• ASTR 320:  Physical Processes in Astronomy

    This course is aimed at undergrad astronomy/physics majors

    After a brief overview of vector calculus, integral theorems and coordinate transformations, this course takes on the dynamics of fluids, including collisionless ones. We derive the continuity, momentum & energy equations, discuss hydrostatic equilibrium, viscous flows, fluid instabilities, and focus on various astrophysical applications such as stellar structure and accretion disks. In the final part, we discuss thermal and non-thermal emission mechanisms, study the interaction of radiation and matter, delve into radiative transfer, and address statistical equilibrium.

  • ASTR 501:  Dynamics of Astrophysical Many-Body Systems

    This course is aimed at graduate students in physics or astronomy

    This course presents an in-depth treatment of the dynamics of astrophysical systems, including gases, plasmas, and stellar systems. The course starts with a detailed formulation of the theoretical foundations, using kinetic theory and statistical physics to describe the dynamics of many-body systems. Special emphasis will be given to collisional processes in various astrophysical systems. Next, after deriving the relevant moment equations, we focus on specific topics related to (i) stellar dynamics, (ii) hydrodynamics, and (iii) plasma physics. Related to stellar dynamics we cover potential theory, orbit theory, Jeans modeling, gravitational encounters and secular evolution (bars and spiral structure). In the field of (non-radiative) hydro- dynamics we study, among others, the Navier-Stokes equation, vorticity, transport coefficients, accretion flow, turbulence, fluid instabilities, and shocks. We end with a cursory overview of plasma physics, including the Vlasov equation and the two-fluid model, Langmuir waves, Alfvén waves, Landau damping, ideal vs. resistive magneto- hydrodynamics (MHD), and dynamos. Throughout the course we shall focus on specific astrophysical applications.

  • ASTR 595: Astrophysical Flows

    This course is aimed at graduate students in physics or astronomy

    This course presents an indepth treatment of the dynamics of astrophysical fluids. This includes both collisional and collisionless fluids, as well as neutral and charged fluids (plasmas). After a first-principles derivation of the various fluid equations (continuity, momentum and energy) that links continuum mechanics to kinetic theory, and a brief discussion of astrophysical equations of state,  we will focus on specific types of flows, including inviscid barotropic flow, turbulent flow, viscous accretion flow, shocks, and spiral density waves. We then study various fluid instabilities (convective instability, thermal instability, interface instabilities, gravitational instability) with applications to astrophysics. Next we discuss numerical hydrodynamics, and end with a treatment of plasma physics, including plasma orbit theory, magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD), magnetic tension and Alfven waves, the Vlasov equation and the two-fluid model, magnetic reconnection and dynamos, and various astrophysical applications of plasma physics.

  • ASTR 610:  Theory of Galaxy Formation

    This course is aimed at graduate students in physics or astronomy

    This course prepares the student for state-of-the-art research in galaxy formation and evolution. Topics include Newtonian perturbation theory, the spherical collapse model, formation and structure of dark matter haloes (including Press-Schechter theory), the virial theorem, dynamical friction, cooling processes, theory of star formation, feedback processes, elements of stellar population synthesis, chemical evolution modeling, AGN, and supermassive black holes. The course also includes a detailed treatment of statistical tools used to describe the large scale distribution of galaxies and introduces the student to the concepts of galaxy bias and halo occupation modeling. During the final lectures we discuss a number of outstanding issues in galaxy formation.

  • ASTR 170:  Introduction to Cosmology

    This course is aimed at undergrad non-science majors

    Cosmology is the study of the origin, structure and evolution of the Universe itself: the totality of phenomena of space and time. It is the oldest science, and addresses the biggest questions: How old is the Universe? Did time have a beginning? What is the Universe made of? What are Dark Matter and Dark Energy? Is the Universe finite, and if so, what do we find at the edge? Are we alone in the Universe? In this course we journey from the Ancient Greek world views of Ptolemy and Aristotle to the hot Big-Bang model of modern-day cosmology. Along the way we learn how stars shine, how black holes form, how galaxies take on their shapes, and how Copernicus, Galilei, Newton, Einstein, Hubble and others have transformed our geocentric views to one in which we inhabit just a small planet immersed in an infinite, expanding space-time that is 13.7 billion years old and consists of dark matter and dark energy, and in which galaxies are the product of quantum fluctuations. 

  • ASTR 530: Galaxies

    This course is aimed at graduate students in physics/astronomy

    This course provides the student with a survey of the content, structure, dynamics, formation and evolution of galaxies. After a detailed overview of the various components of galaxies (disk/spheroid, stars, gas, dark matter, supermassive black holes), their statistical properties (luminosity function, size distribution, color distribution, metallicity distribution), and the corresponding scaling relations, the course focusses on the physical processes underlying galaxy formation and evolution.

  • ASTR 5580: Extragalactic Astronomy

    This course is aimed at graduate students in physics or astronomy

    This course provides the student with a background in modern cosmology and extragalactic astronomy. It discusses, at a fairly introductory level, the structure and formation of galaxies, clusters and large scale structure in an expanding Universe dominated by dark matter and dark energy. After an overview of the observed properties of galaxies, clusters, and the large scale structure of the Universe, the course presents a physical description of our current understanding of structure formation in an expanding Universe.

  • Dynamics of Collisionless Systems

    This course is aimed at graduate students in physics/astronomy

    This course describes the physics of collisionless, gravitational N-body systems (stellar systems and dark matter halos). Topics covered include potential theory, orbit theory, collisionless Boltzmann equation, Jeans equations, disk stability, violent relaxation, phase mixing, dynamical friction and kinetic theory.


Michigan Cosmology Summer School 2023
Jerusalem Winter School 2013
  • Lecture 1:  Structure Formation in the Non-Linear Regime
  • Lecture 2:  The Extended Press-Schechter Formalism
  • Lecture 3:  The Structure of Dark Matter Halos
  • Lecture 4:  Semi-Analytical Models of Galaxy Formation
USTC Summer School 2011
  • Lecture: Structure Formation
Osher Institute, Utah, 2009
  • Lecture 1: Structure Formation
  • Lecture 2: Cosmic Microwave Background
Jerusalem Winter School 2003
  • Lecture 1: Semi-Analytical Models of Galaxy Formation
  • Lecture 2: The Formation of Disk Galaxies