Spring 2025 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

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. In addition, students will be expected to know, or learn, a programming language such as C, Fortran, IDL or MATLAB. Course requisites: Classical and quantum mechanics at the level of PHYS 151 and PHYS 242.  Sample course syllabus, Giacalone (PDF). Sample course syllabus, Klein (PDF).

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Core Course

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.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

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

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.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective
(001) Tom Zega

Origin of the Solar System and Other Planetary Systems (3)

This course will review the physical processes related to the formation and evolution of the protosolar nebula and of protoplanetary disks. In doing that, we will discuss the main stages of planet formation and how different disk conditions impact planetary architectures and planet properties. We will confront the theories of disk evolution and planet formation with observations of circumstellar disks, exoplanets, and the planets and minor bodies in our Solar System. This course is cross-listed with ASTR 550 and may be co-convened with PTYS 450.

Course Level Other: PTYS Graduate Elective

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) Shane Byrne

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).

(001) Lynn Carter

Spring 2025. PTYS 595B. 3 units. Science and Exploration of the Moon.