Astronomy minor a possibility for non-science majors

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is looking to change the course requirements for a minor in astronomy to attract non-science majors, a professor in the department said.

Peter Frinchaboy, an astronomy and astrophysics professor, said the earliest the requirements would change is next fall. There is only one student currently minoring in astronomy, he said.

“We are looking into possibly changing the minor so it would attract more non-science majors that are interested in astronomy, but are maybe a little put off by the physics requirements,” Frinchaboy said.

The astronomy minor courses have been more astrophysics based in the past, Frinchaboy said. The changes in the curriculum would include swapping general physics classes for planetary science classes, he said.

“The enrollment in the introductory astronomy courses is pretty good,” he said. “We’re hoping to keep some of that interest level for people who enjoy those courses, but may be a little scared of the harder physics courses.”

Senior astronomy major Aaron Lobaugh said the changes could help boost interest for non-science majors to minor in astronomy.

“Beforehand, the minor requirements were somewhat daunting to someone who isn’t a science major,” Lobaugh said.

Rhiannon Mayne, the curator of the Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Collection and assistant professor of meteoritics and planetary science, said that along with the proposed revisions for astronomy, new classes will be added.

The subject matter of the classes added will include meteorites, asteroids and planets, evolution and exploration of the solar system and a planetary material class, Mayne said. She said the courses will be cross-listed with geology and physics but will not count as core classes.