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:- Recommended textbooks and online material that are useful for supplementing my lecture notes.
- Guidelines for the independent project due on May 4.
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.
- Tues., January 14:
Introductory lecture. Overview of course syllabus.
Vectors and coordinate systems.
- Handout: syllabus
- Handout: useful math formulae & physical constants
- Lecture notes (01) for course intro, vectors, coordinates, and differential equations.
- Homework 1 assigned, due Tues., January 28.
- Thur., January 16: Vectors, coordinate systems, and basic differential equations.
- Tues., January 21:
Gravitational dynamics and orbits.
- Lecture notes (02) for gravitational dynamics and orbits.
- Thur., January 23: Gravitational dynamics and orbits.
- Tues., January 28:
Gravitational dynamics and orbits.
- Homework 1 due.
- Homework 2 assigned, due Tues., February 11.
- Thur., January 30:
Introduction to Einstein's relativity.
- Lecture notes (03) for special and general relativity.
- Tues., February 4: Introduction to Einstein's relativity.
- Thur., February 6: Introduction to Einstein's relativity.
- Tues., February 11:
Introduction to Einstein's relativity.
- Homework 2 due.
- Study guide for Midterm 1. Two versions: one without answers to example problems, and one with.
- Thur., February 13:
Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.
- Lecture notes (04) for partial/vector derivatives and multiple integrals.
- Tues., February 18: In-class Midterm Exam 1. Also, continue discussing partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.
- Thur., February 20: Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.
- Tues., February 25:
Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.
- Homework 3 assigned, due Tues., March 10.
- Thur., February 27: Partial and vector derivatives; multiple integrals.
- Tues., March 3:
Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy.
- Lecture notes (05) for gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics.
- Thur., March 5:
Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy.
- Today's Lecture-Tutorial on the meaning of gas pressure.
- Tues., March 10:
Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy.
- Homework 3 due.
- Homework 4 assigned, due Thurs., April 2.
- Thur., March 12: Gases, plasmas, and thermodynamics in astronomy. Transition to remote instruction!
- Tues., March 17:
Light and its interaction with matter.
- Lecture notes (06) for light and its interaction with matter.
- Video lecture 1 of 2 on electric fields.
- Video lecture 2 of 2 on magnetic fields.
- Thur., March 19:
Light and its interaction with matter.
- Video lecture 1 of 3 on Maxwell's equations.
- Video lecture 2 of 3 on electromagnetic waves.
- Video lecture 3 of 3 on electromagnetic wave energy.
[March 23-27: Spring Break, no classes.]
- Tues., March 31:
Light and its interaction with matter.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on astrophysical flux units.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on magnitudes and luminosity.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on specific intensity.
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on absorption and emission of light.
- Thur., April 2:
Atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.
- Homework 4 due.
- Homework 5 assigned, due Thurs., April 16.
- Lecture notes (07) for atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on an introduction to quantum mechanics.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on Planck's model of blackbody radiation.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on the photoelectric effect and Compton scattering.
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on the double-slit experiment.
- Tues., April 7:
Atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on Bohr's model of the hydrogen atom.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on de Broglie's concept of matter waves.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on the math/magic of "wave packets."
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.
- Thur., April 9:
Atoms and an introduction to quantum mechanics.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on an introduction to Schrodinger's equation.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on Schrodinger's equation with potential barriers.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on an introduction to Schrodinger's model of hydrogen.
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on the full solutions for Schrodinger's hydrogen atom.
- Tues., April 14:
Understanding astronomical spectra.
- Lecture notes (08) for understanding astronomical spectra.
- Video lecture 1 of 2 on an introduction to spectroscopy.
- Video lecture 2 of 2 on spectral lines as opacity sources.
- Thur., April 16:
Understanding astronomical spectra.
- Homework 5 due.
- Homework 6 assigned, due Thurs., April 30.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on spectral lines and local thermodynamic equilibrium.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on how lines appear in the spectrum of an object.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on line broadening and the Doppler effect.
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on the many faces of Doppler broadening.
- Tues., April 21:
Finish spectra. Start nuclear physics.
- Lecture notes (09) for nuclear physics.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on ionization and recombination in astronomy.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on Saha, coronal, and nebular ionization regimes.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on an introduction to nuclear physics.
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on an nuclear stability and binding energy.
- Thur., April 23:
Nuclear physics: radioactivity, fusion, fission.
- Video lecture 1 of 4 on nuclear reactions and radioactivity.
- Video lecture 2 of 4 on how nuclear fusion powers the stars.
- Video lecture 3 of 4 on nuclear fusion rates and cross sections.
- Video lecture 4 of 4 on how the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium.
- Tues., April 28:
Nuclear physics: radioactivity, fusion, fission.
- Video lecture 1 of 2 on additional routes to hydrogen fusion in stars.
- Video lecture 2 of 2 on stellar nucleosynthesis from helium to iron.
- Thur., April 30:
Nuclear physics: radioactivity, fusion, fission.
- Video lecture 1 of 3 on how neutrons help synthesize the heaviest elements.
- Video lecture 2 of 3 on a brief overview of nuclear fission.
- Video lecture 3 of 3 on particle physics, plus a course summary.
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.]