Instructor: Steven R. Cranmer   (email, web page)
Instructor's Office:   Duane Physics D111 (main campus), LASP/SPSC N218 (east campus)
Course Times:     Spring 2020, Tues./Thurs., 11:00 am to 12:15 pm
Location: Duane Physics, Room E126
Office Hours: Duane D111: Mon. 3:00-3:45, Wed. 1:00-1:45, Thurs. 12:30-1:00
Syllabus: See the most up-to-date PDF version.


Summary

This course covers the topics in modern physics that are required for upper-level astrophysics and planetary science courses, including quantum mechanics, electromagnetic spectra, atomic and nuclear physics, and thermodynamics, in the context of astrophysics, planetary, and space sciences. When necessary, we also introduce key topics from beyond first-year calculus (such as vector functions, partial derivatives, multiple integrals, and differential equations) needed to support these topics.

Course Material

The primary "required readings" are my lecture notes, which will be posted below on this page (and possibly also Canvas) as the semester progresses. Other links for this course include:

Lectures

Below is a detailed schedule that will list the material to be covered in each class session, links to electronic copies of any handouts and problem sets, and various course deadlines.

  1. Tues., January 14: Introductory lecture. Overview of course syllabus. Vectors and coordinate systems.

  2. Thur., January 16: Vectors, coordinate systems, and basic differential equations.

  3. Tues., January 21: Gravitational dynamics and orbits.

  4. Thur., January 23: Gravitational dynamics and orbits.

  5. Tues., January 28: Gravitational dynamics and orbits.
    • Homework 1 due.
    • Homework 2 assigned, due Tues., February 11.

  6. Thur., January 30: Introduction to Einstein's relativity.

  7. Tues., February 4: Introduction to Einstein's relativity.

  8. Thur., February 6: Introduction to Einstein's relativity.

  9. Tues., February 11: Introduction to Einstein's relativity.

  10. Thur., February 13: Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.

  11. Tues., February 18: In-class Midterm Exam 1. Also, continue discussing partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.

  12. Thur., February 20: Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.

  13. Tues., February 25: Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.

  14. Thur., February 27: Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.

  15. Tues., March 3: Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy.

  16. Thur., March 5: Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy.

  17. Tues., March 10: Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy.
    • Homework 3 due.
    • Homework 4 assigned, due Thurs., April 2.

  18. Thur., March 12: Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy. Transition to remote instruction!

  19. Tues., March 17: Light and its interaction with matter.

  20. Thur., March 19: Light and its interaction with matter.

      [March 23-27: Spring Break, no classes.]

  21. Tues., March 31: Light and its interaction with matter.

  22. Thur., April 2: Atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.

  23. Tues., April 7: Atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.

  24. Thur., April 9: Atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.

  25. Tues., April 14: Understanding astronomical spectra.

  26. Thur., April 16: Understanding astronomical spectra.

  27. Tues., April 21: Finish spectra. Start nuclear physics.

  28. Thur., April 23: Nuclear physics: radioactivity, fusion, fission.

  29. Tues., April 28: Nuclear physics: radioactivity, fusion, fission.

  30. Thur., April 30: Nuclear physics: radioactivity, fusion, fission.

      Monday, May 4: Due-date for the independent project.

      [Fri., May 1: Reading Day, Final Exam Week: May 2-6; no final exam for this class.]