Rob Olling's Teaching Page

  • From the fall semester 2010 on (6 times), I have taught ASTRO300, ``Stars and Stellar Systems'' for non-science majors. This class is based on "The Cosmic Perspective," by Bennett, Donahue, Schneider & Voit (7th edition), "e-book" version. I use "Mastering Astronomy" for homeworks, tutorials and visual quizzes. The lectures include basic physics (Newtonian gravity, special & general relativity, quantum, optics, matter & light), stellar structure and evolution as well as galaxy morphology and formation and cosmology. I typically also assign the students a project in the form of writing a realistic ``Observing Proposal." For the proposal, the students presented a Notice of Intent (NOI) about two weeks before the proposal is due. Based on those NOIs, I (often) suggested to modify the proposals to more closely follow customary practice. The proposals are then evaluated both by me and by the students themselves (in a peer-review session).
  • I have also taught the Collisions in Space," class (ASTR220) at UMd (three semesters). For me this is also a very interesting course with a special focus on impacts on the Earth and the impact that killed the dinosaurs. For this class we read an interesting book by Powel on how the impact theory came about. More details on this course are available here.
  • One of my students, J. Medina, told me about this wonderful animated gif. It shows the relative sizes of Earth, Moon, Planets and various noteworthy stars. I include it right here.
  • I have mentored four students. 1 high school student: summer project; 1 graduate student: 2nd year project; 1 graduate student for masters thesis; 1 computer-science major research project (ASTR498) [this student used to be in my ASTR300 class]; 1 graduated student (astronomy minor; computer science major; recruited from my A300 class) on a project to help him gain practical experience in programming, data reduction and astrometry.
  • In 1997 and 1998, at the University of Southampton, I taught part of ``Physics of the Solar System'' (a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year course for science majors), and made a selection of nice, interesting and entertaining web sites. Try them!

  • Last Updated: 5 June 2014