Physics 390/490: Jr/Sr Seminar
Spring 2013

Professor: Julie Rathbun
Office: Appleton Hall of Numbers 129
ext. 8661

Office Hours: M W 10:30 am - noon, T 11:00 am - noon, also check my schedule for times that I am availible.

Senior Seminar: M W 1:00 - 2:20 pm (AHON 101)
Junior Seminar: T 9:30 - 10:50 am (AHON 117) and W 1:00 - 2:20 pm (AHON 101)

Syllabus for Jr Sem | Syllabus for Sr Sem


Final projects are due by the end of the day on Tuesday, April 22nd.
Everyone (juniors and seniors) must turn in a portfolio of all work accomplished this semester and a self-evaluation of the quality of that work and what you learned over the course of the semester.
In addition, Seniors must turn in completed senior projects (judged on writing and resources), and evaluations of the Juniors that helped with their senior projects.
In addition, Juniors must turn in evaluations of the seniors that they assisted with their senior projects and a revised resume or cv and a revised senior project proposal (signed by their senior project advisor).

For Juniors only, a draft of your senior project proposal is due Monday, April 14th at 1 pm. This must include a title, name of your advisor, a brief (~1 page) description of the scientific question you plan to address, and at least 3 references (At least 2 of which must be scholarly journal articles). Images would be helpful. We will discuss these proposals on Tuesday and you will present them to the entire class on Wednesday in a 5 minute powerpoint with figures.

For seniors only, a complete second draft of your thesis must be written and sent to your minions, all the other seniors, and your advisor by Friday, April 4th. (Anyone attempting to do honors must send to their entire committee.) Be ready to discuss each others drafts on Monday, April 7th. Juniors must write up comments on that draft by Friday, April 11th. Seniors be ready to discuss Junior's comments on Monday, April 14th.

For Juniors only, write a cv or resume and e-mail it to everyone by Friday, March 28th at 1pm. Be prepared to give a 5-minute talk on a paper of your choice (on the topic of your senior project) on both Tuesday, April 1 and Wednesday, April 2. By Friday, April 4th, email to me a one-page description of the current state of your senior project proposal. Include: (a) On a scale of 1 (no idea) to 5 (I know exactly what I'm doing), tell me how final you are on your project idea; (b) a title for your project; (c)the name of your project advisor; (d) a brief description of the project; and (e) 3 references (journal articles or books).

For seniors only, write up a page or less on how your paper will change due to giving the talk and the questions you received. E-mail this to me by Friday, March 28th at 1 pm. Also, include the final version of the slides for your presentation.

For the week of March 17-21, work in groups on the seniors' talks. The seniors must practice their talk in front of their group and receive written comments from their minions. They should update their talk based on the comments of the minions, and send the new talk slides to me by Friday, March 21st at 1pm.

For Juniors only, pick 2-3 articles about your chosen senior project, e-mail these articles (pdfs or links) to me by Friday, March 21st at 1 pm.

Due Wednesday, March 12th at 1pm: Read chapter 15 in the textbook and watch teh following presentations: Prebiotic Chemistry and Enceladus' cracked core. For each talk, answer the following questions:

Due Monday, March 10th:

Due Wednesday, February 26th at 1pm: Read chapters 16 & 17 in the textbook and this paper about equations.

Due Wednesday, February 19th at 1pm: Read chapters 10 & 11 in the textbook. Using all of the papers we've read so far, choose 2 illustrations. Each must be from a different paper and of a different type. It would also be beneficial to choose a good example and a bad example, or one precise and one imprecise, or at least with different levels of complexity. For each illustration

Bonus: Can you find a place in one of the papers where a figure is unnecessary? How about where an additional figure would help?

For seniors, questions to ask when visitng graduate schools:

Due Wednesday, February 12th at 1pm: Read chapters 8 & 9 in the textbook and THEN read this paper from Kyle and this paper from Sam. Using all of the papers we've read so far, find examples of each of the following (at least one must be from today's paper).

  • redundancy
  • written zeros
  • fat phrases
  • varying sentence openers
  • varying sentence length
    Also, find one equation from one of today's papers and one from an earlier paper and compare.

    For seniors only, due by Wednesday February 5th at 1 pm: The following exercises:

    During the class time, discuss the following and send a single e-mail to the professor with class answers:

    Due Monday, February 3rd at 1pm: Read chapters 6 & 7 in the textbook and THEN read this paper from Freeman and Casey. Using all of the papers we've read so far, find examples of each of the following (at least one must be from today's paper).

  • use of "pretentious words" or "arrogant phrases"
  • strong or weak nouns
  • strong or weak verbs
  • definition of an unfamiliar term
  • using an example or an analogy
  • imprecise language OR needless complexity OR ambiguity

    Due Wednesday, January 29th at 1pm: Read chapters 4 & 5 in the textbook and THEN read this paper from Ben and one from Murphy. Answer the following questions and bring answers to class:

  • Which word pairs do you have the most trouble with?
  • How do the audiences for these 2 papers compare with the previous papers we've read?
  • In each of these articles and one of the earlier ones, find an example of imprecise language, needless complexity, or ambiguity.

    Due Wednesday, January 22nd at 1pm: Read chapter 2 & 3 int he textbook, a paper from Erik, and a paper from Rachael. Answer the following questions for each paper and bring answers to class:

  • What does the title tell you? Enough information? Can you come up with a better title?
  • Does the abstract satisfactorily summarize the article? Can you find anything missing?
  • For the paper, what exactly is the work and why is it important?
  • What do the section titles tell you? Are they parallel?
  • Compare these papers to each other and last week's in term of depth and emphasis of details

    Due Wednesday, January 15th at 1pm: Read the syllabus for your class, chapter 1 in the textbook, and this paper. Answer the following questions and bring your answers to class.:

  • Who is the audience for this paper? How do you know? Give a direct quote from the paper and how this demonstrates the audience.
  • What is the structure of this paper? Make an outline.
  • Pick a different audience. Rewrite the above sentence for that audience.

    Due Tuesday, January 14th at 4pm: Go over this presentation and answer the questions at the end of the document. Also, fill out this poll of times that you are free or busy. Use Yes to indicate a free time, No a busy time, and (Yes) for a time that could be free. Even though this poll is for a specific week, make it for all weeks. I will be assigning subgroups and your group will be based on your free time.
    Work related values test

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    Updated 8/7/08