PH  2300.01 (3 credits) - Summer 2004

Dr. Mark P. Turski

239B Boyd Hall

535-2749, email -

Home page -

Office Hours:   by appt


Comins, N.F. & Kaufmann, W. J. ((2003) Discovering the Universe(6th ed.)


            This course is intended for non-science majors.  The emphasis of the course will be on the nature of science, and the impact of science on society and technology through the study of historic and current astronomy topics.

            The course will attempt to introduce you to a range of astronomy concepts.  In this way, you should gain an understanding of the fundamental laws that govern the universe and develop an appreciation for the nature of astronomy research and science research in general.

            The course is based on several fundamental learning outcomes.  After studying astronomy, you should:

            1.  have gained a knowledge of facts, concepts and principles related to the major topics in astronomy, in other words become scientifically literate in some of the key concepts;

            2.  be able to use and understand methods of science (science processes) as ways to acquire new knowledge;

            3.  communicate the key concepts through the use of mathematical relationships, including tables, graphs and algebraic expressions;

            4.  be able to process astronomy information and make responsible decisions regarding science and technology issues;

            5.  be aware of how astronomy affects other areas such as law, politics, and the economy of a nation.


  1. Attendance is up to you.  However, you are responsible for what ever happened while you were gone.  (But before you skip see Grading below.) If you miss class I do not need to know why except for a long term illness. 
  2. Specific requirements include textbook reading, writing assignments, exam. Students are expected to be active participants in class activities and determining the focus and topics of discussion.
  3. Grading - Exams - There will be three (3) , they are comprehensive. Quizzes, they are unannounced and there will be approximately six (6) there are NO make ups. They will be given in the first 5 minutes of the class. If you are late you will not be allowed to take the quiz. You will be allowed to drop one quiz grade. Specific grade procedures are given with any other assignments.
  4. Late work -  The highest grade late work can earn is an 80. It will lose 10 points each additional day it is late after the first day.  (Not class session).  After four (4) days it will not be accepted.
  5. Long term illnesses require documentation from a physician.  I consider a long term illness to be one that requires a stay in a hospital, infirmary or prolonged bed rest.  I will recommend a drop if this occurs.
  6. If you use a reference for any of the papers you write for me you must include a bibliography. It should be formatted as APA or MLA. When in doubt use a citation.


Do NOT plagiarize!

         Lamson Library’s web page has style guides and there are many good links on plagiarism. It only takes me several minutes to find an online plagiarized source. Type plagiarism in on Google and you’ll see one reason why getting caught is easier than ever. I will give you a zero (0) on the assignment and I think I’m being easy compared to other faculty. Please reference appropriately for all involved.

Science Fiction Story Summary/Review - You need to read, review and summarize two (2) science fiction stories. The sum/rev needs to discuss (ex. right vs wrong) at least four points that relate to astronomy.  Write a short paper (~800 words - 2 page) for each story. This will be graded in the following manner:

Structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation
3 pts
4 pts
3 pts
10 pts


Science Fiction Story review example - This is just under 300 words. This is about 5 revisions and you can find other examples at the writing center. Contact Roy Andrews

Mark Turski

PH 228 - Astronomy

Dr. Stuffedshirt1/1/01

Nordley, G. David (1998). A Life On Mars, Analog, July/August, pp. 68-90.  (NOTE Correct APA Format)

        Pete Nelson has a big problem. His ex-wife who had abandon him and their daughter has had a major accident and needs a lung transplant. The catch - She is on Mars and the matching donor, her daughter, is on the Moon. This story deals with the problems of how to get to Mars from the Moon before the ex dies and the personal and ethical dilemmas that can arise.  

          The science in this story is very good.  Nordley incorporates many facts to give the story credibility, taking well-known principles and extrapolating how they may be used with future technologies and the problems of applying the technology in the face of “real life” situations. The following four items are examples of correct scientific principles or astronomical references that are in the story. The name of one of the space craft is the Edmund Halley which is named after the British astronomer. During communications between Moon and Mars there is a 3.5 minute lag time which corresponds to the time it would take a transmission traveling at the speed of light to reach Mars from Moon. The locations of settlements on Mars correspond with current geographical locations. The theoretical spacecraft involved has a way to shield the occupants from radiation.

            Overall the story has an interesting plot and is scientifically sound. Some of the discussions of Newtonian physics would be difficult to follow for someone with a weak math background but these discussions can be skimmed without detracting from the overall story line. I would highly recommend this story to anyone who has an interest in good technical science fiction.


In the second paragraph I would expect you to cite sources that back up the science involved. Halley would not need to be cited as he is a common enough name in astronomy. The other three would need a citation and possibly an short explanation. I did not use citations because these would be commonly know facts to an astronomy teacher. The assignment is intended as a vehicle (pun intended) for you to exhibit your knowledge of astronomy and your ability to research and verify an astronomical item.


Science Fiction Stories


Final grades will be assigned according to the following scale:

100 - 94 - A 93.9999 - 90 - A-  
89.9999 - 87 - B+ 86.9999 - 83 - B 82.9999 - 80 - B-
79.9999 - 77 - C+ 76.9999 - 73 - C 72.9999 - 70 - C-
69.9999 - 68 - D+ 67.9999 - 66 - D

65.9999 - 65 - D-

<65 - F    

 I DO NOT SCALE and There is NO Extra Credit!

Tentative Schedule