ASTR 240
Great Astronomers and Their Original Publications Fall 2018 Division III; Writing-Intensive; Cross-listed as ASTR240 / LEAD240 / SCST240 / HSCI240

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We study many of the greatest names in the history of astronomy, consider their biographies, assess their leadership roles in advancing science, and examine and handle the first editions of their books and other publications. Our study includes, in addition to a Shakespeare First Folio (with its astronomical mentions) and a page from the Gutenberg Bible, original books such as: 16th-century, Nicolaus Copernicus (heliocentric universe); Tycho Brahe (best pre-telescopic observations); 17th-century, Galileo (discoveries with his first astronomical telescope, 1610; sunspots, 1613; Dialogo, 1632); Johannes Kepler (laws of planetary motion, 1609, 1619); Johannes Hevelius and Elisabeth Hevelius (atlases of the Moon and of stars, 1647, and 1687); Isaac Newton (laws of universal gravitation and of motion, 1687); 18th-century, Edmond Halley (Miscellanea curiosa, eclipse maps, 1715, 1724); John Flamsteed and Margaret Flamsteed (Atlas Coelestis, 1729); William Herschel and Caroline Herschel (1781, 1798). In more recent centuries, the original works are articles: 20th–century: Albert Einstein (special relativity, 1905; general relativity, 1916); Marie Curie (radioactivity); Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (hydrogen dominating stars, 1929), Edwin Hubble (Hubble’s law, 1929); Vera Rubin (dark matter, 1970s); Jocelyn Bell Burnell (pulsar discovery, 1968); 21st-century: Wendy Freedman (Universe’s expansion rate, 2000s). We will also read biographies and recent novels dealing with some of the above astronomers. With the collaboration of the Chapin Librarian, we will meet regularly in the Chapin Library of Rare Books and also have a session at the library of the Clark Art Institute to see its rare books of astronomical interest. The course is a repeat of the successful course first given during the 2014-15 academic year’s Year of the Book, honoring the new Sawyer L ibrary and the expansion of the Chapin Library of Rare Books.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 12
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two 5-page intermediate papers, and a final 15-page paper
Enrollment Preference: if overenrolled, preference by written paragraph of explanation of why student wants to take the course
Distributions: Division III; Writing-Intensive;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 3 requirement if registration is under ASTR; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under HSCI, LEAD or SCST
Attributes: LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership; SCST Related Courses;

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