Semester Project - Beyond the Basics
Format: The semester project is a research paper and oral presentation describing cutting-edge research into the planetary bodies.
Rationale: Every semester, I present a frustrating tease - a general orientation to the planets followed by surveys of major topics in geosciences as applied to them. We never have time, in lecture, to pull it all back together with a review of planetary science that takes advantage of all that you have learned. In fact, that task falls to you.
Deliverables: Every group (sigh) will:
- give a ten-twelve minute presentation on a topic to be assigned during the last week of lecture. Plan to support your presentation with PowerPoint or something similar.
- Submit an eight - ten page paper. (Due on the last day of lecture - 12/11/17.)
Group project: (Sigh) Yes, everyone dislikes these, but the projects are, nevertheless, to be developed by pairs of students. This is necessary because:
- There would not be sufficient time otherwise
- In the professional world, almost all projects are group projects, so you ought to be learning the skills of organizing them.
- Recent discoveries about them, and the sources of the data from which they came
- Major unanswered questions that recent investigations raise
- Plans for investigations that are currently in progress (space craft in route and what they will reveal, etc.), proposals that have been made (i.e. someone has actually asked for funding) for future research, or concepts that have not reached the solid proposal stage.
- NOTE: Reviews of information already presented by me may make up no more than one fifth of your overall presentation.
Bibliographies: Everything about this project requires proper citations. My expectation is that your bibliography:
- Will contain at least ten items
- You may use on-line resources ONLY if they are:
- the online versions of print literature (E.G. Scientific publications like Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, etc.)
- Are peer-reviewed scientific journals with no print equivalent, like PLOS One.
- Planetary Science Research Discoveries (PSRD) site at: http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/Archive/Contents.html. These items vary from being abstracts to being full-blown articles for the non-expert, and may be cited in your bibliography.
- The bibliographies at the end of lecture notes could provide a useful starting point.
- Sources that you may not cite but that you would be crazy to ignore such as:
- Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog
- The Planetary Society's blogs (especially that of Emily Lakdawalla.)
- Space Daily
- from machines with UMD IP-Addresses
- or through Research Port
Citation style: As long as proper citations are included, you are free to use whatever style you prefer. That said, the Council of Scientific Editors (CSE) style is commonly used in scientific writing and is wonderfully easy to use. (Just sayin'.) (See also Link to my citation recommendations.)
If you have any problem accessing your project, let me know as soon as possible. Remember, the talk plus the paper account for 15% of your final grade! The default grade for a good, workmanlike job is an A. (Just sayin'.). ;-)