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Planetary Science Course with Mike Brown — MOOC
Please enter one name and email address per registrant.

About the Event

Are you ready for Spring Term?

Join Alumni for a Caltech Only Cohort of Mike Brown’s Spring Online Course, Science of the Solar System—the top rated online Physical Science course in the world! Co-sponsored by the Caltech Alumni Association and Caltech’s Center for Teaching, Learning & Outreach.

Learn with each other and alongside Caltech students taking Ge/Ay 11c on campus spring term. In addition to online videos, discussions, and homework sets, you’ll have access to Caltech student problem sets and solutions to try out and discuss, and blog posts from current Caltech students in the course about their classroom experience.

This MOOC is in session April 3-June 12, 2017.

RSVP and two weeks before the course begins, we’ll send you instructions to join the special Caltech-only online course.

A message for you from Professor Mike Brown:


Caltech Center for Teaching, Learning & Outreach (CTLO)

The CTLO supports Caltech's multifaceted educational efforts, including undergraduate and graduate courses and curricula, formal and informal learning, and partnerships with K-12 teachers and students.

Caltech Alumni Association

The mission of the Caltech Alumni Association is to promote the interests of Caltech as a world standard of academic excellence by strengthening the ties of goodwill and communication between the Institute, its alumni, and its students, and by maintaining programs to serve their needs.

About the Speaker

Mike Brown, Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor and Professor of Planetary Astronomy  

Mike Brown is the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology and has been on the faculty there since 1996.  He is known for his discovery of Eris, the largest object found in the solar system in 150 years, and the object which led to the debate and eventual demotion of Pluto from a real planet to a dwarf planet. More recently, he made the news for discovering evidence for Planet Nine—a giant planet in the outer solar system. In 2006 he was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People. At Caltech he teaches undergraduate and graduate students, in classes ranging from introductory geology to the formation and evolution of the solar system and has been awarded the Richard P. Feynman Prize, the highest teaching award at Caltech. He was also named one of Wired Online's Top Ten Sexiest Geeks in 2006, the mention of which never ceases to make his wife laugh. He is also the author of the book How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming.

Just for you:

  • A Caltech only forum where you can chat with each other about the course
  • Special interaction with Mike Brown – he’ll be responding to questions online throughout the course and hosting several live online discussions
  • Meet up with Mike Brown in person at Reunion Weekend



Q. Is the schedule flexible or do I have to tune in at particular times?

A. The schedule is very flexible-you will be able to log in to watch videos and work on problems any time of day or night and any day of the week.

Q. What is the overall time commitment?

A. Most people spend about three hours per week, but you might spend less or more time, depending on your interests and how much you want to participate in online discussions or do optional readings.

Q. What is a MOOC?

A. A MOOC is a "Massive Open Online Course." In this case, Mike Brown is providing a special closed group in the online course just for Caltech, enabling customized content and interaction not possible in the open, pubilc version.

Q. I don't have a Coursera account. Can I participate?

A. Yes! You can create a free account on Coursera's website, http://www.coursera.org, either now or when we send you the instructions before the course begins.

Q. How do I register?

A. Click on the RSVP link, "purchase" a free ticket, give us your full name and the email you already use or plan to use with Coursera, and Caltech's Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach (CTLO) will email you instructions for joining the special Caltech-only cohort two weeks before the course begins on April 3rd. Every participant needs to register seperately and provide their own email.

Q. I still have questions about signing up for the online course. Whom can I contact?

A. Contact the Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach (CTLO): ctlo@caltech.edu

Q. I have questions about alumni programs and events. Whom can I contact?

A. Contact the Caltech Alumni Association: info@alumni.caltech.edu

Questions? Contact: : events@alumni.caltech.edu

Who's Coming?