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.
Spring 2017 Undergraduate Courses
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