lecture. Assignments should be read before the lecture. No, really. This is a dynamically evolving field, and so in addition to sections from the Armitage textbook the readings will typically be peer-reviewed articles or review articles. Some will be good, others, well, not so much. As you find interesting sources of information on the topics we cover, please let me know. I am always on the lookout for new articles, so the reading list may (read: will) change often. Please check the class web pages for updates regularly, and give us feedback on what was understandable and what was not.

  • Class participation, including an in-class presentation: Everyone learns more and sleeps less if classes are interactive. Please interact. Throughout each lecture, randomly selected students will be called upon by name (once I learn them, of course) to answer questions. Note that it is a good idea to be in class. Or at least send a stunt double. To help kick start the classes I would like each of you to provide a short (~10 minute) introduction to one of the classes, starting as soon as possible. This can be on the blackboard, could use some of my viewgraphs, or your own imagery. If volunteers are not forthcoming by Monday, October 3rd, topics/presenters will be selected at random. Hopefully this will at least generate some empathy for your TA and Prof.; and for those not introducing a given day's topic - bring your ideas and your skepticism and be ready to defend them, the formation and evolution of planetary systems is fascinating but by no means understood. I will provide the skeleton, but my hope is that we can flesh out the course together. Indeed, I hope that in the course of time some of you will provide us with answers! Oh, and please be patient with your aging Prof., it may take me some time to learn everyone's name.

  • Homework: Homework assignments will be available on the web site after Wednesday class and due the following Thursday, 5 pm. Extensions may only be given by the instructor, and he rarely gives them unless you are in the hospital or dead or both. Josh will hopefully have office hours on Mondays (for the over-organized) and Wednesdays (for students like my son Garrett), in his office, with hours T.B.D. We will look into arranging evening card access for the class, which may require your UID numbers, for those non-GPS students.

  • Collaboration: Working in groups can be a great way to learn material. It can also be a crutch for not learning material. Before you may work in a group on your homework assignment, you must first attempt each problem in the set on your own. Note the word attempt, this does not mean you have to solve the problems on your own, but if you work with a group after this, you must still write up your solutions by yourself away from the group. Some problems on problem sets and on exams may reappear from previous years. You are not permitted to use previous solution sets or to examine previous years exams.

  • Final: The final will be made available on Friday, December 2nd, the last day of classes (for those that want to get out of town as quickly as possible) and due by 5 pm, Thursday, December 8th. The final will be open mind, but closed book, notes, computer, and everything else.

  • Grading: Final (40%); Homework (40%); Class participation (20%).