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Attendance at departmental and university-sponsored seminars is an important component of your educational experience (and will be so during your entire career). The department sponsors several seminar series. You are expected to attend whenever possible. Attendance offers exposure to topics you might not otherwise see, the opportunity to observe what characteristics make for a good or not-so-good seminar presentation (important skills to develop!), and the chance to make professional contacts which could be important in your future. Seminars should be well advertised with web page postings and email reminders.


Our most formal series is the Departmental Colloquia. These seminars are often presented by visitors to the department, and thus offer insight into work being performed elsewhere in the astronomical / planetary communities. These events are usually scheduled for Friday afternoons at 3:15 PM in BX102. Coffee, tea, and cookies are usually provided at 3:00 PM in advance of the talk. When a visitor comes to town to present a colloquium, we generally try to arrange for students to spend time with that visitor. This can include a group of students taking the speaker to lunch or dinner.

Pizza lunch

A less formal but no less important series is our Pizza Lunch. This series has as its purpose the opportunity for presentation of new results in a relaxed setting. This can include presentations by departmental visitors, students `practicing' a talk which they will give at an upcoming conference etc. One aspect of this series is the pizzas which are delivered prior to each meeting, thus the name Pizza Lunch. Slices of pizza are available at the cost of TBD per slice.

We strongly encourage students to do pizza-lunch presentations, even one every year. If you are taking research credits via ASTR 598 (see below), you will be expected to make a presentation as part of the class.

Seminar class

ASTR 500, referred to as `Seminar class', is a 1 credit class in which first and second year students registered each of their first four semesters. This class meets weekly, at which time one of the registered students will present a talk on material covered in an assigned paper. This paper is assigned by the faculty member overseeing Seminar for that semester. Generally, there will be a particular theme for the semester. These seminar presentations are open to the entire department, and faculty and third-year and above students are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussions.

Different faculty have different philosophies of what style of seminar is most beneficial.

Research group meetings

Some of the research groups have regular meetings to discuss a variety of topics within their research area:

Tea time

We traditionally have held a tea time once per week, where different department members rotate bringing in some sort of treat for everybody to share. Please sign up when the announcement goes out.

Tea time is an informal opportunity for people to get together and discuss any variety of topics.

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Jon Holtzman 2016-05-04