The University of Arizona

Undergraduate Courses Spring 2013

Course Title Instructor(s)
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.



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.



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.

LASC 195A Home Page - D2L (Baker)


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.

As of Fall 2013, this course is co-convened (cross-listed) with ASTR 170A1.
PTYS 170A1 Home Page - (Larson)


PTYS 170B1

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 170B1 is a Tier I Natural Science course in the University's general education curriculum.

PTYS 170B1 Home Page Section 002 - (Rogers)



First Year Colloquium (1)
PTYS195A Fall 2013 (Jokipii): The Nature of Time

PTYS195A Spring 2013 (Hubbard): Why do we have a space program? Humans have been exploring our solar system with manned and unmanned spacecraft for 50 years. In this colloquium we will do some of our own exploring---why are we doing this, and how does the US government decide what to do in space? We will look at the history of the space enterprise and the role of scientists. We will critically examine the basic human drives and the assumptions, some perhaps mistaken, motivating space exploration.

PTYS195A Spring 2013 (Greenberg): Unmasking Europa: The search for life on Jupiter's ocean moon With twice as much liquid water as all of Earth's oceans, Europa is a plausible place to find extraterrestrial life. In this course, we will critically examine and discuss the issues involved in this search. How do we know what this moon is like? How are politics, scientific controversies, and major spacecraft missions intertwined? And can we envision a strategy for exploration that might find life on Europa within the lifetimes of today's students?

PTYS 195A Home Page - Section 001 (Hubbard)


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 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 403 Home Page - (Jokipii)


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 442 Home Page - D2L (McEwen)