Mozambique Unit 1
3 November 2017
Professor Donald Kurtz, University of Central Lancashire, UK
11-24 October 2017
Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
Unit 1 of DARA programme was presented in Maputo, Mozambique, by Professor Donald Kurtz of the University of Central Lancashire over two weeks in October 2017. This section of Unit 1 provided an introductory astrophysics course to 12 students, who included six Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) teaching faculty, two people who work for the department of meteorology, one electronics technician from UEM, and three final-year UEM undergraduate physics students. This astrophysics course was based on the University of Central Lancashire’s introductory astrophysics course, with the teaching for DARA being at third-year physics level. This course is normally taught on campus in the UK in 24 two-hour lectures over an entire academic year, with 12 three-hour labs for project work. Of course, over an entire academic year there is also plenty of time for reflection and outside work on problem sets. In the case of this DARA programme delivery of this same course was in 10 lecture full days!
This gave an intensive schedule of lectures, presentations and problem-solving. The students and lecturer were fully engaged and interactive. The enthusiasm for astronomy was dramatically raised by the course. Friendships were made all around that will carry forward, and the result of the course will change the life direction of many of the students. This was a rewarding experience for everyone.
Professor Kurtz also presented a colloquium on to the Department of Physics of UEM. This was largely about his research specialty, asteroseismology, but included significant material on exoplanets. The title of the talk was “Asteroseismology: The New Keplerian Revolution”. About 50 UEM students and faculty attended, with good questions and discussion following the talk. The head of the department of physics was complimentary about the talk, and said that he came away with a more positive view of the study of astronomy, a good sign for DARA and for astronomy at UEM.