Courses

Spring 2017

The Universe
This specially designed course targets the frontier of modern astrophysics. Subjects include the planets of our solar system, the birth, life, and death of stars; the search for extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life; the zoo of galaxies from dwarfs to giants, from starbursts to quasars; dark matter and the large-scale structure of the universe; Einstein's special and general theory of relativity, black holes, neutron stars, and big bang cosmology. This course is designed for the non-science major and has no prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry. High school physics would be useful.
Instructors: Christopher F. Chyba, David N. Spergel, Anatoly Spitkovsky
Topics in Modern Astronomy
This 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.
Instructors: Eve Charis Ostriker
Stars and Star Formation
Stars form by the gravitational collapse of interstellar gas clouds, and as they evolve, return some of their gas to the interstellar medium, altering its physical state and chemical composition. This course discusses the properties and evolution of the gaseous and stellar components of a galaxy: the theory and observations of star formation; stellar structure; the production of energy by nucleosynthesis; stellar evolution; stellar end states; and the interpretation of observations of the diffuse and dense interstellar medium. We will discuss how major telescopes and space missions might tackle these problems.
Instructors: Adam S. Burrows, Bruce T. Draine
Diffuse Matter in Space
Subject of course is the astrophysics of the interstellar medium: theory and observations of the gas, dust, plasma, energetic particles, magnetic field, and electromagnetic radiation in interstellar space. Emphasis will be on theory, including elements of: fluid dynamics; excitation of atoms, molecules and ions; radiative processes; radiative transfer; simple interstellar chemistry; and physical properties of dust grains.The theory will be applied to phenomena including; interstellar clouds (both diffuse atomic clouds and dense molecular clouds); HII regions; shock waves; supernova remnants; cosmic rays; interstellar dust; and star formation.
Instructors: Bruce T. Draine
Seminar in Observational Astrophysics: Current Research Topics in Astrophysics
Students prepare and deliver presentations on selected topics in observational astronomy, and discuss each other's work.
Instructors: Edwin Lewis Turner
General Plasma Physics II
This 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.
Instructors: Hantao Ji
Irreversible Processes in Plasmas
Introduction to theory of fluctuations and transport in plasma. Origins of irreversibility. Random walks, Brownian motion, and diffusion; Langevin and Fokker-Planck theory. Fluctuation-dissipation theorem; test-particle 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.
Instructors: Matthew Walter Kunz
Seminar in Plasma Physics
Advances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturally-occurring high-temperature 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.
Instructors: Allan H. Reiman, William Ming-Wu Tang
Computational Methods in Plasma Physics
Analysis of methods for the numerical solution of the partial differential equations of plasma physics, including those of elliptic, parabolic, hyperbolic, and eigenvalue type. Topics include finite difference, finite element, spectral, particle-in-cell, Monte Carlo, moving grid, and multiple-time-scale techniques, applied to the problems of plasma equilibrium, transport and stability. Basic parallel programming concepts are discussed.
Instructors: Gregory Wayne Hammett, Hong Qin
Laboratory in Plasma Physics
Develop skills, knowledge, and understanding of basic and advanced laboratory techniques used to measure the properties and behavior of plasmas. Representative experiments are: cold-cathode 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.
Instructors: Samuel A. Cohen

Spring 2016

The Universe
This specially designed course targets the frontier of modern astrophysics. Subjects include the planets of our solar system, the birth, life, and death of stars; the search for extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life; the zoo of galaxies from dwarfs to giants, from starbursts to quasars; dark matter and the large-scale structure of the universe; Einstein's special and general theory of relativity, black holes, neutron stars, and big bang cosmology. This course is designed for the non-science major and has no prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry. High school physics would be useful.
Instructors: Christopher F. Chyba, David N. Spergel, Anatoly Spitkovsky
Topics in Modern Astronomy
This 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.
Instructors: Eve Charis Ostriker
Science and Technology of Nuclear Energy: Fission and Fusion
Concern about climate change and need for energy independence has driven recent growth in nuclear fission power. However the events at Fukushima Daichi and the negotiations with Iran illustrate some of the issues. Fusion energy is moving towards realization of an alternative approach to nuclear power, with fewer dangers, but not yet ready to be commercialized. In this course we will study the science and technology of both fission and fusion. You will gain a good physical understanding of how both approaches work, including their benefits and risks, through applying and expanding your scientific and mathematical skills.
Instructors: Robert James Goldston
Cosmology
A general review of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Topics include the properties and nature of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, superclusters, the large-scale 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.
Instructors: Neta A. Bahcall
Dynamics of Stellar and Planetary Systems
Galactic structure, morphology and dynamics. Equilibrium and stability of stellar systems. The gravitational N-body problem, relaxation, dynamical friction, and the Fokker-Planck equation. Encounters and mergers of stellar systems. Spiral structure. Elements of planetary dynamics and celestial mechanics.
Instructors: Jeremy J. Goodman
High Energy Astrophysics
Selected astrophysical applications of electrodynamics, special and general relativity, nuclear and particle physics. Topics may include synchrotron radiation, comptonization, orbits and accretion in black-hole metrics, radio sources, cosmic rays, and neutrino astropysics.
Instructors: Anatoly Spitkovsky
Seminar in Observational Astrophysics: Current Research Topics in Astrophysics
Students prepare and deliver presentations on selected topics in observational astronomy, and discuss each other's work.
Instructors: David N. Spergel
General Plasma Physics II
This 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.
Instructors: Hantao Ji
Irreversible Processes in Plasmas
Introduction to theory of fluctuations and transport in plasma. Origins of irreversibility. Random walks, Brownian motion, and diffusion; Langevin and Fokker-Planck theory. Fluctuation-dissipation theorem; test-particle 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.
Instructors: Gregory Wayne Hammett
Seminar in Plasma Physics
Advances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturally-occurring high-temperature 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.
Instructors: Allan H. Reiman, William Ming-Wu Tang
Nonlinear Processes in Fluids and Plasmas
A 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.
Instructors: John Albert Krommes
Laboratory in Plasma Physics
Develop skills, knowledge, and understanding of basic and advanced laboratory techniques used to measure the properties and behavior of plasmas. Representative experiments are: cold-cathode 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.
Instructors: Samuel A. Cohen
Introduction to Classical and Neoclassical Transport and Confinement
The 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.
Instructors: Hong Qin, William Ming-Wu Tang

