Spring 2014 Courses

Course Title & Description Instructor
PTYS 503

Physics of the Solar System (3)

Survey of planetary physics, planetary motions, planetary interiors, geophysics, planetary atmospheres, asteroids, comets, origin of the solar system. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper on a selected topic and an oral class presentation. This course does not count toward the major requirements in Planetary Sciences. Equivalent to: ASTR 503, GEOS 503, and PHYS 503 (and cross-listed); may be co-convened with PTYS 403. PTYS is home department.
Course page: PTYS 503 (001) Giacalone

Principles of Planetary Physics (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Quantitative investigation of the physical processes controlling planet formation, the orbital and rotational dynamics of planetary systems, the mechanical and thermal aspects of a planetary interior, and the dynamics of the Earth-Moon and other satellite systems. Sample course syllabus, Matsuyama (PDF)
Course page: PTYS 505B (001) Matsuyama
PTYS 517

Atmospheres and Remote Sensing (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Structure, composition, and evolution of atmospheres; atomic and molecular spectroscopy; radiative transfer and spectral line formatting.
Sample course syllabus, Showman (PDF)
Sample course syllabus, Yelle (PDF)
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.
PTYS 521

Observational Planetary Astronomy & Remote Sensing (3)

The course surveys current techniques and instrumentation used in observational astronomy, providing students with background that will allow them to consider the observational (empirical) basis of planetary astronomy. With this knowledge, students can begin to design observations to test their understanding of planetary atmospheres, surfaces, and orbital and bulk characteristics. Content includes: design of modern telescopes, optical configurations (e.g. adaptive optics), detectors, statistics, spectrometers and spacecraft instrumentation; UV, optical, infrared, sub-millimeter and radar techniques; basics of radiative transfer.
Course page: PTYS 421 (001) Griffith

Dynamic Metereology (3)

Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Graduate-level requirements include a more quantitative and thorough understanding of the subject matter. ATMO is home department.
PTYS 553

Solar System Dynamics (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Dynamical processes affecting the orbital evolution of planets, asteroids, and satellites, and the rotational evolution of solid bodies. Emphasizes modern nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Identical to ASTR 553. PTYS is home department.
Sample course syllabus, Greenberg (PDF)
Sample course syllabus, Malhotra (PDF)
Course page: PTYS 553 (001) Malhotra
PTYS 558

Plasma Physics with Astrophysical and Solar System Applications (3)

The goal of this course is to present an introduction to fundamental plasma physics and magnetohydrodynamics, beginning with kinetic theory.
The various important limits including the vlasov equation and magnetohydrodynamics will be derived. Applications will be mostly from astrophysics and the solar system. These will include the main dynamical processes in the solar atmosphere, interplanetary medium, magnetospheres, interstellar medium, blast waves, accretion disks, etc. The emphasis throughout will be on basic physical processes and the various approximations used in their application to concrete problems. Identical to ASTR 558, PHYS 558.
Course page: PTYS 558 (001) Jokipii
PTYS 575

Planetary Astrobiology (3)

This course will explore the processes related to planet formation, the properties of planets and the planetary conditions required for the emergence of life. We will study the formation of our Solar System and exoplanetary systems, the distribution and properties of exoplanets, and the potential habitability of other planets/moons in our system or extrasolar systems. The course will also review science cases and possible future astrobiology studies, both in site and via remote sensing, of astrobiologically relevant environments. Toward the end of the semester a few guest lectures will highlight particularly exciting and timely topics. This course is identical to ASTR 575; may be co-convened with ASTR 475. ASTR is home department.
PTYS 584

The Coevolution of the Earth and the Biosphere (3)

A geochemical and biological perspective on a range of topics including: early Earth and life, oxygenation of the atmosphere, the Cambrian explosion, rise of land animals, Perman gigantism, mass extinctions, green-ice-hot houses, snowball Earth and Ediacaran fauna, the rise of hominids, megafauna extinctions. GEOS is home department; course is cross-listed with GEOS/PTYS/ASTR and may be co-convened with PTYS 484. May be applied to Astrobiology minor.
PTYS 589

Topics in Theoretical Astrophysics (3)

Current topics in theoretical astrophysics in depth, with emphasis on the methodology and techniques of the theorist and the cross-disciplinary nature of astrophysics theory. Example subjects are nuclear astrophysics, hydrodynamics, transient phenomena, planetary interiors and atmospheres, neutron stars, jets and the evolution of star clusters. May be repeated for credit 1 time (maximum 2 enrollments). Identical to ASTR 589 and PHYS 589.

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)