Fall 2014 Courses

Course Title & Description Instructor
PTYS 510A

Cosmochemistry (3)


PTYS Graduate Core Course. This course discusses the chemical processes important for the formation of our solar system and that subsequently acted on the objects within the solar system. It also discusses nuclear processes responsible for synthesis of the elements and alteration of isotopic abundances. Sample course syllabus, Zega (PDF)
Zega
PTYS 512

Planetary Global Tectonics (3)


PTYS Graduate Core Course. Application of the physics of solid-state deformation to global tectonics of the terrestrial planets and icy moons of the solar system. Modes of topographic support, isostasy and implications for gravity/topography ratios on one-plate planets. Theory of floating elastic plates as an approximation to the lithosphere. Use of seismic data to determine the interior structure and composition and modes of heat conduction in planets.
Course syllabus (PDF)
Showman
PTYS 516

Asteroids, Comets and Kuiper Belt Objects (3)


This is an introduction to the "minor planets," the asteroids, comets and Kuiper Belt objects. The focus will be on origin and evolution (including current evolution), as well as techniques of study. It will include an evening at the telescope of an asteroid search program. Graduate-level requirement includes some original work or calculations in the paper/project submitted and to research one of the primary topics and lead the class discussion of it. May be co-convened with PTYS 416.
Malhotra
PTYS 518

Instrumentation and Statistics (3)


Radiant energy; signals and noise; detectors and techniques for imaging, photometry, polarimetry and spectroscopy. Examples from stellar and planetary astronomy in the x-ray, optical, infrared and radio. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper. Identical to ASTR 518. ASTR is home department.
Hinz/Rieke
PTYS 519

Physics of the Earth (3)


Fundamentals of the physics of the solid earth, including thermodynamics, rheology, geomagnetism, gravity, and plate tectonics. Graduate-level requirements include a term paper in publication format on some aspect of a major course topic. Identical to: GEOS 519; GEOS is home department. May be convened with: PTYS 419. Usually offered: Spring.
Richardson
PTYS 541A

Dynamic Meteorology (3)


Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Identical to ATMO 541A. ATMO is home department. (3)
Zeng
PTYS 551

Remote Sensing of Planetary Surfaces (3)


Remote-sensing based exploration of planetary surfaces, including that of the Earth as relevant to other planets. Emphasis will be on compositional, geologic, and geophysical interpretations via remote sensing throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Course will cover basic principles, image and spectroscopic analysis techniques, case studies in planetary remote sensing, and many examples from past, current, and potential future spacecraft missions. Equivalent to/crosslisted GEOS 551. PTYS is home department.
Hamilton
PTYS 583

Thermodynamics in Earth and Planetary Sciences (3)


Principles of classical and irreversible thermodynamics. Thermo-chemical and -physical properties; equations of states for solids and gases at high pressure; phase equilibrium; multicomponent systems; electrolyte and non-electrolyte solutions; selected applications to petrology, mineralogy, geophysics, geochemistry, and planetary problems. Prerequisite(s): MATH 125; MATH 129 or MATH 124. Identical to: GEOS 583; GEOS is home department. Usually offered: Fall, Spring, alternate years.
Ganguly
PTYS 594A

Planetary Geology Field Studies


The acquisition of first-hand experience with geologic processes and features, focusing on how those features/processes relate to the surfaces of other planets and how accurately those features/processes can be deduced from remote sensing data. This is a three- to five-day field trip to an area of geologic interest where each student gives a short presentation to the group. This trip typically involves camping and occasional moderate hiking; students need to supply their own camping materials. Students may enroll in the course up to 10 times for credit but only three enrollments will count toward the major. Trip is led by a Planetary Sciences faculty member once per semester.
PTYS594A: Planetary Geology Field Studies (Byrne)
Byrne
PTYS 597

Introduction to Planetary Science for Teachers (3)


This is an introductory course designed to provide a basic framework of planetary science content for high school and middle school science teachers. It will not focus on the application of content in other classrooms, however some activities will be included to help students adapt content for their own use. The general objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the dynamic range of processes, features, and histories of the solar system and its bodies. We'll take a tour of solar system formation, compare surface processes (e.g. impact cratering, volcanism) on different planets, discuss near earth asteroids and their interaction with Earth, and a host of other exciting topics. Our knowledge of what is happening in space around us has grown dramatically in the last several decades as we send more spacecrafts out to distant planets and places. We will discuss what kinds of data those spacecraft collect, how we use it to explore the solar system, and what kinds of discoveries we've made about our planet-neighbors. PTYS 597 course syllabus (PDF)
Course page: PTYS 597 (001) Byrne/Molaro
Byrne/Molaro