What Students Say
• What can you learn from it?
• What is it like being an astrophysical sciences major?
• What are common misconceptions about astrophysical sciences majors?
• What kind of internships and international experiences have majors had?
• How will astrophysical sciences majors save the world?
• Why would anyone want to date an astrophysical sciences major?
What is astrophysical sciences?
The astrophysics department is rather small and very informal, which makes it a great place to be an undergrad! Normally faculty outnumber undergraduate students, so when choosing a JP or thesis advisor, you simply stop by and chat with professors working on topics you are interested in. Both JPs and your thesis must be original research (no "reading projects" here), and undergrads frequently end up publishing some of their independent work. Seniors normally also present a poster at the American Astronomical Society meeting every year.
Since it is such a small department, many people aren't even aware that it exists. Well, it does, and it is awesome.
The astro department has a very good undergraduate research summer program, which is also a great way to get to know the department. Many people also do summer research programs elsewhere, in the States or abroad (recent examples including South Africa and Germany). It is not necessary to stay summer after junior year to start thesis research, but it is possible if you want a head start.
First of all, we know that in a few billion years, the sun will run out of hydrogen in its core, expand into a red giant, and that will be the end of the Earth—sorry, there's no saving us from that. However, hopefully by then we will have discovered some new planet to live on and a way to get there. Meanwhile, we'll try our best to detect any asteroids, cosmic explosions or other things that might be bad for the world at the moment.