Lunar and Planetary Laboratory The University of ArizonaUA Science


Course Title & Description
ASTR 418

Instrumentation and Statistics (3)
Radiant energy; signals and noise; detectors and techniques for imaging, photometry, polarimetry and spectroscopy. Examples from stellar and planetary astronomy in the x-ray, optical, infrared and radio. ASTR is home department. May be convened with: ASTR/PTYS 518.

ASTR 455

Teaching College-Level Astronomy & Planetary Science (1)
Students will discuss their current or recent experiences as a student. They will also learn how to create productive learning environments by reviewing research on the nature of teaching and learning; setting course goals and objectives; using interactive lectures, peer instruction, engaging demonstrations, collaborative groups, tutorials, and ranking tasks; and observing other instructors. Students will conduct a collaborative research project of their choosing related to astronomy and space science. The course will culminate with students presenting mock lectures using these techniques. Prerequisite(s): Student must be Astronomy or Planetary Science undergraduate or graduate major. Consent of instructor. Typical structure: 1 hour lecture. May be repeated: for credit 3 times (maximum 4 enrollments). ASTR is home department. May be convened with: ASTR/PTYS 555. Usually offered: Spring.

ASTR 475

Planetary Astrobiology (3)
This course will explore the processes related to planet formation, the properties of planets and the planetary conditions required for the emergence of life. We will study the formation of our Solar System and exoplanetary systems, the distribution and properties of exoplanets, and the potential habitability of other planets/moons in our system or extrasolar systems. The course will also review science cases and possible future astrobiology studies, both in site and via remote sensing, of astrobiologically relevant environments. Toward the end of the semester a few guest lectures will highlight particularly exciting and timely topics. This course may be co-convened with ASTR/PTYS 575.


Dynamic Meteorology (3)
Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Prerequisite: PHYS 426 or consent of instructor. ATMO is home department.


Dynamic Meteorology (3)
Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Prerequisite(s): ATMO 300A, ATMO 300B, PHYS 426 or consent of instructor. ATMO is home department. Usually offered: Spring.

GEOS 419

Physics of the Earth (3)
Fundamentals of the physics of the solid earth, including thermodynamics, rheology, geomagnetism, gravity, and planet tectonics. Prerequisite(s): MATH 254. GEOS is home department. May be convened with: PTYS/GEOS 519.

GEOS 430

The Chemical Evolution of Earth (3)
Chemical differentiation and evolution of Earth's mantle and crust according to major-element, trace-element and isotopic characteristics of neodymium, hafnium, strontium, lead and other isotopes.
Prerequisite(s): GEOS 356 or equivalent undergraduate petrology. GEOS is home department.


What are Research and Creative Expression: Water and Life on Mars (1)
Students will access planetary mission data to study the present and past Mars environment in regard to the activity of water and related possibilities that living organisms are or were extant on that planet. The student research will involve interdisciplinary work in astrobiology, hydrology, and planetary geology.

PTYS 170A1

Planet Earth: Evolution of the Habitable World (3)
This course develops a planetary perspective on the evolutionary processes that shaped Earth throughout history. We will examine why Earth is habitable, that is, why any kind of life can live on it, we will discuss the unique influences that biological processes and atmosphere/ocean systems have on each other, and we will review current notions of climate change, including evidence for the influence of human activities on it. This interdisciplinary treatment of Earth and its sister planets will encourage students to think about how science and engineering must be applied to today's challenges if humankind is to have a promising future on (and off) this planet. PTYS 170A1 is a Tier I Natural Science course in the University's general education curriculum. This course is co-convened (cross-listed) with ASTR 170A1.

PTYS 170B2

The Universe and Humanity: Origin and Destiny (3)
The Universe And Humanity: Origin And Destiny places Earth and humanity in a broad cosmic context. Topics range from the Big Bang cosmology to human consciousness with emphasis on the events and evolutionary processes that define the physical universe and our place in it. PTYS 170B2 is a Tier I Natural Science course in the University's general education curriculum. This course is co-convened (cross-listed) with ASTR 170B2.


First Year Colloquium (1)
Freshmen and other first year students are encouraged to enroll in one-unit First Year Colloquia that allow for in-depth exploration of a science topic. Colloquia feature lively discussion and class participation. Topics vary by semester (e.g., "The Changing Sun and its Influence on Earth: Does the Sun's natural variability affect climate on Earth?" and "Why do we have a space program?"). For further information, contact the Department of Planetary Sciences.

PTYS 206

Our Golden Age of Planetary Exploration (3)
PTYS 206 emphasizes the part of the universe that is within reach of direct human experience and exploration. We will review current understanding of the contents of our Solar System and emphasize the processes that unite all of the planets and smaller bodies, such as tectonics, weathering, cratering, differentiation, and the evolution of oceans and atmospheres. The course will build on this knowledge to understand humankind's motivation to explore beyond our Solar System, especially to search for planets around distant stars and to look or listen for evidence of life elsewhere in the Universe. PTYS 206 is a Tier II Natural Science course in the University's general education curriculum. PTYS 206 is cross-listed with ASTR 206. Course requisites: Two courses from Tier One, Natural Sciences.

PTYS 212/212H

The Science and Politics of Global Warming (3)
The course is devoted to the concepts and principles required for understanding the Greenhouse Effect. It will then cover the effects of global warming on our climate both for past warming and cooling episodes (ice ages) and future predicted effects on our lives and the environment. The last third will deal with the present and future political and commercial issues of global warming. A research paper and a class presentation on a selected topic of global warming will be required. PTYS 212/212H is a Tier II Natural Science course in the University's general education curriculum.

