Astronomy Courses at Foothill College
 
ASTRONOMY 10A GENERAL ASTRONOMY —
SOLAR SYSTEM
5 Units. Prerequisite: None.
Concurrent enrollment in ASTR 10L recommended. Five hours lecture. An introduction to astronomy, with emphasis on the planets, moons, and smaller bodies which make up our solar system, as well as the scientific search for life elsewhere in the universe. Topics include the nature of light, the atom, and telescopes, an examination of the planets and their moons and rings, the origin of the solar system, comets, asteroids, and meteors, catastrophic events (including the impact that may have killed the dinosaurs), the search for planets and life around other stars, the challenges of space travel, and modern views on extraterrestrial contact.
 
ASTRONOMY 10B GENERAL ASTRONOMY —
STELLAR SYSTEM
5 Units. Prerequisite: None.
Concurrent enrollment in ASTR 10L recommended. Five hours lecture. An introduction to astronomy, with emphasis on stars, galaxies, and the origin and evolution of the universe. Topics covered include the nature of light, atoms, and telescopes; the birth, evolution, and death of stars (including an introduction to black holes); the Milky Way Galaxy and its development over time; normal galaxies, active galaxies, and cannibal galaxies; and the Big Bang model (of the origin and ultimate fate of the cosmos). No background in science or math
is assumed.
 
ASTRONOMY 10L ASTRONOMY LABORATORY
1 Unit. Prerequisite: ASTR 10A or 10B (can be taken concurrently).
Three hours lecture-laboratory. A hands-on approach to astronomical data and equipment. Students will do experiments and observing projects about star and constellation finding, the phases of the Moon, seasons, the rotation, revolution, and sphericity of the Earth, the nature of light, the validity of astrology, etc.
 
PHYSICS 12 PHYSICS FOR POETS or
Everything You've Wanted to Know about Einstein's Work, but Were Afraid to Ask
5 Units. No prerequisites: no background in science or math is assumed!
This new course introduces students to some of the most exciting areas of modern physics, particularly those pioneered by Albert Einstein. The approach is non-mathematical, with an emphasis on the key ideas that undergird our concepts of space, time, matter, energy, and the atom. The course focuses on three areas of physics:
  • thermodynamics, the science of energy, heat, and
    the arrow of time
  • the special and general theories of relativity, with their mind-boggling new ideas of space, time, motion, and gravity
  • quantum mechanics, the bizarre theory of the subatomic realm
 
In addition to examining the physics and physicists involved with these areas, the course will also look briefly at the effects that such physics ideas have had on the humanities, including poetry, fiction, music, and the public view of scientists. We will conclude with a look at the work of Stephen Hawking, whose innovative ideas combine work from these three areas. See the new course description for more details. This class is offered in the evening in the Spring Quarter only.