Short Talks in Groups


For weeks 5and 6 you will be working in a groups of two or three.  The choice of topics is below. Four of the topics are not as extensive as the others and they are reserved for groups of two. (They are in italics.)  However, if you are in a group of two you may choose one of the other topics if it is more interesting to you.


The groups are listed at the bottom. Your group will have 5 minutes per person to talk followed by 5 minutes of questions to the entire group. You can send anything to be displayed to me or you can bring your own computer.  If you use your own computer you need to try it out with my projector. If your talk is out on the cloud somewhere, you need to send me the links so I am sure it works on my laptop.


Coordinate with your group so that your talk makes a coherent whole. You should have at least one run through with the group to make sure you know what each other is saying and your slides and time works together. Share the speaking time and work!


Topics must be chosen by the end of class Tuesday, Sept 4.  We should have a bit of time at the end of class for you to discuss which topic you want, but if you get together to agree before then, just email me your choice. If you wish, you may include a second choice; however topics will be assigned first come first serve.


You should aim to get with your group by the Sunday night before your presentation and send me an outline or a .ppt file and a list of the resources that you used.  Include whether you are using your own computer or mine.  If you use mine, have a thumb drive or mail what you want by Sunday. (Occasionally there are problems with my computer playing nice with your materials and I would like a full day to work that out.)


Those of you presenting will be asked to write self-evaluation on your own talk.


Those of you NOT presenting will be asked to write and email me a summary of each talk with a comment on the talks you have heard.






What is their nature?  How do their appearances change as the orbit the Sun.  How were they formed?

What has NASA taught us about them?



What is their nature?   How were they formed? What has NASA taught us about them?


Jupiter and Saturn What are their interiors like? How do they differ and why?  What with all those clouds? How did they get rings?

What has NASA taught us about them?


Origin of our solar system.

Include how the sun was formed, then proceed to how our protoplanetary disk made our planets, asteroids, comets, etc.


Stellar formation

How do stars form from the interstellar material (ISM)? What keeps them from becoming brown dwarfs or planets?  What is a protostar? Have we seen any?


General Stellar Evolution

Why do stars evolve?  How do we see that evolution?

How do stars change H into He? Why is this in the center of stars?  Can you make other elements? How?  Why is this so difficult? Hydrostatic equilibrium and why stars stay in balance

Why don’t stars blow apart, usually? How does changing the mass of a star change its balance? Why do stars evolve from the Main Sequence?


Stellar Death by Supernovae

Why does a star supernova (and why don’t most)?  What is the result?  Evidence?  How often does this happen?

[If you add death by Planetary Nebula then this is ok for group of three.]



What’s out there and how do we detect them?



What types of galaxies are out there?  How do they form?  Why are there different types?  Which type is the Milky Way?



Each of your talks should be a ‘story’.  It should contain the physics that explains how and why the story is a correct one and it should contain some observations, i.e. data that support the correctness of the story.  Pretend you are telling a friend or roommate the story and they keep interrupting by saying “ I don’t believe that could happen, it is just too outrageous”.  So you have to point to data and/or use logical reasoning to convince them.


If you can’t find an explanation of the physics you can e-mail me.





1                           2                          3

Caroline                            Alana                  Andy

Sam                     Matt                    Greg

Josh                     Gavin                  Max


4                           5                         

Maggie               Luke                   

Kohlman             Ozzy