Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Astrophysics: Exploring Exoplanets

Professor Paul Delaney of York University has long (as in more than 10 years) been one of, if not our most, popular presenters at club meetings. His presentations always pay particular attention to the fascinating topic of exoplanets, where new discoveries are being made daily. Professor Delaney will be presenting at our October 6th meeting.

For those that want to know more and are willing to invest several hours a week to develop a deeper understanding of the topic, the Australian National University in Canberra is offering the course "Astrophysics: Exploring Exoplanets" through its association with edX, which is organizes access to courses of dozens of Universities, including MIT and Harvard which govern its operation.

The course itself is free, although if you want the certificate it is $50 US. It is wise not to underestimate the effort required to complete the course, though. It will take several hours of study each week. The course starts on September 15th, and follows a schedule rather than being self-paced. Course assistants are available on-line to answer questions.

In general, the courses offered by edX are very well received. Bob VA3IL recently took "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python" (i.e. the Python programming language) and thought highly of it, although he found the assignments to be quite a bit of work (this course is probably at the high end of the workload spectrum, mind you). If you're interested in this course it started on August 26th so you likely have time to catch up.

Some other courses that were recently announced:
  • Transforming Business, Society, and Self with U.Lab: Join the global movement to build a new economy by co-sensing and co-creating the emerging future (MIT)
  • Solar Energy: Discover the power of solar energy and learn how to design a complete photovoltaic system (Australian National University)
  • Discovery Precalculus: A Creative and Connected Approach: This is an inquiry-based exploration of the main topics of Precalculus. The emphasis is on development of critical thinking skills (University of Texas at Austin)
  • The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours: Discover the literature and heroes of ancient Greece through the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey, the tragedies of Sophocles, the dialogues of Plato, and more (Harvard)
  • M&A Professional Certificate Part 1 – Concepts and Theories: An Introduction. If your goal is a career on a broker-dealer’s M&A desk (New York Institute of Finance)
  • Principles of Electric Circuits: Learn sufficient techniques for analyzing and designing circuits (Tsinghua University)
  • Introduction to jQuery: Learn how to use jQuery to simplify common tasks in JavaScript to quickly add interactivity to web pages (Microsoft)
  • Music Production and Vocal Recording Technology: Explore emerging innovations in vocal production, audio engineering, recording, and mixing (Berklee College of Music)
  • Science at the Polls: Biology for Voters, Part 1: Each year, as voters you are asked to make decisions on ballot initiatives on matters of biology, medicine, agriculture and the environment. Enroll in this course to learn how biology and your vote are connected (University of California: Berkeley)
  • Terrorism and Counterterrorism: What is the danger of terrorism, and how can the world respond effectively? (Georgetown University)
  • Electronic Interfaces: Bridging the Physical and Digital Worlds: Learn by doing: analyze, design, and build electronic interfaces between sensors and a microcontroller to build a robot or your own creation in this hands-on lab course (University of California: Berkeley)
So many courses - so little time...

Signing up is simple, and I'm sure Prof. Delaney would be delighted to see some club members showing a higher level interest in the topic.

1 comment:

  1. would love to check out one of this courses soon. always good to learn something new