## Astrophysical Sciences

- APC 503/AST 557: Analytical Techniques in Differential EquationsThis class covers topics of asymptotic methods and their applications. These include dominant balance, approximate solutions of differential equations, Frobenius expansions and divergent asymptotic expansions depending on type of singularities, complex integral representations & asymptotic integral evaluations through steepest descent path, saddle points, Stokes phenomena in analytic continuation, using the examples of special functions such as Airy, Gamma, Bessel, Parabolic Cylinder, Riemann-Zeta functions. This leads us to discuss WKB theory and applications to physics problems such as bound eigenstates and wave transmissions.
- APC 524/MAE 506/AST 506: Software Engineering for Scientific ComputingThe goal of this course is to teach basic tools and principles of writing good code, in the context of scientific computing. Specific topics include an overview of relevant compiled and interpreted languages, build tools and source managers, design patterns, design of interfaces, debugging and testing, profiling and improving performance, portability, and an introduction to parallel computing in both shared memory and distributed memory environments. The focus is on writing code that is easy to maintain and share with others. Students will develop these skills through a series of programming assignments and a group project.
- AST 205: Planets in the UniverseThis is an introductory course in astronomy focusing on planets in our Solar System, and around other stars (exoplanets). First we review the formation, evolution and properties of the Solar system. Following an introduction to stars, we then discuss the exciting new field of exoplanets; discovery methods, earth-like planets, and extraterrestrial life. Core values of the course are quantitative analysis and hands-on experience, including telescopic observations. This SEN course is designed for the non-science major and has no prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry. See www.astro.princeton.edu/planets for important changes
- AST 250: Space Physics Laboratory I (Non-credit)The Space Physics Laboratory course sequence provides undergraduates at all levels the opportunity to participate in a laboratory developing NASA space flight instrumentation. The courses teach space physics laboratory skills, including ultrahigh vacuum, space instrument cleanroom, mechanical, electrical, and other laboratory skills, which then allow students to propose and carry out a significant group research project in the Laboratory. The sequence comprises two semesters with AST 250 as a prerequisite for AST 251, a credit bearing (P/F) course.
- AST 303: Deciphering the Universe: Research Methods in AstrophysicsHow do we observe and model the universe? We discuss the wide range of observational tools available to the modern astronomer: from space-based gamma ray telescopes, to globe-spanning radio interferometry, to optical telescopes and particle detectors. We review basic statistics and introduce students to techniques used in analysis and interpretation of modern data sets containing millions of galaxies, quasars and stars, as well as the numerical methods used by theoretical astrophysicists to model these data. The course is problem-set-based and aims to provide students with tools needed for independent research in astrophysics.
- AST 517: Diffuse Matter in SpaceThe astrophysics of the interstellar medium: theory and observations of the gas, dust, plasma, energetic particles, magnetic field, and electromagnetic radiation in interstellar space. Emphasis is on theory, including elements of: fluid dynamics; excitation of atoms, molecules, and ions; radiative processes; radiative transfer; and physical properties of dust grains. The theory is applied to phenomena including: interstellar clouds (both diffuse atomic clouds and dense molecular clouds); H II regions; shock waves; supernova remnants; cosmic rays; interstellar dust; star formation; and global equilibrium models for the ISM.
- AST 521: Introduction to Plasma AstrophysicsIntroductory course to plasma physics, as it applies to space and astrophysical systems. Fundamental concepts are developed with mathematical rigor, and application to the physics of a wide variety of astrophysical systems are made. Topics include magnetohydrodynamics, kinetic theory, waves, instabilities, and turbulence. Applications to the physics of the solar wind and corona, the intracluster medium of galaxy clusters, the interstellar medium of galaxies, and a wide variety of accretion flows are given.
- AST 541: Seminar in Theoretical AstrophysicsDesigned to stimulate students in the pursuit of research. Participants in this seminar discuss critically papers given by seminar members. Ordinarily, several staff members also participate. Often topics are drawn from published data that present unsolved puzzles of interpretation.
- AST 551/MAE 525: General Plasma Physics IAn introductory course to plasma physics, with sample applications in fusion, space and astrophysics, semiconductor etching, microwave generation, plasma propulsion, high power laser propagation in plasma; characterization of the plasma state, Debye shielding, plasma and cyclotron frequencies, collision rates and mean-free paths, atomic processes, adiabatic invariance, orbit theory, magnetic confinement of single-charged particles, two-fluid description, magnetohydrodynamic waves and instabilities, heat flow, diffusion, kinetic description, and Landau damping. The course may be taken by undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
- AST 553: Plasma Waves and InstabilitiesHydrodynamic and kinetic models of nonmagnetized and magnetized plasma dispersion; basic plasma waves and their applications; basic instabilities; mechanisms of collisionless dissipation; geometrical-optics approximation; conservation laws and transport equations for the wave action, energy, and momentum; mode conversion; quasilinear theory.
- AST 558: Seminar in Plasma PhysicsAdvances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturally-occurring high-termperature 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 laser-plasma interactions, nonneutral plasmas, high-intensity 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 Navier-Stokes, Vlasov, and gyrokinetic; numerical simulation techniques, including pseudo-spectral and particle-in-cell methods; coherent structures; transition to turbulence; statistical closures, including the wave kinetic equation and direct-interaction approximation; PDF methods and intermittency; variational techniques. Applications from neutral fluids, fusion plasmas, and astrophysics.