The author, Prof. Emeritus Thomas Swihart, of Quantitative Astronomy: Topics in Astrophysics died suddenly at the age of 65. As a result, instead of going through the typical series of updated editions since it was first published in 1992, his textbook is out-of-print. The textbook isn't loaded with the sidebars and color pictures that textbooks are now marketed with. It nonetheless remains highly suitable for our purposes, and fortunately copies are readily available used:
We will cover Chapters 2-7 and 11 of the text, which is a rate of about one section of Swihart per lecture. This means that our topics are:
We are a small group. It will be important to actively read and participate in the class discussions. The assignments and evaluations will weight into the grade as follows:
The two computational projects will be of your own choosing. I will assist with the choices and create some guidelines for the solution. You may use any of the computational tools (e.g., MATLAB, Python, Mathematica, Java, C++, spreadsheets) that you have learned in other courses.
The midterm and final will both adhere to exercises and problems that we are doing as part of the text. In other words, rather than test that you can sail into new territory with what you have learned, I will simply be testing that you have internalized the range of problems that Swihart sets us up to solve.
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