RESEARCH TECHNIQUES IN ASTRONOMY - 2020/1

Module code: PHY3054

Module Overview

In this module, students will learn key methods adopted in astrophysics to carry out advanced research: scientific computing, statistics and data analysis. Much of the course develops highly transferrable skills that apply to science research in general. The goal is to ensure that students are well-prepared for either their research year or their future careers.

Module provider

Physics

Module Leader

GUALANDRIS Alessia (Physics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: F500

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

The module will assume prior knowledge equivalent to the following modules. If you have not taken these modules you should consult the module descriptors – Introduction to Astronomy (PHY2071)

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  1. Scientific computing:


    1. A first program in Python, reading and writing data, arrays and data structures, visualisation



  2. Numerical methods:

    1. Integration, root finding, sorting, histograms and distributions



  3. Statistics:

    1. Error analysis, probability density distributions and moments

    2. Sampling, fitting, comparing data and models





 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 50
Examination FINAL EXAM - 1.5 hours 50

Alternative Assessment

None.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the basic principles of python programming and scripting, statistics and data analysis, as detailed in the learning outcomes.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of one piece of coursework and a final exam:



  • Coursework


  • Final exam



The final exam will be 1.5 hours long and will contain two sections: section A (15 marks) is compulsory and all questions will need to be answered; section B has 3 questions of 15 marks each, with 2 questions to be answered, for a total of 45 marks.

 

Formative assessment and feedback

Detailed written feedback will be provided for submitted coursework. Additional feedback will be provided during lab sessions by means of verbal feedback from the academics.

 

Module aims

  • Provide a clear perspective of how astrophysical research is conducted
  • Provide an introduction and hands-on experience of numerical tools used in scientific research

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
002 Understand basic numerical methods for astrophysical research like integration and root finding KCPT
005 Understand and apply key statistical concepts like error analysis, sampling and fitting KCPT
004 Analyse and manipulate photometric and spectroscopic data sets to extract physical properties KPT
001 Design and construct programs and scripts in the modern and flexible Python language to perform tasks on real or simulated data KCPT
003 Visualise real or simulated data PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 11

Laboratory Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to help students gain a basic understanding of the main research techniques used in astrophysics and prepare them for a research year or future career in science.

 

The learning and teaching methods include:



  • 11 hours of lectures (1h/week)


  • 22 hours of computational lab (2h/week)



 

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for RESEARCH TECHNIQUES IN ASTRONOMY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/phy3054

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics MPhys 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Astronomy MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics MSc 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Astronomy BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Quantum Technologies MPhys 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Quantum Technologies BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics MPhys 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics MPhys 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics MMath 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.