|Instructor Info:||Salman Hameed|
Office Extension x6160
Office Extension x5323
|TA Info:||Allison Burhoe|
Are we alone in the universe? The essence of that question has likely been a source of inspiration since the dawn of humanity. The modern science of astrobiology is a transdisciplinary study of extraterrestrial life in the universe drawing from active research in astrophysics, biology, chemistry, and geology. A microbiologist, an astronomer, and a planetary scientist have teamed up to take you through this inter-disciplinary course, where we will look at the history of extraterrestrial debate and analyze the science behind astrobiology. We will investigate the properties of life as we know it and extrapolate these properties to consider the potential for simple life forms to exist on Mars and elsewhere in our solar system, to the possibility of intelligent life on habitable planets near distant stars, and finally the implications of extraterrestrial life to life on Earth.
Evaluations in this class will be based on four different components:
Readings & class participation: You are expected to have read the assigned reading for each class, and come prepared to participate in the class discussion. Your class participation will be part of your final evaluation. You may also be asked to lead a class discussion during the semester.
Weekly collaborative assignments: When you arrive in class each week, you will be handed a sheet of discussion questions that should help focus your thinking about the topic of the week. We will spend the first 15 - 30 minutes of each class working collaboratively in groups of 2 - 4 students discussing and then writing answers to those questions. These will be handed in and graded. Those ideas will also form the basis for that week's discussions in class.
In-class assessments: There will be at least three in-class assessments given during the semester. These assessments will cover material in the current week's reading assignments as well as previously-discussed material from the class. Please come to class prepared!
Research Papers: There will be three extended papers assigned over the course of the semester covering different topics discussed in the class. Due dates and times for these papers are on the class schedule (see below). All papers must be submitted online to Moodle and no late papers will be accepted. No exceptions! All papers must be in either PDF or Doc format. Papers must not exceed the required length, which is 5 pages for NS257 and 10 pages for NS337. Papers should use 1.5 space line spacing, have 1" margins, and use 12 pt. font. There should be a page number on each and every page. Your paper must have a title. Ideas from the primary literature should be cited within the text and a full reference list must be included at the end of each paper. You may use any consistent format for the references.
For Hampshire Students
In order to receive an evaluation you must complete all work on time, attend class, and hand in a final portfolio. In order to receive a designation of 'satisfactory completion' you must meet all of the requirement and your work must show sufficient effort and proficiency with the general themes of the class. If you miss more than one class, you will not recieve an evaluation (remember: the class only meets once a week).
For Five-College Students
You will receive a letter grade at the end of the semester. Your grade will be lowered if you miss more than one class during the semester (remember the class only meets once a week).
General Class Policies
Plagiarism is a serious offense and will not be tolerated. If a student is found guilty of plagiarism, he or she will not receive an evaluation for this class and the case will be brought before the Dean of your home institution.
Readings are available on the course webpage for each class period (see below). You will also be expected to find and read articles in the primary literature relating to the topics of your three major papers.
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