Syllabus for P630 Nuclear Astrophysics

Fall 2002
Chuck Horowitz

The main themes for this class are nucleosynthesis [how were/are the elements made and in what astrophysical enviornments] and astrophysical neutrinos [from the sun, cosmic rays and supernovae:  how the neutrinos are produced and detected and what they have to say about both neutrinos and the universe].

I. Introduction: Abundances and nuclear physics.  [Arnett chapters 2 and 3]
II. Big Bang nucleosynthesis [Arnett chapter 5]
III. Stellar structure [Bahcall chapter 2, Clayton Chap. 6]
IV. Hydrogen burning and solar neutrinos [Bahcall chapter 3]
V. Neutrino oscillations [Bahcall chapter 9]
VI. Supernovae, core collapse, and supernova neutrinos [Bahcall, chap. 15, Arnett Chapters 12 and 13]
VII. Supernova nucleosynthesis, heavy element abundances and the r-process [Class Notes]
VIII. Neutron Stars [Introductory sections from for example Weinberg p317 or Misner, Thorne and Wheeler and then class notes]

Grading will be based on homework, about once every two weeks, a midterm, and a final.  Both exams will be take home.   It is anticipated that students who do the homework and participate in class will do well.  Most important is to participate in class.  Please ask questions.  This is exspecially important if you are somewhat behind and have not spent much time on the homework.  I will try to reduce the length of the homework assignments and lower the work
load for this class.  P630 should have a much lower work load than a class such as many-body.

Charles Horowitz
Office: Swain West 233 or IUCF 1215
Phone: 5-2959 (IUCF), 5-0303 (Swain), and 331-7919 (Home)
I would be happy to talk to you just about anytime and in anyway.  Thus office hours are MTWRF 9-5 and by arrangement.

Web Site
The web site for this class is

D. Clayton, "Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis."
[Although dated this is the standard reference that has many things in great detail.]
J. Bahcall, "Neutrino astrophysics".  [This has some very nice material including Chapters 2, 3, 4, 6 and 15 that we will use.  It also has some dated chapters that go into more detail then we need.  These we will skip.]

W. Haxton, Nuclear Astrophysics notes.  This postscript file of about 160 pages of notes from a nuclear astrophysics course at the University of Washington is on the course web site.  You will want to get this file and print it out.  Wick Haxton is a very well known nuclear astrophysicist who is director of the Institute for Nuclear Theory in Seattle.
Click here for 630 kb postscript file

D. Arnett, "Supernovae and Nucleosynthesis", Princeton University Press, Princeton 1996.  This text is fairly complete and covers much of what we will discuss.

Other References:
S. Weinberg, "Gravitation and Cosmology" and
C. Misner, K. Thorne, and J. Wheeler, "Gravitation" are two standard references on General Relativity.  We will use just a very little GR for big bang nucleosynthesis and neutron star structure.  This is not a GR course and we will not dwell on GR.

Fetter and Walecka, "Quantum Theory of Many Particle Systems" is one of many texts that covers the small amount of nuclear structure we will use in the class.  The important sections for this class include Chap. 11, sections 38, 39, 40 and 43, also Chap. 15 section 57 on the shell model.  This class will not spend much time on nuclear structure.

Ken Croswell, "The Alchemy of the Heavens", Doubleday 1995.  This is a popular level book that covers some of the history of nucleosynthesis in chapter 9.  Ken was a graduate student in astronomy who got interested in the history of nucleosynthesis and started interviewing people involved such as W. Fowler and then wrote this popular book related to his PhD thesis.