Thursday, February 01, 2007

Spring 2007

(This post has been backdated to put it the proper order sequentially. It was actually written sometime in early 2007.)

• MATH203 – Matrix Algebra – Instructor: James F. Lawrence. A somewhat rambling instructor, the issue isn’t helped by a number of very rude students who heckle him on occasion. Grade: A.
• PHYS262 – University Physics III (no lab this semester, though) – Instructor: Robert Ehrlich (Physics Dept. Chair). Seemed much more interesting this time than I remembered from my first attempt at it in Spring 2000. Grade: A.
• ASTR428 – Relativity and Cosmology (Removed from course plan 12/1/2006) – Instructor: Joseph Weingartner. Even though this course requires Physics III (which I am taking the same semester), and parts of it not taught until the end of the semester at that (modern physics), Joe recommended I take it. He classifies it as very hard, but it is only offered every odd Spring semester, so it’s either now or 2009! He recommended I study up on Maxwell’s Equations (the differential forms), applicable Physics III material (relativity, etc.), vector calculus (esp. the Del operator) and start reading David Griffith’s “”Introduction to Electrodynamics,” which is the textbook for PHYS305 (Electromagnetic Theory), which I am not due to take until at least Fall 2007. I will have only two weeks to evaluate the course for difficulty before the Drop date passes for no tuition cost. Ultimately, it turned out better to not take it – not because of the difficulty, but due to time constraints on other upper level classes, several of which are also only offered every other Spring. Unfortunately, I am not likely to get this course now until perhaps as a graduate student, if pursue my grad work at GMU.
• PHYS408 – Senior Research – Instructor/Advisor: Shobita Satyapal. I would be doing this research anyway this semester. However, instead of being paid for it, it will give me three credits towards my graduation requirements. At the end of the semester, a paper and presentation (before faculty and students) was required. Technically, my first senior-level course, but I will save the real “senior” celebration for when I take an actual 400-level lecture or lab course (402, 407), likely in Fall 2008. My project ended up as a study of various methods for determining star formation in other galaxies (concentrating on infrared methods, but also addressing some visible light and ultraviolet). End result - not a statistically-significant sample, but my results showed that infrared made a far-better spectrum for this study than anything else. Grade: A

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