Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back in School

Well, after a summer hiatus where not much was done on the astronomy front, I am back in school this semester. Originally I had planned to take just two course, ASTR 180 and 260.

ASTR 180 is the introduction to astronomy for astronomy majors but is also open to general students who need to fulfill a science credit and don't want to go the biology or chemistry route. As such, there was a 10 min warning on the 'difficulty' expected in college courses as opposed to high school courses as well as a thorough warning of the type of intensive math we are going to expect to see. You know, like given an equation and one missing variable, solve for variable. You know, like high school algebra.

ASTR 260 is a computational astronomy course. It sounds interesting and is mostly (computer) lab based, so I was hoping to get some good programming. Due, however, to the constant waxing and waning of the moon, the class is actually being cancelled. Something about there being too many people, not enough professors or computers, and a general lack of coherence regarding what is going on this semester in the department (the department has, unfortunately, been inflicted with two unexpected casualties recently).

The current thinking is that 260 will become 294 and go from 3 credits to 1 credit. My hope is to actually do this as a directed study and continue my Hoku'kea camera work in lieu. My Hoku'kea camera work, however, has basically been out to the loo for the summer. While I had high hopes of getting a lot of it done in reality not much happened with it. My always-and-ever-more demanding work simply took too much of my time, much to my chagrin.

So, that frees up my schedule just a little bit. I ran into my friend Ben who is in my 180 class (we both skipped it last year to take more advanced courses so we have to go back to the Intro) and he informed me of an upper level physics class that looks really interesting. Physics 394 - Physics and Chance. I picked up the book before I left (headed to NYC for a wedding my first week of classes) and read the first two weeks of readings on the plane. The course is a Writing Intensive course and is discussion based, so should prove interesting. Of particular interest to me are the discussions regarding the irreversibility of time (time asymmetry) although the entire material appears interesting (and esoteric to boot!).