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Andrea Isella's Research Group webpage

Spring 2017 – ASTR400/500


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, undergraduate 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 11 Susan Terebey  (CalState LA) Variability and mass accretion in protostars Isella
Jan 18 Andrea Isella Organizational Meeting
Jan 25 Andy Liao  A new platform for magnetized HEDLA experiments using the MIFEDS on the OMEGA laser
Feb 1 Konstantin Batygin (Caltech)  Origins of Orbital Architectures of Close-in Extrasolar Planets  Isella
Feb 8 Marcos Garcia-Garcia  A Grand-Unified model for Cosmology  Amin
Feb 15
Mike Boylan-Kolchin (UT Austin)
 Near-field Cosmology: Big Science from Small Galaxies  Amin
Feb 22  Erik Weaver/ Jason Ling  Journal Club
Mar 1 Christopher Johns-Krull  Magnetically Controlled Accretion onto Young Stars: Testing
Current Models
Mar 8  Yingchao Lu / Jo Barchas Magnetized jet creation using a hollow ring of laser beams

Journal Club

Mar 15  Spring Break
Mar 22  Rachel Bowyer/ Isaiah Tristan A Brief Discussion of the Hubble Constant
A Search for Host Stars of Free-Floating Planetary Mass Objects
Mar 29  Laura Flag/ Jia-Liang Shen (Ace)  Journal Club
Apr 5  Willie Lo/ Keshawn Ivory  Undergraduate Research talk
 Apr 12  Andrew Marshall/ Maxwell Hummel  The first discovery of a GRB afterglow independent of a high-energy trigger

A Journal Club Style Presentation on The Trappist-1 System

 Apr 19 Pat Hartigan  The Great American Solar Eclipse (Part I)