Physics and Astronomy

Astronomy Lower-Division Courses

3. Nature of Universe. (5) Lecture, three hours; discussion, two hours. Not open to students with credit for or currently enrolled in course 81 or 82. No special mathematical preparation required beyond that necessary for admission to UCLA in freshman standing. Course for general UCLA students, normally not intending to major in physical sciences, on development of ideas in astronomy and what has been learned of nature of universe, including recent discoveries and developments. P/NP or letter grading.

4. Black Holes and Cosmic Catastrophes. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Essentially nonmathematical course for general UCLA students that discusses black holes and related cosmic catastrophes. White dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes are compact objects formed in violent events that terminate lives of stars and are associated with some of most energetic and explosive phenomena in astronomy: planetary nebulae and novae (white dwarfs), supernovae, pulsars, galactic X-ray sources, and gamma ray bursts. Supermassive black holes form in nucleus of young galaxies, and gravitational accretion of matter onto black holes powers most energetic objects in universe — quasars. Universe was born in ultimate cosmic explosion — Big Bang — that may have derived its energy from quantum mechanical vacuum. P/NP or letter grading.

5. Life in Universe. (4) Lecture, four hours; discussion, one hour. Preparation: prior introduction to astronomy. Life on Earth and prospects for life elsewhere in context of evolution of universe from simple to complex. Course material primarily from astronomy and biology but includes some chemistry, geology, and physics. Selected topics treated in some depth, but with little or no formal mathematics. P/NP or letter grading.

6. Cosmology: Our Changing Concepts of Universe. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Exposition of ideas about structure and evolution of universe and its contents. Special and general relativity; black holes, neutron stars, and other endpoints of stellar evolution. Expanding universe, cosmic microwave background radiation, dark matter. Big Bang and inflation. P/NP or letter grading.

7. Astronomy and Media. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour; laboratory, one hour. Designed to help nonmajors develop skills to continually learn about science through media. Detailed study of research currently in media, including meteor impacts, greenhouse effect, NASA, cosmology, and extraterrestrial life. Investigation of forces that influence science reporting. P/NP or letter grading.

19. Fiat Lux Freshman Seminars. (1) Seminar, one hour. Discussion of and critical thinking about topics of current intellectual importance, taught by faculty members in their areas of expertise and illuminating many paths of discovery at UCLA. P/NP grading.

81. Astrophysics I: Stars and Nebulae. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisites: Mathematics 31A, 31B, and Physics 1A or 1AH. Open to qualified sophomore and upper-division students. Survey of our knowledge about stars: their distances, masses, luminosities, temperatures, and interrelations between these parameters. Methods and importance for astrophysics. Variable stars. Planetary and gaseous nebulae. P/NP or letter grading.

82. Astrophysics II: Stellar Evolution, Galaxies, and Cosmology. (4) Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisites: Mathematics 31A, 31B, and Physics 1A or 1AH. Recommended: course 81, Physics 1B and 1C (or 1BH and 1CH). Open to qualified sophomore and upper-division students. Basic principles of stellar structure and evolution. Red giants, white dwarfs, novae, supernovae, neutron stars, and black holes. Pulsars and galactic X-ray sources. Milky Way galaxy and interstellar medium. Extragalactic astronomy, galaxy clustering, active galactic nuclei, and quasars. Introduction to cosmology: Hubble law, thermal history of Big Bang, and earliest moments of universe. P/NP or letter grading.

88A-88Z. Lower Division Seminars. (2 each) Seminar, two hours. Limited to freshmen. Variable topics; consult Schedule of Classes for topics to be offered in specific term. P/NP or letter grading:

88A. Cosmic Evolution. (2) Seminar, two hours. Limited to freshmen. Varied astronomical and physical processes of evolution; discussion of how, over billions of years, basic mechanisms of cosmic evolution have transformed universe from fiery origin at Big Bang into abode for intelligent life. P/NP or letter grading.

89. Honors Seminars. (1) Seminar, three hours. Limited to 20 students. Designed as adjunct to lower-division lecture course. Exploration of topics in greater depth through supplemental readings, papers, or other activities and led by lecture course instructor. May be applied toward honors credit for eligible students. Honors content noted on transcript. P/NP or letter grading.

89HC. Honors Contracts. (1) Tutorial, three hours. Limited to students in College Honors Program. Designed as adjunct to lower-division lecture course. Individual study with lecture course instructor to explore topics in greater depth through supplemental readings, papers, or other activities. May be repeated for maximum of 4 units. Individual honors contract required. Honors content noted on transcript. Letter grading.

99. Student Research Program. (1 to 2) Tutorial (supervised research or other scholarly work), three hours per week per unit. Entry-level research for lower-division students under guidance of faculty mentor. Students must be in good academic standing and enrolled in minimum of 12 units (excluding this course). Individual contract required; consult Undergraduate Research Center. May be repeated. P/NP grading.