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The Physics of the Interstellar Medium

Summary: This course is intended to give its students a broad knowledge of how the various constituents of the Interstellar Medium (ISM) interact physically with each other. A detailed outline of the topics to be discussed is provided beginning on the next page. The course will have bi-weekly meetings, and will rely on student preparation and participation.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with Radiative Transfer; good knowledge of Quantum Mechanics; familiarity with Basic Astronomy.

Readings: Sections of texts will be assigned with each Problem Set and will be on reserve in Wolbach Library. In addition, seminal and/or recent relevant journal articles will be assigned, and will be used in class as a launching point for discussion.

Course Meetings: Two 1.5-hour meetings per week. Students should read the assigned journal articles & review the relevant text sections as the course progresses. Much of the "lecture" time will be spent in discussion. Normally, Tuesday meetings will be "lecture"-style, Thursdays will be half lecture, half discussion. The discussions will focus on one relevant research article, and will be led by a different student each week. Lecture notes will be posted to the course Web site after each class.

Guest Lectures: Occasionally during the term, ISM experts from the CfA will give a guest lecture on their specialty. These lectures will cover material already listed in the syllabus below.

Problem Sets: Approximately every two weeks. Problems will cover the "basics," along with more in-depth questions which will often require some research in the literature. Several of the problems will be based on the journal articles which form part of the assigned readings.

Exams: The course will have a take-home final exam, and no in-class exams.

Grading: 40% final exam; 35% problem sets; 25% Journal presentation

Course Web Site: Links to problem sets, reading assignments, WWW links relevant to the course, and lecture notes will be posted here.

Instructor: Alyssa Goodman, office hours by appointment. Room M-330 at the 160 Concord Avenue building of the Center for Astrophysics, 495-9278,

Teaching Fellow: Héctor Arce, office hours by appointment. Room M-329 at the 160 Concord Avenue building of the Center for Astrophysics, 496-6268,

Course Outline: Click Here