Introduction to Astrophysics

Semester: Fall, starting from 2019.

Undergraduate level

Astrophysics is the subject of studying physical phenomena associated with distant celestial objects in the Universe. This course will introduce the basic concepts involved in modern astrophysical research, with a focus on the relevant fundamental physical processes. The subjects include astronomical objects at all scales ranging from planets, stars, galaxies to the universe as a whole, involving applications of practically all branches of physics taught in an undergraduate physics curriculum.

This course is designed to give students a broad view of the current landscape of astrophysics. It aims at guiding students to understand the fabulous physical phenomena happening in the universe through applications of fundamental physics they have learned, while also covering some topics at the forefront of current research such as exoplanets, dark matter and gravitational wave. The lectures will be accompanied by introductions to the physical and statistical methods that lead to the discoveries of the physics, to cultivate the analytical, numerical and problem-solving skills of the students.

Reference textbooks:

  • Astrophysics in a Nutshell, Dan Maoz, Princeton University Press, 2016
  • Astronomy—A Physical Perspective, Marc L. Kutner, Cambridge University Press, 2003

Course grade breakdown: Assignment (30%), Group Projects (30%), Exam (30%), In-class performance (10%)

News: This course has won the highest rank in the physics department (rank 4 among all science majors) according to student feedback on course quality in 2020.

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