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About ASTR 501

A graduate class on stellar evolution, stellar atmospheres, nucleosynthesis, nuclear astrophysics, stellar populations and chemical evolution.

Instructor: Falk Herwig, 
Office: Elliott 214
Office hours:  Tuesday 1:00 2:00pm
Term: Fall 2016

First class: Thursday Sep 8, 9:00am, Chart room (Ell 503)


Science Topics

  • The Physics of stars
    • atomic physics
    • nuclear physics
    • thermodynamics
    • hydrodynamics
    • electromagnetic theory (radiation transport)
  • Stellar interiors
  • Stellar atmospheres
  • Nucleosynthesis I: the reactions for energy production that support the evolution of the stars
  • Stars across the HRD and their observational signatures
  • Supernova
  • Nucleosynthesis II: production of trace elements (e.g. n-capture processes, like s and r process)
  • Stellar populations
  • Asteroseismology
  • Binary stars



  • Research term-project using the stellar evolution code MESA and NuGrid nucleosynthesis codes
  • Explore the complete evolution and nucleosynthesis of stars from the main-sequence to the WD stage


    Meta Topics

    • Verification & Validation
    • Simulations, theory, experiment - the concept of modelling physics processes
    • How to pick a good problem to work on 

    Life as a scientist

    • Scientific writing
    • Presentation skills


    • Stellar evolution code MESA
    • Single-zone nucleosynthesis network calculations
    • Visualizing and analyzing stellar evolution and nucleosynthesis data
    • COMSOL multi physics
    • scientific computing with python (fortran?)
    • numerical methods for scientific computing




    The course grade will be based on the following:

    • 2 Assignments (each  15%)
    • midterm (20%)
    • 1 term project (each 50%)