ASTR 340
Great Astronomers and Their Original Publications Spring 2015
Division III Writing Skills
Cross-listed LEAD 340 / HSCI 340 / ASTR 340
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In this academic year of the study of the book, honoring the new library and the expansion of the Chapin Library of Rare Books, 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 their first-edition books and other publications. Our study includes the original books published as follows: 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 stars and of the Moon, 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 (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 librarians, we will visit not only the Chapin Library of Rare Books but also the rare-book library at the Clark Art Institute to see its works of astronomical interest.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two 5-page intermediate papers, and a final 15-page paper
Extra Info: not available for the Gaudino option
Enrollment Preferences: if over enrolled, preference by written paragraph of explanation of why student wants to take the course
Distributions: Division III Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
LEAD 340 Division II HSCI 340 Division III ASTR 340 Division III

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