Posts tagged old-tyme astrobiology
Registration for spring 2011 classes just opened up for grad students today. Below is a list of interesting classes related to astrobiology in the Earth & Planetary Science Department:
AS.270.114 “Guided Tour: The Planets” TTh 1:30pm-2:45pm
I believe this class is an intro science course that’s required for undergrads. It’s taught by Bruce Marsh and Darrell Strobel. It’s also completely full, but you might be able to audit it.
AS.270.407 “Seminar in Planetary Sciences” W 12pm-1:20pm
The “Seminar in Planetary Sciences” was offered last spring, and it was an incredible hit. Researchers from APL came in once a week to give a presentation on their current research and the latest discoveries. In fact, not more than a week after it was announced water was discovered on the moon did we learn that OH counts as water.
AS.270.647 “Earth’s Interior” TBD
The “Earth’s Interior” course is a seminar as well. The semester topic changes each time the class is offered. I took it last spring, and the class’s focus was on planetary formation. No tests, but there’s a lot of reading, and every few weeks you have to present on a paper. It’s an excellent seminar taught by the always excellent Peter Olson. If he goes with planetary formation again (if you sign up for the class, definitely email him suggestions about what the seminar should focus on), it’ll beat the pants off anything the physics & astronomy department can offer up.
After these three courses, we’re also offering two climate change courses that may be interesting to some:
AS.270.360 “Climate Change: Science & Policy” MW 1:30pm-2:45pm
AS.270.377 “Climates of the Past” TTh 1:30pm-2:45pm
I haven’t taken either, so I can’t speak to the course content.
UPDATE: One of the members of the astrobiology club email list sent this in.
Biology is also offering a recapitulation of the Planets Life and Universe class. The fall class is a pre-req, but I’m guessing that’s just a suggestiong.
AS.020.716 (01) – Planets, Life, and the Universe Seminar
Based on the course Planets, Life and the Universe in the Fall, this seminar series is for students who would like to read and discuss interesting current papers in the field, including the latest developments that may lead to interesting ideas on interdisciplinary research. Pre-requisites: It is preferable but not required that students will have taken the Fall 2010 course Planets, Life and the Universe (171.333/699 or AS.020.334/616 ). Reading material Papers will be assigned to read each week.
By way of io9.com, I found this post about a New York Times Magazine article from March 24, 1912. It’s an interview with a zoologist, Edmond Perrier, and it seems as though he had some incredible things to say:
The dampness of the atmosphere on Venus favors the growth of ferns. The development of flowers from the more primitive forms of plants must be slow and probably has not yet been accomplished on Venus. This lack means the absence also of bees, butterflies, perhaps of ants and of other insects which depend partly or entirely on flowers for their food.
Venus, then, is the home of insects like grasshoppers, or dragon-flies, or roaches, grown to an enormous size; of large batrachians, frogs as big as our cows, of innumerable and gigantic reptiles like those which once filled our earth, ichthyosauri, pterodactyls, iguanodons. Man is absent; indeed the race of mammals may not yet have appeared, in even the humblest form.
Clearly this is inspiration for the Rocket To Venus around the corner in Hampden.