Individual Topics


We will do ONE set of individual topics.  Tell me your topic by Sept 29.


Although there is some presentation this is essentially an exercise to convey what you learned by writing. That is why we have a critique/feedback portion. It also gives you a chance to help each other by giving the feedback.


It starts with you researching and writing about six pages on an aspect of the topic you found interesting and that you understood.  If you want to include pictures and graphics fine, but there must be six written pages. Then your effort will be submitted to me electronically by class time on Oct 3.


You will come to class on (#1) and present a one minute summary and take two minutes of suggestions such as what else the class might like to know.


Your written draft will be sent to two other class members for them to critique and you will get two drafts (one each) from them.  You will write a written critique of their papers, send an electronic version of the critiques to me and bring your paper and the critiques to (class#2). You will exchange critiques and orally tell them what you have tried to do.  They will orally talk about what you could do better.  Then you will switch roles.  You need to take note of the critiques both written and oral.


You will incorporate all the feedback and write a polished copy of your work.  I suspect this will be longer than the original draft. Submit it to me electronically and present it at class #3A or #4B or #5C.  Expect to put almost as much work in your revisions as you did in your rough draft!



After your presentation you will respond to a questionnaire about your individual project.


You will be graded on: the rough draft (2) and short presentation (1); your critiques of the other papers (2); your presentation (2), your final written draft (3), the questionnaire (1).


Beginning List of Individual topics. [Add your own if you would like. NOT on Cosmology or Extraterrestrial Life]. DO NOT choose a topic you did for either of your short talks. Not a topic inside the Solar System.



Stellar evolution from the Main Sequence up to (but not including) Stellar Death

Stellar Death -Planetary Nebulae

Stellar Death -Supernovae  [CONOR]

Neutron Stars/Pulsars [WILL]


Binary stars - ordinary

Binary Stars -Cataclysmic Variables

Binary Stars - X-ray Binaries


Black holes - theory [SAHIL]

Black holes - stellar sized, observational evidence [ALEX K]


String Theory  [KATELIN]

Brane Theory

Information theory and the holographic theory of the universe and black holes

The arrow of time [ROSIE]

Quantum mechanics [JAMES]

[Note:  The five topics above are quite challenging to learn and present. Yet over the years there have been some terrific presentations.]


Dark Matter: the particles, detection

Dark Matter: astronomical observations [ARUSHI]

Dark Energy [HEATHER]


Exoplanets: detection

Exoplanets: theory of formation

Exoplanets: planetary properties [EVA]


Ordinary Galaxies

Dwarf Galaxies [MEGHAN]

Galactic Evolution [ALEX D]

Quasars [MARK]

Active Galactic Nuclei as Black holes


Formation of the First Stars [SELLARS]


Gamma Ray Bursters [BROOKE]