The Department of Astronomy plans to modify Astronomy la, lb, and 120 to direct them at the serious study of astronomy, Fred L. Whipple, department chairman, announced yesterday. The course changes, if approved by the Faculty, would place more emphasis on the technical aspects of astronomy than they do at present.
"Until now we may not have given enough consideration to the person who has a technical interest in astronomy or who may want to become an astronomy," he said. "This plan would give a troughs progression of courses for the man who wants to go into astronomy."
Under the new program, a student would need a previous knowledge of trigonometry or to be enrolled in Mathematics 1 concurrently to qualify for Astronomy la and 1b. No mathematical prerequisites are set at present for either course.
Astronomy 1a and 1b presently are introductory courses which attract both science concentrators and students with a "cultural" interest in astronomy, Whipple said. When modified, they would involve more mathematics and would be definitely scientific in approach. Whipple indicated that another course with a "cultural orientation" might be offered for those with a casual interest in astronomy.
The new plan would expand Astronomy 120, Practical Astronomy, from a half-year course to a full-year course. "The change would give students a more thorough treatment of the material at a more leisurely pace," he explained.
The proposed changes have only been recommended by the Department of Astronomy as yet. For adoption, they await approval from the Committee on Educational Policies and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.