Spring 2022 Graduate Courses

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Core Course

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)Sample course syllabus, Barnes (PDF)

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Core Course

(001) Barnes | D2L | Syllabus

Planetary Materials (3)

This course discusses chemical thermodynamics and applies it to the origins and history of primitive planetary materials. The types of planetary materials will be discussed together with an overview of the chemical setting of their origins. We will discuss thermodynamic formalism, the various chemical pathways through which planetary materials are believed to have formed, the characterization and numerical methods we use to quantify such origins, and we will consider several case studies. Course may be co-convened with PTYS 413.

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective

Introduction to Plasma Physics (3)

The purpose of this course is to present an introduction to the physics of plasmas. Topics include fundamental plasma scales and interactions, single particle motion, magnetohydrodynamic and fluid models, linear waves, kinetic theory, plasma stability, magnetic reconnection, and non-linear processes. The roles of these processes are considered in a variety of systems, including the Sun and stars, their extended atmospheres, planetary magnetospheres, and laboratory devices. The emphasis throughout will be on basic physical processes and the various approximations used in their application to realistic and relevant problems. The graduate course is identical to ASTR/ATMO/PHYS 514, with PTYS as the home department.

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective
Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Course

(001) Klein | D2L | Syllabus

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.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Harig

Meteorites (3)

Classification; chemical, mineralogical and isotopic composition; cosmic abundances; ages; interaction with solar and cosmic radiation; relation to comets and asteroids. Prerequisite(s): PTYS 510. Identical to: GEOS 520. Usually offered: Spring.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Reddy | D2L | Syllabus

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.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Atallah, Ciancarelli

Stars and Planets (3)

This course will explore the physical principles that govern the structure and evolution of stars and planets. Topics covered will include stellar structure, energy generation and transport, and equations of state. Applying physical models and computational methods, fundamental properties of stars and planets will be derived, and compared with observational constraints. Identical to: ASTR 545; ASTR is home department. Usually offered: Fall.

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective
Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Smith

Core Course

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, Malhotra (PDF)

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Core Course

(001) Malhotra | D2L | Syllabus

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.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Apai

Writing Across the Space Sciences (3)

The purpose of this class is to strengthen the writing skills of the student along the entire range of writing, from technical scientific writing in the space sciences to popular articles about science. It has the secondary purpose of preparing the student for the wide variety of occasions when communication skills, written and verbal, will be required in the professional practice of the space sciences. Typically offered: Fall. ASTR is home department.

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Besla

Boundary Layer Meteorology & Surface Processes (3)

Designed for students in the atmospheric sciences, hydrology and related fields. It provides a framework for understanding the basic physical processes that govern mass and heat transfer in the atmospheric boundary layer and the vegetated land surface. In addition to the theoretical part of the course, there is a strong focus on modeling and students will be required to program numerical codes to represent these physical processes. Course may be repeated for a maximum of 6 unit(s) or 2 completion(s). Also offered as: ATMO 579, ENVS 579, HWRS 579, WSM 579. ATMO is home department.

Course Level Other: Elective

(001) Zeng

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. Altnerative grading (SPF).

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective
Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Byrne | D2L | Syllabus

Special Topics in Planetary Science (1-4)

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 4x (or up to 12 units). Regular grades assigned (ABC).

(002) Matsuyama | D2L | Syllabus

Spring 2022, PTYS 595B (002), is 3 units, Statistics and Bayesian Data Analysis. Research in planetary science involves the development of models that are capable of explaining existing observations as well as making testable predictions. This requires data analysis: assessing the plausibility of one or more competing models, and estimating the model parameters and their uncertainties. Bayesian data analysis is an approach to statistical data analysis that explicitly uses as much information as possible by using prior probabilities. The students will develop a broad understanding of the Bayesian approach to statistical data analysis. At the end of the course,  students will develop a broad and general tool set that can be applied to the student's own research. A basic background in programming in a language such as Python, Mathematica, Matlab, IDL, C/C++, Fortran, etc. is required. 

(001) Haenecour | D2L | Syllabus

Spring 2022, PTYS 595B (001), is 1 unit, Communication Skills in Planetary Science: Cosmochemistry. The course will focus on helping students to build the skills to become an effective science communicator and be able to share scientific concepts & results to the broader science community and the general public. In addition to oral presentation and scientific writing skills, the course will also discuss publishing in high-impact journals, press releases, elevator speech, media training, illustrations/graphic design, and social media. While the course will primarily based on communication skills in Cosmochemistry, it will be relevant to all Earth & Planetary science students.

Planetary Surface Processes Seminar (1)

This seminar course will focus on discussion of planetary surfaces and their evolution, including geology of rocky planets and moons, icy surfaces and moons, regolith development, surface-atmosphere interactions, sub-surface structure and interiors, and climate change. The course will involve the exchange of scholarly information in a small group setting, including presentations and discussions of student research, reviews of recent science results and discussion of proposal ideas. Students will be expected to lead 1 to 2 presentations and participate in group discussions. This course is intended for graduate students; senior undergraduates may be able to enroll with permission of the instructor. Alternative Grading S, P, F; may be repeated for 10 completions/units.

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Carter | D2L | Syllabus