Astronomy 482 - Scientific Writing - Fall 2009

Instructor: Paula Szkody  C311 PAB

Office Hrs: stop by anytime

Office Phone: 206-543-1988


Tentative Outline:

Week 1 Oct 1 Job searches
  Read ix-xxiv, 289-293
  Assign: find job ad

Week 2 Oct 6,8 Resumes
 Read 473-490, 38-42
 Assign: draft resume, letter

Week 3 Oct 13,15 Peer review
 Read 275-278,490-492,410-412
 Assign: revise resume & letter

Week 4 Oct 20,22 Newsletter
 Read 340-344,178-180,370,381-392
 Assign: group plan for newsletter

Week 5 Oct 27,29 Public writing
  Read 499-510,517-522, 541-543,550-558,378-381,406-410,578-580
 Assign: draft newsletter

Week 6 Nov 3,5 Reviews
 Read 399-400
 Assign: revise newsletter

Week 7 Nov 10,12 Journals
  Read 537-541
  Assign: Journal topic, write Intro

Week 8 Nov 17,19 Review
  Assign: continue draft

Week 9 Nov 24 Refs, figs,tables
  Read 134-156,523-525,559-563
  Assign: revise journal paper

Week 10 Dec 1,3 Abstracts
  Read 7-9
  Assign: write abstract

Week 11 Dec 8,10 Review
  Assign: finish revision




Course description

This course is designed to help you with your current and future writing needs in Astronomy/Physics. You will learn how to write resumes and letter for jobs or grad schools, newsletters and articles for the public and papers for scientific journals. You will gain practice in writing correctly, accurately, and in communicating in the right way for a specific audience. In addition, you will be expected to act as a reviewer of written materials (those published and those written by your fellow students).


Resume and letter:  20%
Newsletter article:  30%
Journal paper:  40%
In-class exercises, reviews:  10%

Your writing will be evaluated on Content (quality of ideas, organization, audience awareness), Style (individuality, wording) and Correctness (grammar, punctuation, spelling). Only the final versions of resume/letter, article and paper will be graded - drafts, exercises and reviews are for practice.

Some useful links:

AAS Career Page
TJO Observatory
AAS journals
OWL at Purdue
MIT Science Tracker