College of Arts and Sciences
Interdepartmental Graduate Committee on Astrophysics
Professor Stuart L. Mufson (Astronomy), Chairperson; Professors Andrew Bacher (Physics), Haldan Cohn (Astronomy), Richard H. Durisen (Astronomy), Alan Kostelecky (Physics), James Musser (Physics); Assistant Professor Constantine Deliyannis (Astronomy); Senior Scientist Charles Bower (Physics)
Professor Richard H. Durisen, Swain Hall West 319, (812) 855-6921
Doctor of Philosophy. The Astrophysics program is administered jointly by the Department of Astronomy and the Department of Physics through the interdepartmental committee named above. Interested students must first gain admission to one of these departments and then petition the committee for entrance into the program after establishing departmental residency. Students may qualify for a masterís degree in astronomy or physics while in this program. The astrophysics committee plays an administrative role only. Doctoral dissertations in astrophysics may be directed by any qualified member of the graduate faculty.
Special Program Requirements
(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)
A student should have the combined admission requirements of doctoral students in astronomy and physics, i.e., a thorough undergraduate training in physics and mathematics, plus familiarity with general astronomy at the level of A201-A202 or, preferably, A451. Deficiencies must be removed early, usually without graduate credit.
A total of 90 credit hours, including the following courses or their equivalents: Physics P506, P511, P521, and P556; four courses from among Astronomy A505, A520, A540, A550, A570, A575, and A580; one course from among P507, P512, P637, G630, and G650 or a fifth astronomy core course; and dissertation.
By meeting the course requirements for this degree, a student from the Department of Astronomy will automatically fulfill the requirements for a minor in physics, and a student from the Department of Physics will automatically fulfill the requirements for a minor in astronomy.
Foreign Language/Research-Skill Requirement
A student in the Astrophysics program must meet the foreign language/research-skill requirements (if any) of the department of residence.
Grades below B (3.0) in astronomy and physics courses may be counted toward degree requirements only with the consent of the astrophysics committee.
A student must pass specially designated parts of the qualifying examinations of both departments: specifically, half of the physics qualifying examination, which emphasizes classical mechanics, electromagnetism (through Chapter 6 of Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics), and statistical physics, plus half of the astronomy qualifying examination. In its current form, the astronomy qualifying examination consists of six sections corresponding to the six astronomy core courses. An astrophysics student must choose three of these sections in advance of the examination and then must take and pass those three sections. The examination requirements must be satisfied by the end of the studentís sixth semester in residence. The department of residence may also specify its own deadline for passage of the examination it administers.
Oral defense of dissertation.
G630 Nuclear Astrophysics (3 cr.) P: A451, P453-P454, or consent of instructor. R: A550, P511. Applications of nuclear physics to astronomy. Fundamental properties of nuclei and nuclear reactions. Element synthesis and energy generation in the big bang, stellar interiors, and supernovae. Discussion of current topics: cosmological nucleosynthesis, solar neutrino flux, explosive nucleosynthesis, high-energy nuclear processes.
G650 High Energy Astrophysics (3 cr.) Covers cosmic rays from the perspective of astrophysics and high energy particle physics. Examples of topics that may be included are the production, propagation, and interactions of cosmic rays as well as the experimental detection of cosmic rays. Subtopics include atmospheric and solar neutrinos, magnetic monopoles, point sources of cosmic rays, neutrino oscillations, air showers, and stellar collapse detection.
G750 Topics in Astrophysical Sciences (1-3 cr.) A seminar in astrophysics with special emphasis on subjects involving more than one department. Examples of such topics include planetology, nucleosynthesis, nuclear cosmochronology, isotopic anomalies in meteorites, particle physics of the early universe, and atomic processes in astrophysical systems.
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