PTYS 214

Astrobiology: A Planetary Perspective (3)
We will explore questions about the origin, evolution, and future of life on Earth and the possibility of life arising independently elsewhere in the Universe. We will examine what it means for a planet to be habitable, both in terms of basic necessities for living organisms to function and environmental limits to their ability to survive. Finally, we will review different approaches for searching for life within the Solar System and beyond using direct and remote sensing techniques. PTYS 214 is a Tier II Natural Science course in the University general education curriculum. PTYS 214 is cross-listed with ASTR 214 and GEOS 214.

PTYS 342

Life on Mars: Fact and Fiction (3)
Life on Mars is likely to be a scientific "hot topic" for the rest of your life. After this class, you should have a good understanding of what planetary scientists think about the chances of life on Mars, why they think that, and how current and future spacecraft missions plan to address that. In addition, since life on Mars has been the subject of some classic science fiction for more than 100 years, with no signs of letting up, you should understand how that science fiction relates to science. My real goal is that as the current debate resolves itself, and as spacecraft explore Mars during the next few decades, you'll understand what's going on and which claims are important, and that as you read or watch science fiction dealing with Mars, you'll appreciate how it relates to past and present science and sci-fi.

PTYS 403

Physics of the Solar System (3)
Survey of planetary physics, planetary motions, planetary interiors, geophysics, planetary atmospheres, asteroids, comets, origin of the solar system. Prerequisites: PHYS 142 or 251. PTYS 403 is a required course for the PTYS Minor.

PTYS 407

Chemistry of the Solar System (3)
Abundance, origin, distribution, and chemical behavior of the chemical elements in the Solar System. Emphasis on applications of chemical equilibrium, photochemistry, and mineral phase equilibrium theory. Prerequisites: CHEM 152, MATH 125b, and PHYS 132 or their equivalents. PTYS 407 is required for the PTYS Minor. PTYS 407 is equivalent to CHEM 407 (not cross-listed).

PTYS 411

Geology and Geophysics of the Solar System (3)
Geologic processes and landforms on satellites and the terrestrial planets, their modification under various planetary environments, and methods of analysis. PTYS 411 is equivalent to GEOS 411 (not cross-listed). PTYS 411 is required for the PTYS Minor.

PTYS 416

Asteroids, Comets and Kuiper Belt Objects (3)
This is an introduction to the "minor planets," the asteroids, comets and Kuiper Belt objects. The focus will be on origin and evolution (including current evolution), as well as techniques of study. It will include an evening at the telescope of an asteroid search program. Graduate-level requirement includes some original work or calculations in the paper/project submitted and to research one of the primary topics and lead the class discussion of it. PTYS 416 may be co-convened with PTYS 516.

PTYS 442

Mars (3)
In-depth class about the planet Mars, including origin and evolution, geophysics, geology, atmospheric science, climate change, the search for life, and the history and future of Mars exploration. There will be guest lectures from professors and research scientists with expertise about aspects of Mars. There will be lots of discussion of recent results and scientific controversies about Mars. Graduate-level requirements include the completion of a research project that will be presented in class as well as a report. The research project could be analysis of Mars datasets, a laboratory experiment, or new theoretical modeling. Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E. Prerequisite(s): PTYS 411, Geology of the Solar System is strongly recommended but not required. Equivalent to: ASTR 442, GEOS 442 (not cross-listed). May be convened with: PTYS 542.

PTYS 450

Origin of the Solar System and Other Planetary Systems (3)
This course will review the physical processes related to the formation and evolution of the protosolar nebula and of protoplanetary disks. In doing that, we will discuss the main stages of planet formation and how different disk conditions impact planetary architectures and planet properties. We will confront the theories of disk evolution and planet formation with observations of circumstellar disks, exoplanets, and the planets and minor bodies in our Solar System. This course may be co-convened with PTYS/ASTR 550.


Galilean Satellites of Jupiter (1)
A colloquium on the Galilean satellites of Jupiter, four large worlds with complex orbital, tidal, and magnetospheric interactions. Each student will be expected to study and report on a relevant topic. Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E. Prerequisite(s): recommended to students majoring in one of the physical sciences, especially Geosciences, Astronomy, or Planetary Sciences. May be convened with: PTYS 595A.


Special Topics in Planetary Science (3)
Course will emphasize emerging and current topical research in Planetary Science; course will be offered as needed or required. Sample course topics might include an active spacecraft mission, an emerging research area, or new discoveries.

The course is directed primarily towards graduate students in Planetary Science and undergraduate Planetary Science minors. Particular topics may be of interest to graduate students or advanced undergraduates in Astronomy, Physics, or Geosciences. The course can serve as one of the required electives courses for PTYS graduate students, as one of the required PTYS courses for undergraduate minors, and could be used to satisfy requirements for a Planetary Science Minor for graduate students from departments other than PTYS.

Field trips are a possibility for some special topics; examples would include visits to a telescope or local geological site.

Learning outcomes:
1. Students will demonstrate understanding of the special topic through in-class discussion and participation.
2. Some special topics will require students to acquire and demonstrate understanding and knowledge through independent scientific projects and research relating to the topic; other topics may require more hands-on applications.
3. Students will demonstrate understanding of the topic and acquired knowledge through assessment activities such as quizzes, exams, assignments.

Course may be co-convened with PTYS 595B. Graduate-level requirements may include an additional project for graduate credit and extra questions on exams, depending on the course/topic taught.