Fall 2018 Graduate Courses

Core Course

Principles of Planetary Physics (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Introductory physics of planetary and interplanetary gases, fluids and plasmas. Thermodynamics, kinetic theory, plasma physics, hydrodynamics, and magnetohydrodynamics with solar-system applications. This includes planetary atmospheres, turbulence, solar wind, solar-system magnetic fields, dynamo theory, and planetary magnetospheres. Students will be expected to be familiar with vector calculus and both ordinary and partial differential equations. Sample course syllabus, Giacalone (PDF).

Core Course

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.
Sample course syllabus, McEwen (PDF)
Sample course syllabus, Showman (PDF)

(001) Showman

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.

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.

(001) Bender/Hinz

Nanoscale Analysis of Materials Using Transmission Electron Microscopy (3)

This course discusses the theory and practice of transmission electron microscopy as applied crystalline solids. Among the topics to be covered include electron scattering and diffraction, image formation, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and electron energy-loss spectroscopy. Weekly lectures will be accompanied by several laboratory practical sessions. Emphasis will be placed on quantitative analysis of material structure and composition as well as the identification of unknown materials. Equivalent to: MSE 526; PTYS is home department.

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.

(001) Zeng

Stars and Accretion (4)

Equations of hydrodynamics; hydrodynamic equilibrium; polytropes; waves, and instabilities; convection and turbulence; radiative transfer; stellar atmospheres; stellar winds; nuclear reactions; stellar structure; helioseismology; stellar evolution; supernovae; white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes; magnetohydrodynamics; accretion flows. Identical to: ASTR 545; ASTR is home department. Usually offered: Fall.

(001) Eisner/Youdin

Astrochemistry (3)

This astrochemistry course is the study of gas phase and solid state chemical processes that occur in the universe, including those leading to pre-biotic compounds. Topics include chemical processes in dying stars, circumstellar gas, planetary nebulae, diffuse clouds, star-forming regions and proto-planetary discs, as well as planets, satellites, comets and asteroids. Observational methods and theoretical concepts will be discussed. Graduate-level requirements include a project and an oral exam. Identical to ASTR 588A; may be convened with ASTR 488A. ASTR is home department.

(001) Ziurys

Planetary Geology Field Studies (1)

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. Trip is led by a Planetary Sciences faculty member once per semester.

Special Topics in Planetary Science (1-3)

Course will emphasize emerging and current topical research in Planetary Science; course will be offered as needed or required.  Sample course topics might include an active spacecraft mission, an emerging research area, or new discoveries.  Course may be co-convened with PTYS 495B. Graduate-level requirements may include an additional project for graduate credit and extra questions on exams, depending on the course/topic taught. Course may be repeated for credit 3x (or up to 9 units).

(001) Reddy

Section 001 (Reddy) is 2 units, Communicating Science. 

(002) Harris

Section 002 (Harris) is 3 units, Observational Campaigns. Observational campaigns are often assembled around astronomical events of significance such as a favorable comet appearance or as ‘under-flight’ for mission events.  Campaigns can take various forms focusing on a combination of cadence, wavelength coverage, and coordinating multiple observational techniques, all with the aim of developing a more integrated understanding of the phenomenon being studied.  In this course, students will participate in an ongoing campaign. They will be introduced to the scientific goals of the campaign and how the various instrumental tools are combined to address them. They will then become involved in the execution of the observations and the preliminary analysis of the data obtained. Field-participation will be a required element.

(003) Andrews-Hanna | Course Page

Section 003 (Andrews-Hanna) is 3 units, Evolution of the Terrestrial Planets. This course will explore the evolution of the terrestrial planets (including the Moon), with an emphasis on internal evolution and geodynamics. We will focus on each individual body, and the processes and properties that governed its evolution from accretion to present-day. In so doing, we will build on the theory taught in other classes, but with a greater emphasis on application to the planets. Lectures will be supplemented by readings and discussions.

Methods in Computational Astrophysics (3)

The course is a "hands-on" introduction to computer use for research by scientists in astrophysics and related areas. The course begins with a survey of and introduction to tools available on Linux systems, web-based tools, and open-source software widely used in astrophysics. Standard methods for integration, iteration, differential and difference equations, and Monte Carlo simulations, are discussed, in one to four dimensions. Historically important methods of radiative transfer, reaction networks, and hydrodynamics are presented, and contrasted with presently-used methods. Parallel programming is introduced, and discussed in terms of new and future computer systems. Special topics are added to reflect new developments. The course is task-oriented, with individual and team work projects, and class participation determining grades. Most of the work is done on the student's own personal computer (Linux or Mac operating systems are preferred). Identical to ASTR/PHYS 596B. ASTR is home department. Equivalent to ASTR 596B and PHYS 596B; ASTR is home department. Typically Offered Spring. Regular or Alternative Grades: ABCDE or SPCDE.

(001) Pinto