Fall 2015

The Universe
This specially designed course targets the frontier of modern astrophysics. Subjects include the planets of our solar system, the birth, life, and death of stars; the search for extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life; the zoo of galaxies from dwarfs to giants, from starbursts to quasars; dark matter and the large-scale structure of the universe; Einstein's special and general theory of relativity, black holes, neutron stars, and big bang cosmology. This course is designed for the non-science major and has no prerequisites past high school algebra and geometry. High school physics would be useful.
Instructors: David N. Spergel, Anatoly Spitkovsky
Topics in Modern Astronomy
This 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.
Instructors: Eve Charis Ostriker
Planets in the Universe
This 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 STN 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
Instructors: Gáspár Áron Bakos
General Relativity
Einstein's theory of general relativity and its astrophysical implications, including black holes, cosmological expansion, and gravitational waves.
Instructors: Jeremy J. Goodman
Dynamics of Stellar and Planetary Systems
Galactic structure, morphology and dynamics. Equilibrium and stability of stellar systems. The gravitational N-body problem, relaxation, dynamical friction, and the Fokker-Planck equation. Encounters and mergers of stellar systems. Spiral structure. Elements of planetary dynamics and celestial mechanics.
Instructors: Roman R. Rafikov
Extragalactic Astronomy
This course is an overview of cosmology and extragalactic astronomy, with an emphasis on the connection between theoretical ideas and observational data. The Big Bang model and the standard cosmological model will be emphasized, as well as the properties and evolution of galaxies, quasars, and the intergalactic medium.
Instructors: Jenny E. Greene, Michael Abram Strauss
Seminar in Theoretical Astrophysics
Designed 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.
Instructors: Adam S. Burrows
Seminar in Observational Astrophysics: Seminar in Observational Astrophysics
Students prepare and deliver presentations on selected topics in observational astronomy, and discuss each other's work.
Instructors: Neta A. Bahcall, Michael Abram Strauss
General Plasma Physics I
An 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.
Instructors: Nathaniel J. Fisch, Hong Qin
Plasma Waves and Instabilities
Hydrodynamic and kinetic models of nonmagnetized and magnetized plasma dispersion; basic plasma waves and their applications; basic instabilities; mechanisms of collisionless dissipation; geometrics-optics approximation, including ray tracing, field-theoretical description of continuous waves, and ponderomotive effects; conservation laws and transport equations for the wave action, energy, and momentum; mode conversion; quasilinear theory.
Instructors: Ilya Yevgenyevich Dodin
Fusion Plasmas & Plasma Diagnostics
Introduction to experimental plasma physics, with emphasis on high-temperature plasmas for fusion. Requirements for fusion plasmas: confinement, beta, power and particle exhaust. Discussion of tokamak fusion and alternative magnetic and inertial confinement systems. Status of experimental understanding: what we know and how we know it. Key plasma diagnostic techniques: magnetic measurements, Langmuir probes, microwave techniques, spectroscopic techniques, electron cyclotron emission, Thomson scattering.
Instructors: Philip Charles Efthimion, Richard P. Majeski
Seminar in Plasma Physics
Advances 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.
Instructors: Samuel A. Cohen, Allan H. Reiman
Special Topics in Low Temperature Plasma (Half-Term)
This course will cover selected aspects of low temperature plasma physics, including collisions and transport phenomena in partially ionized plasma/weakly ionized gas and plasma-surface interactions with applications to gas discharges.
Instructors: Yevgeny Raitses