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Andrea Isella's Research Group webpage

Spring 2016 – ASTR 400/500


Instructor: Dr. Andrea Isella, HBH 354, x5491

Location: Meets in HBH 227, Wednesdays from 12:05 pm to 12:55 pm

Course Description: ASTR 400 (undergraduate) and ASTR 500 (graduate) are a 1-credit seminar class that meets every week at 12:05. The course may be repeated for credit. Junior and senior astro majors and all astro graduate students should sign up for
this class each semester.

Speakers include experts from around the world who come to Rice to discuss their research. Rice faculty, graduate students and undergraduates also participate by giving talks, the graduate students every semester and the undergrads every other semester. Student talks do not necessarily need to be on their own research. Full-hour talks should be 45 minutes in length, and half-hour talks 20 minutes, with 5 minutes for questions. We must vacate the room before 1 pm, so please be on time. It is up to the speakers to ensure that their talks display properly, so please check your presentation ahead of time. Abstracts should be provided to the instructor no later than Friday morning before the talk so notices can be distributed.

Overall Course Objectives and Expected Learning Outcomes: The goal of this course is to give students experience in giving and evaluating oral presentations on current astronomical research. By the end of the course students will be able to evaluate whether a talk is clearly organized and accessible. Graduate students will gain experience in giving an oral presentation and over the course of the full year, udergraduate students will gain this same experience. Students will be exposed to a range of current astronomical research topics and gain an appreciation for the research being done in the department.

Grading: Pass/fail. At least 80% attendance is required to pass, and students must present a talk as described above.

Feedback: Students who work with a faculty member should get feedback on their talks from their advisers. The instructor will be available to provide feedback to all other students and answer any questions about the seminar immediately after the talks.

Disability Information:
Students with a documented disability that impacts their work in this class should contact me to discuss their needs. Disabled students should also register with the Disability Support Services Office in the Ley Student Center.


Jan 13 Laura Perez (MPfIR) Characterizing the Epoch of Planet Formation in Circumstellar Disks
Jan 20 Andrea Isella Organizational Meeting
Jan 27 Adam Kraus (UT Austin) The Ruinous Impact of Close Binaries on Planetary Systems
Feb 3 Louis Strigari (TAMU-Texas A&M) Galactic searches for dark matter
Feb 10 Jeremy Sakstein (ICG Portsmouth) Testing gravity using astrophysics
Feb 17 Yann Boehler (Rice) Planet formation around binary star
Feb 24 Peter Gonthier (Hope college) The Radio and Gamma-Ray Sky for Millisecond Pulsars
Mar 9 Andy Liao (Rice) Exploring Magnetized Shock Astrophysics with the Omega Laser
Mar 16 Martín Huarte-Espinosa (UH-CACDS)  Computational models of magnetized outflows from young stellar objects
Mar 23 Joshua Jones (Rice)
Shangfei Liu (Rice/LANL)
Optical and Infrared RV Study of T Tauri Star DS Tau
What can we learn from the structural diversity of extrasolar planets?
Mar 30 Joseph Barchas (Rice) TBD
Apr 6 Mishaal Hassan / Jason Ling (Rice) CQ Tau: a Kuiper belt in formation/TBD
Apr 13 Daniel Kocevski (NASA GSFC) TBD
Apr 20 Erik Weaver/ Willie Lo (Rice) TBD