PHYS295 is a physics subject focusing on astronomy amd promises to provide an avenue for curious students looking to learn more about the cosmos without having to learn mathematical physics.

Headed by Dr Nicholas Jones, the subject has no prerequisites and any student can enrol. The subject is worth six credit points and students can do all their work online or can involve themselves in the various practical demonstrations with various professional astronomy equipment on offer throughout the course.

“This is actually a subject that began all the way back in the 1990s,” Dr Nicholas said.

“The philosophy of PHYS295 is to say, well let’s introduce concepts in science and let’s use astronomy as the backbone.

“We make no assumption on the background of anyone.”

The subject promises to use concepts rather than mathematics to inspire curiosity. PHYS295 exams involve no mathematics and instead tests a student’s knowledge of the concepts they learned.

The practical demonstrations extends beyond the classroom. Students have the opportunity to engage in hands-on labs where they delve into the fascinating construction of telescopes and gain insights into the measurement of various light sources using an array of specialised tools. It’s an immersive journey into the world of astronomy that goes beyond theory, offering a deeper understanding of the cosmos.

Professor Shaila Akhter also helps teach the subject and assists with the ‘Night Sky Viewing’ session. Students use professional-grade telescopes to observe various celestial objects and stars in the night sky, enhancing their learning experience.

“Students come up and they can see all sorts of cosmic objects in the night sky,” Dr Shaila said.

“Seeing it with their own eyes is a big moment.

“It’s knowing about the objects too, applying the knowledge they’ve learnt to identify and explain what they’re seeing.”

For UOW students on the Wollongong campus, these practical demonstrations and labs exploring astronomical concepts are available throughout the semester, but students abroad or who are unable to make it to campus, have access to a whole host of online astronomical tools as well.

Information on the subject can be found in the course handbook here.

Video: The professors of PHYS295 share how their passion for astronomy began

Professors Nicholas Jones and Shaila Akhter are teaching astronomy at UOW, but their passion for astronomy began far earlier in life. They promise to share their passion and inspire a love for the night sky to any keen students willing to enrol in PHYS295. The subject that allows students to learn and observe the night sky with professional astronomy equipment.