Astrophysical Sciences

AST 203: The UniverseThis course, whose subject matter covers the entire universe, targets the frontiers of modern astrophysics. Topics include the planets of our solar system; the search for extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life and intelligence; the birth, life, and death of stars; black holes; the zoo of galaxies and their evolution; the Big Bang and the expanding universe; and dark matter, dark energy, and the largescale structure of the universe. This course is designed for the nonscience major and has no prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry. High school physics would be useful, but is not required.

AST 204: Topics in Modern AstronomyThis course provides a broad overview of modern astronomy and astrophysics for students in the sciences. Emphasis is on the application of basic physics to understanding of astronomical systems. Topics include the Solar System; planetary systems and exoplanets; the birth, life, and death of stars; white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; the Milky Way and distant galaxies; cosmology, dark matter and dark energy, and the history of the Universe.

AST 309/MAE 309/PHY 309/ENE 309: The Science of Fission and Fusion EnergyPower from the nucleus offers a lowcarbon source of electricity. However, fission power also carries significant risks: nuclear proliferation (North Korea, Iran), major accidents (Chernobyl, Fukushima), and waste disposal (Yucca Mountain). Fusion carries fewer risks, but the timetable for its commercialization is uncertain. We will delve into the scientific underpinnings of these two energy sources, so you can assess them for yourselves. A benefit of this course is that you will expand your scientific and computational skills by applying them to important realworld problems.

AST 401/PHY 401: CosmologyA general review of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Topics include the properties and nature of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, superclusters, the largescale structure of the universe, evidence for the existence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, the expanding universe, the early universe, and the formation and evolution of structure.

AST 513: Dynamics of Stellar and Planetary SystemsReview of hamiltonian mechanics and potential theory. Planetary systems: current surveys and statistics; keplerian elements; restricted 3body problem; disturbing functions; secular approximations; resonance; tidal effects. Stellar systems: collisionless equilibira and stability; spiral density waves; dynamical frictions and dynamical relaxation; structure of the Galaxy; current surveys; the Galactic Center.

SML 515/AST 515: Topics in Statistics and Machine Learning: Statistical Data AnalysisThe course provides an introduction to modern data analysis and data science. It addresses the central question, "what should I do if these are my data and this is what I want to know"? The course covers basic and advanced statistical descriptions of data. It also introduces the computational means and software packages to explore data and infer underlying structural parameters from them. The topics are exemplified by realworld applications. Prerequisites are linear algebra, multivariate analysis, and a familiarity with basic statistics and programming (ideally in python).

APC 523/AST 523/MAE 507: Numerical Algorithms for Scientific ComputingA broad introduction to numerical algorithms used in scientific computing. The course begins with a review of the basic principles of numerical analysis, including sources of error, stability, and convergence. The theory and implementation of techniques for linear and nonlinear systems of equations and ordinary and partial differential equations are covered in detail. Examples of the application of these methods to problems in engineering and the sciences permeate the course material. Issues related to the implementation of efficient algorithms on modern highperformance computing systems are discussed.

AST 542: Seminar in Observational Astrophysics: Current Research Topics in AstrophysicsStudents improve their ability to give effective professional presentations, through lessons and opportunities to communicate their own research.

AST 552: General Plasma Physics IIThis is an introductory graduate course in plasma physics, focusing on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and its extension to weakly collisional or collisionless plasmas. Topics to be covered include: the equations of MHD and extended MHD, the structure of magnetic fields, static and rotating MHD equilibria and their stability, magnetic reconnection, MHD turbulence, and the dynamo effect. Applications are drawn from fusion, heliophysical, and astrophysical plasmas.

AST 554: Irreversible Processes in PlasmasIntroduction to theory of fluctuations and transport in plasma. Origins of irreversibility. Random walks, Brownian motion, and diffusion; Langevin and FokkerPlanck theory. Fluctuationdissipation theorem; testparticle superposition principle. Statistical closure problem. Derivation of kinetic equations from BBGKY hierarchy and Klimontovich formalism; properties of plasma collision operators. Classical transport coefficients in magnetized plasmas; Onsager symmetry. Introduction to plasma turbulence, including quasilinear theory. Applications to current problems in plasma research.

AST 558: Seminar in Plasma PhysicsAdvances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturallyoccurring hightemperature plasmas, including stability and transport, nonlinear dynamics and turbulence, magnetic reconnection, selfheating of "burning" plasmas, and innovative concepts for advanced fusion systems. Advances in plasma applications, including laserplasma interactions, nonneutral plasmas, highintensity accelerators, plasma propulsion, plasma processing, and coherent electromagnetic wave generation.

AST 559/APC 539: Turbulence and Nonlinear Processes in Fluids and PlasmasA comprehensive introduction to the theory of nonlinear phenomena in fluids and plasmas, with emphasis on turbulence and transport. Experimental phenomenology; fundamental equations, including NavierStokes, Vlasov, and gyrokinetic; numerical simulation techniques, including pseudospectral and particleincell methods; coherent structures; transition to turbulence; statistical closures, including the wave kinetic equation and directinteraction approximation; PDF methods and intermittency; variational techniques. Applications from neutral fluids, fusion plasmas, and astrophysics.

AST 562: Laboratory in Plasma PhysicsDevelop skills, knowledge, and understanding of basic and advanced laboratory techniques used to measure the properties and behavior of plasmas. Representative experiments are: coldcathode plasma formation and architecture; ambipolar diffusion in afterglow plasmas; Langmuir probe measurements of electron temperature and plasma density; period doubling and transitions to chaos in glow discharges; optical spectroscopy for species identification; microwave interferometry and cavity resonances for plasma density determination; and momentum generated by a plasma thruster.

AST 568: Introduction to Classical and Neoclassical Transport and ConfinementThe first half of this course intends to provide students with a systematic development of the fundamentals of gyrokinetic (GK) theory, and the second half provides students with an introduction to transport and confinement in magnetically confined plasmas.