RESEARCH TECHNIQUES IN ASTRONOMY - 2017/8
Module code: PHY3054
GUALANDRIS A Dr (Physics)
Number of Credits
FHEQ Level 6
Module cap (Maximum number of students)
Overall student workload
Lecture Hours: 11
Laboratory Hours: 22
|Assessment type||Unit of assessment||Weighting|
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)
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.
Provide a clear perspective of how astrophysical research is conducted
Provide an introduction and hands-on experience of numerical tools used in scientific research
|Design and construct programs and scripts in the modern and flexible Python language to perform tasks on real or simulated data||KCPT|
|Understand basic numerical methods for astrophysical research like integration, differentiation and root finding||KCPT|
|Visualise real or simulated data and prepare graphics and animations for presentations||PT|
|Understand and apply key statistical concepts like Bayesian vs frequentist statistics, error analysis, fitting, comparison between data and models||KCPT|
|Analyse and manipulate large data sets to extract physical properties||KPT|
C - Cognitive/analytical
K - Subject knowledge
T - Transferable skills
P - Professional/Practical skills
Indicative content includes:
a first program in python, reading and writing data, visualising data, scripting tasks, numerical integration, differentiation, root finding
simulation techniques i.e. N-body simulations, Monte Carlo simulations
Bayesian vs frequentist statistics, likelihood functions, distributions and moments, fitting, comparing data and models, error analysis
Handling large data files, extracting physical quantities of interest, image analysis, copying with noise and systematic errors.
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)
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 1 piece of coursework and a final exam:
Coursework on scientific programming, scripting and simulation techniques (deadline week 8)
For coursework the students will submit a report including a description of the problem and a critical discussion of the results obtained, and the original code developed for the task.
Formative assessment and feedback
Formative assessment consists of 1 piece of coursework (Coursework 0) on python programming and scripting (deadline week 5), for which the students will receive detailed feedback. Additional feedback will be provided during lab sessions by means of verbal feedback from the academics.
Reading list for RESEARCH TECHNIQUES IN ASTRONOMY : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/phy3054
Programmes this module appears in
|Physics BSc (Hons)||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 Quantum Technologies 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|
|Physics with Quantum Technologies MPhys||1||Optional||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics MPhys||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 Astronomy MPhys||1||Compulsory||A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module|
|Mathematics and Physics MMath/MPhys||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 2017/8 academic year.