Spring 2023 Graduate Courses

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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 Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Giacalone

Core Course

Chemistry of the Solar System (3)

PTYS Graduate Core Course. Provides an overview of the gas and ice chemistry in planetary environments including molecular structure, spectroscopy, kinetics. The course describes how these physical processes are manifest in the diverse solar system environments. The instructional level is aimed at beginning graduate students with an adequate background comparable to that obtained from advance undergraduate courses in physics and chemistry. Knowledge of vector calculus and elementary differential equations is assumed. Successful students will be able to understand current research in planetary chemistry and will be well prepared for more detailed studies.
Sample course syllabus, Pascucci (PDF)


Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Core Course

(001) Pascucci | D2L

Core Course

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, Griffith (PDF)
Sample course syllabus, Yelle (PDF)

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Core Course

(001) Yelle

Physics of High Atmospheres (3)

Physical properties of upper atmospheres, including gaseous composition, temperature and density, ozonosphere, and ionospheres, with emphasis on chemical transformations and eddy transport. Identical to ATMO 544. PTYS is home department.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Koskinen | D2L

Radar Remote Sensing of Planetary Surfaces (4)

This graduate course will focus on the use of radar remote sensing for studies of planetary surfaces, including rocky and icy objects.  It will cover the basics of how radar works including SAR and sounding (ground penetrating) radar, the use of different frequencies, an introduction to electromagnetic wave propagation including polarimetry, radar data processing, and the use of radar field equipment. The course will include a discussion of some of the past, current and future radars included on spacecraft and their design and science results. The course will be focused on geosciences; in particular, applications relevant to planetary processes such as regolith development, volcanism, cratering, fluvial deposits etc. This class includes 3 hours/week lecture plus a lab and fieldwork component. Cross-listed with GEOS 549; may be co-convened. PTYS is home department.

Course Level: PTYS Graduate Elective

(001) Carter, Holt | D2L

(01A) Carter, Holt | D2L

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

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).

(003) Matsuyama

PTYS 595B (003), Spring 2023, 3 units, Matsuyama. 

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) Asphaug

PTYS 595B (001), Spring 2023, 3 units, Asphaug.

Planet-Forming Collisions. 

The terrestrial planets grew in a series of massive late-stage collisions. Unlike impact cratering there is no impact locus when the colliding bodies are similar-sized, and the process is governed by angular momentum and self-gravity as much as by shocks and equations of state. The first half of the course will be lecture-based providing an essential background leading up to the major current science questions, and the second half will be focused on research projects culminating in final presentations. 

(002) Barnes, Haenecour | D2L

PTYS 595B (002), Spring 2023, 4 units, Barnes/Haenecour. Isotopes.

Isotopic variations among extraterrestrial materials provide great insights into the origin and evolution of the solar system. In this course, we will take a system-by-system approach to gain knowledge of the processes that took place in the molecular cloud, during the formation of our solar system and its subsequent evolution. Students will be introduced to the extraterrestrial materials available for laboratory study, the sample preparation techniques and methods used to measure isotopic compositions, and how to use and interpret cosmochemical data. This is a four-credit special topics course designed for graduate 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) Gulick