Instructor: Steven R. Cranmer   (email, web page)
Instructor's Office:   Duane Physics D111 (main campus), LASP/SPSC N218 (east campus)
Course Times:     Fall 2019, Mon./Wed./Fri., 3:00-3:50 pm
Location: Duane Physics, Room E126
Office Hours: D111: Mondays 12-1, Thursdays 10-11, or by appointment
Syllabus: See the most up-to-date PDF version.


Summary

This course is an introduction to radiative and dynamical (R&D) processes aimed at graduate students in astrophysics, space physics, and planetary science. R&D is intended to cover a handful of topics that are central to much of astrophysical and planetary sciences, but are rarely encountered at the undergraduate level. We will cover particle collisions and transport phenomena, magnetohydrodynamics, gravitational dynamics (applied to both planetary orbits and N-body systems in galaxies), and a macroscopic treatment of radiation fields. This is a core required course for APS graduate students.

Course Material

The primary "required readings" are my lecture notes, which will be posted below on this page 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. Mon., August 26: Introductory lecture. Overview of course syllabus, and some review of necessary background math and physics.

  2. Wed., August 28: Transport phenomena: random walks & advection-diffusion equations.
    • Lecture notes (02) for transport phenomena, random walks, and the Langevin equation.
    • Excerpts from the Pathria & Beale stat mech book about the Langevin equation.

  3. Fri., August 30: Transport phenomena: Brownian motion; Langevin equation; fluctuation-dissipation theorem.

      [Mon., September 2 is Labor Day, no classes.]

  4. Wed., September 4: Transport phenomena: Intro to plasmas; Coulomb collisions.

  5. Fri., September 6: Transport phenomena: Coulomb collisions; mean free paths; collision statistics.

  6. Mon., September 9: Transport phenomena: Coulomb collisions; mean free paths; collision statistics.
    • Homework 1 due.
    • Homework 2 assigned, due Wed., September 25.
    • Here is a file providing the mean altitude dependence for Earth's atmospheric density, useful for Homework 2.

  7. Wed., September 11: MHD: kinetic theory; Vlasov equation; Boltzmann collision term.

  8. Fri., September 13: MHD: kinetic theory; Vlasov equation; Boltzmann collision term.
    • YouTube lecture showing an alternate way of deriving the Boltzmann collision term.

  9. Mon., September 16: MHD: kinetic theory; Vlasov equation; Boltzmann collision term; Fokker-Planck equation.

  10. Wed., September 18: MHD: fluid moments of the Boltzmann equation for a plasma.

  11. Fri., September 20: MHD: fluid moments of the Boltzmann equation for a plasma.
    • Half-class: student presentation: R. Bowyer (Biermann battery)

  12. Mon., September 23: MHD: fluid moments of the Boltzmann equation for a plasma; basics of MHD; magnetic pressure and tension.

  13. Wed., September 25: MHD: ideal and resistive MHD; magnetic pressure and tension.
    • Homework 2 due.
    • Homework 3 assigned, due Wed., October 9.

  14. Fri., September 27: Ideal MHD applications: potential and force-free fields.
    • Half-class: student presentation: A. Harke-Hosemann (Dreicer field)
    • Lecture notes (06) for ideal MHD applications: force-free fields, MHD waves, and MHD instabilities.

  15. Mon., September 30: Ideal MHD applications: potential and force-free fields; MHD waves.

  16. Wed., October 2: Ideal MHD applications: MHD waves; MHD instabilities.

  17. Fri., October 4: Ideal MHD applications: MHD instabilities.
    • Half-class: student presentation: J. Stauffer (Magnetic dynamo)
    • Worked example problem that derives the menagerie of "interface" instabilities in ideal MHD.

  18. Mon., October 7: Resistive MHD: Braginskii transport coefficients.

  19. Wed., October 9: Resistive MHD: Braginskii transport coefficients; magnetic reconnection.

  20. Fri., October 11: Survey of plasma physics "beyond MHD."
    • Half-class: student presentation: D. Sega (Planetary magnetospheres)
    • Submissions due for next Friday's journal paper review (see syllabus)

  21. Mon., October 14: Dynamical processes: work, energy, and the Euler-Lagrange formalism.

  22. Wed., October 16: In-class midterm exam.

  23. Fri., October 18: Dynamical processes: the Euler-Lagrange formalism and Hamilton's principle.

  24. Mon., October 21: Dynamical processes: 2-body Keplerian motion.

  25. Wed., October 23: Dynamical processes: finish 2-body Keplerian motion, start 3-body problem.

  26. Fri., October 25: Dynamical processes: restricted 3-body problem, Roche lobes.

  27. Mon., October 28: Dynamical processes: 3-body problem, Hill stability, orbital resonances.

  28. Wed., October 30: Mock Comps 1 prep session (1st of 2); (question slides here)
    • Homework 4 due.
    • Homework 5 assigned, due Wed., November 13.

  29. Fri., November 1: Dynamical processes: collisions and conservative forces in N-body systems.
    • Half-class: student presentations: H. Gerling-Dunsmore (Ulrich's accretion model), and N. Bassett (Synestias)

  30. Mon., November 4: Dynamical processes: collisions and conservative forces in N-body systems.

  31. Wed., November 6: Dynamical processes: collisionless orbits in large-scale potentials.

  32. Fri., November 8: Dynamical processes: Boltzmann stellar dynamics; tensor & scalar virial theorem.
    • Half-class: student presentation: A. Hampton (Runaway/hypervelocity stars)

  33. Mon., November 11: Dynamical processes: Boltzmann stellar dynamics; tensor & scalar virial theorem.

  34. Wed., November 13: Radiation processes: defining the radiation field; equation of radiative transfer.
    • Homework 5 due.
    • Homework 6 assigned, due Fri., December 6.
    • Lecture notes (11) for radiation processes: definitions, transfer, and gray atmospheres.

  35. Fri., November 15: Radiation processes: defining the radiation field; equation of radiative transfer.
    • Half-class: student presentation: J. Gibson (Splashback radius)
    • Submissions due for next Friday's journal paper review (see syllabus)

  36. Mon., November 18: Radiation processes: solutions in useful limits; gray and irradiated atmospheres.

  37. Wed., November 20: Radiation processes: solutions in useful limits; gray and irradiated atmospheres.

  38. Fri., November 22: Radiation processes: beyond the gray atmosphere: non-LTE, non-gray, non-Eddington effects.
    • Lecture notes (12) for radiation processes: non-gray, non-LTE, spectral lines, ionization balance, irradiated atmospheres.

      [November 25-29: Fall Break, no classes.]

  39. Mon., December 2: Radiation processes: beyond the gray atmosphere: non-LTE, non-gray, non-Eddington effects.

  40. Wed., December 4: Mock Comps 1 prep session (2nd of 2); (question slides here)

  41. Fri., December 6: Radiation processes: spectral line formation.
    • Homework 6 due.
    • Half-class: student presentation: F. Cruz Aguirre (Graybody radiation field)

  42. Mon., December 9: Radiation processes: nebular radiation fields & H II regions.

  43. Wed., December 11: Radiation processes: irradiated atmospheres & comets.
    • Take-home final exam distributed; due Friday, Dec. 13, noon (exam here)

      [Fri., Dec. 13: Reading Day, Final Exam Week: Dec. 14-18.]