Course Syllabus


This course satisfies GE Categories II (Science/Technology) and Va (Quantitative Literacy). All assignments will require some basic math and an understanding of the scientific method and the fundamental laws of nature discussed in class.  These requirements are linked directly to a real understanding of the science of astrobiology.

Requirements / grading

Final Exam: 30 % (May 12 10:30 - 12:30 p.m. in lecture hall)

Midterm: 25% (Tue April 28 in lecture hall)  

On-line Quizzes: 6%

2 Homework Assignments: 15% (Due Apr 23) + 15% (Due May 28) 

4 Rocketmix Modules: 9% (Online exercises via

All assignments are set up to demonstrate an understanding of the natural phenomena we observe in the universe around us and also that you understand how we approach and solve questions in the rubric of astrobiology. In homework, online modules, and in the final paper (see below) students will also be asked to discuss the scope and limitations what can be learned scientifically given the data in hand at any time (both historically and at present). 

Extra Credit:  
The night of April 23 ASUCI is hosting a night of stargazing with telescopes in Aldrich Park.  Students will receive extra credit for attending.  

Both exams are aimed at ensuring that you follow along with readings and online modules, and (most importantly) that you engage in lecture. They will test comprehension, qualitative understanding of the key concepts, and will include some calculation-based problems. These problems will ensure that students can a) identify appropriate equations for quantitative analysis; b) have a familiarity with principles underlying quantitative descriptions of the universe; and c) be able to use simple equations to make quantitative predictions about astronomy and the physical universe. 

The tests will be multiple-choice format. No makeup exams will be given. If you have a serious scheduling conflict be sure to notify me no less than 3 weeks in advance so that arrangements can be made for you to take the exam. (If you do not have a very serious reason for missing the exam then please do not ask if you can take it at another date. Only very serious reasons such as a conflict with another exam, death in the family, etc., will be considered valid.) For the exams, you will need to bring a number 2 pencil, a scantron card (I will announce the specific type in class, which will be available in the UCI bookstore).  The TA and Instructor reserve the right to check IDs during the exam.

Rocketmix Modules: 
Complementing lectures, I will assign a few online modules throughout the course using These modules offer a series of excercises to help clarify concepts and offer students (and me) immediate, personalized feedback. We have negotiated the use of modules for $20 for students of 20E this quarter. 
Enroll here: 

Canvas Pilot: The Syllabus, updated class schedule, some lectures and other material will be posted on the class website.  Please become familiar with it!  Plan to visit the site weekly for updated information.    I cannot guarantee that 100% of the information I discuss in class will be available on the site, but it should be a good guide for learning.

Email: There may be times that I send notices out to the class via email so please be sure to activate your UCINet ID and read your email at least once a week.  If you contact me via email, please put "20E" in the subject line.  Questions regarding homework, the grading of the quizzes and exams will not be answered by email. 

Add/Drop: Prof. Bullock cannot sign Add/Drop/Change cards.  Questions regarding these policies should be taken to 4109 FRH.
Students who wish to ADD, DROP, or Change their enrollment status to first try using WebREg (online), and if there are full sections or other problems, to contact Physics Student Affairs : 4109 FRH       949-824-2614

Makeups: As is standard policy for courses of this size, there will be no makeups for the quizzes, midterm exams, or the final exam.

Cheating: All UCI policies regarding cheating will be strictly enforced. Anyone caught cheating on an exam or quiz will automatically fail, the appropriate Dean(s) will be notified. Cheating includes giving or receiving assistance on an exam or quiz.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due