The Solar System and the Search for a New Earth (Astro 101), U. of Michigan (W19)

This course explores how data from NASA spacecraft and other telescopes are used to understand the formation of our Solar System, explain the features of our planets and their moons, and search for evidence of life elsewhere. 

I co-taught this class during the Winter 2019 term.  Syllabus: astro101_syllabus_w19.pdf


Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe (Astro 102), U. of Michigan (W20)

This course explores the nature of stars and galaxies.  Students are invited to consider our place in the Universe as we discover how the Universe has changed across cosmic time. 

I will co-teach this class during the Winter 2020 term.  Syllabus: coming soon


Alien Skies: A Tour through the Universe (Astro 104), U. of Michigan (W17)

The sky is our laboratory. Most of what humans know about the Universe has been learned by applying mathematical, physical, or chemical laws and principles to what we observe in the sky. We cannot travel to our laboratory, but we can imagine what the journey might be like based on what we observe there. This course invites you to consider the bizarre, spectacular, and otherworldly destinations that might await us and to reimagine our own place in the cosmos.

I taught this class during the Winter 2017 term.  Syllabus: syllabus-winter2017.pdf


Naked-Eye Astronomy (Astro 127), U. of Michigan (F14, W15, F15, W16, F16)

Astronomy is one of the oldest activities known to civilization.  When you look at the sky, you participate in a tradition that spans uncounted generations across continents and millennia.  This course will help you develop the skills and experience to join that tradition, assign a physical understanding to your observations, and equip you with the language to communicate with stargazers around the globe.

I taught 10 sections of this class from 2014-2016.  Syllabus: syllabus-fall2016.pdf


Stars and the Atomic Age

This course invites students to explore how ancient stardust became the key ingredient in the nuclear arms race in the 20th century, and how this story might impact our expectations on the search for extraterrestrial life. 

I developed this 1-credit seminar course as part of the broader impacts for a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF AST 16-13536).  All materials are present, and I have included a link here.  Anyone is free to download and use these materials.  I have not yet actually taught the course; I hope to do so in the next few years.

Syllabus: stars_and_the_atomic_age_syllabus.pdf

Here’s the tar file (235 MB) containing all course materials: stars_and_the_atomic_age.tar.gz


New Horizons in Astronomy (2265X), Pasadena City College (Extension), Summer 2012

Have you ever worried about the black holes lurking in the centers of galaxies?  Or marveled at the zoo of planets announced on the news?  Or wondered why astronomers choose such imaginative names like “dark matter” and “dark energy” to describe 96% of the universe? This non-credit evening course at Pasadena City College may be for you!  Anyone who is interested is eligible to enroll.


Here’s a link to the course website.

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