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Course Descriptions

 

Descriptive Cosmology  --  Astronomy  3 [2 units]
Course Format: Two hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: none
Description: Non-mathematical description of research and results in modern extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.
(F) Ma
 
 
Introduction to Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  7A [4 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture and one hour of laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: Physics 7A-7B (7B can be concurrent), or consent of the instructor.
Credit option: Students will receive 2 units of credit for 7A after taking 10; 6 units of credit for both 7A-7B after taking 10.
Description: This is the first part of an overview of astrophysics, with an emphasis on the way in which physics is applied to astronomy. This course deals with the solar system and stars, while 7B covers galaxies and cosmology. Solar system topics include orbital mechanics, geology of terrestrial planets, planetary atmospheres, and the formation of the solar system. The study of stars will treat determination of observations, properties and stellar structure, and evolution. The physics in this course includes mechanics and gravitation; kinetic theory of gases; properties of radiation and radiative energy transport; quantum mechanics of photons, atoms, and electrons; and magnetic fields.
(F) Quataert
 
Introduction to Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  7B [4 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture and one hour of laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: Physics 7A-7B (7B can be concurrent) or consent of the instructor.
Credit option: Students will receive 2 units of credit for 7B after taking 10; 6 units of credit for both 7A-7B after taking 10.
Description: This is the second part of an overview of astrophysics, which begins with 7A. This course covers the Milky Way galaxy, star formation and the interstellar medium, galaxies, black holes, quasars, dark matter, the expansion of the universe and its large-scale structure, and cosmology and the Big Bang. The physics in this course includes that used in 7A (mechanics and gravitation; kinetic theory of gases; properties of radiation and radiative energy transport; quantum mechanics of photons, atoms, and electrons; and magnetic fields) and adds the special and general theories of relativity.
(SP) Marcy
 
 
Introduction to General Astronomy  --  Astronomy  10 [4 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week.
Credit option: Students will receive no credit for 10 after taking 7A or 7B.
Description: A description of modern astronomy with emphasis on the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the Universe. Additional topics optionally discussed include quasars, pulsars, black holes, and extraterrestrial communication, etc. Individual instructor's synopses available from the department.
(F,SP) Filippenko, Davis, Basri, Bloom
 
The Planets  --  Astronomy  C12 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Description: A tour of the planets and moons of the solar system, and an introduction to their internal structures, atmospheres, and surface features. Processes that form planets and act continually to change them (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes, giant impacts) are discussed, as are comets, asteroids, rings, and life. Information gained from recent spacecraft missions is highlighted. Intended for non science majors. Also listed as Earth and Planetary Science C12.
(SP) Marcy, Basri
 
Freshman Seminars  --  Astronomy  24 [1 units]
Course Format: One hour of seminar per week.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit as topic varies.
Grading option: Section 1 to be graded on a pass/no pass basis. Section 2 to be graded on a letter-grade basis.
Description: The Berkeley Seminar Program has been designed to provide new students with the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member in a small-seminar setting. Berkeley Seminars are offered in all campus departments, and topics vary from department to department and semester to semester. (F,SP)
 
Seminar  --  Astronomy  39 [1.5 units]
Course Format: Two hours of seminar per week.
Grading option: Sections 1-2 to be graded on a letter-grade basis. Sections 3-4 to be graded on a passed/not passed basis.
Description: A small-size undergraduate seminar exploring one astronomical topic in depth. Students are responsible for much of the presentation.
(SP) Basri, Filippenko, Davis
 
Directed Study in Astronomy  --  Astronomy  99 [1-3 units]
Course Format:
Prerequisites: 7A-B, 10 and consent of instructor.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.
Description: Supervised observational studies or directed reading for lower division students.
(F,SP) Staff
 
Communicating Astronomy  --  Astronomy  100 [1-2 units]
Course Format: Two hours of lecture per week plus time spent at K-12 schools.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Description: This course is for undergraduate or graduate students interested in improving their ability to communicate their scientific knowledge to the public and more specifically to K-12 students. The course combines lectures in science education and teaching methodology and pedagogy with six weeks of supervised teaching in local K-12 schools. The students will use materials developed from the Lawrence Hall of Science and other sources and will develop a demonstration of their own. They will receive feedback on their presentations. There will be some general discussion of the state and methods of science education.
(F,SP) Basri
 
Optical Astronomy Laboratory  --  Astronomy  120 [4 units]
Course Format: Four hours of discussion and one hour of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 7A-7B; Mathematics 53, 54; Physics 7A-7B-7C (7C may be taken concurrently).
Formerly 120A
Description: This course requires four to six experiments such as the following: accurate position measurements of stars with subsequent derivation of the diameter of the Earth and the refraction of the atmosphere; laboratory exploration of the characteristics of charge-coupled devices; measurement of the distance, reddening, and age of a star cluster; measurement of the Stokes parameters and linear polarization of diffuse synchrotron and reflection nebulae; measurement of the period and pulse shape of the Crab pulsar using Fourier techniques. There is a heavy emphasis on error analysis, software development in the IDL language, and high-quality written reports.
(F) Graham
 
Radio Astronomy Laboratory  --  Astronomy  121 [4 units]
Course Format: Four hours of discussion and one hour of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 7A-7B; Mathematics 53, 54; Physics 7A-7B-7C; Physics 110B recommended.
Formerly 120B
Description: Several basic laboratory experiments that concentrate on microwave electronics and techniques; construction of receiving, observing, and data analysis systems for two radioastronomical telescopes, a single-dish 21-cm line system and a 12-GHz interferometer; use of these telescopes for astronomical observing projects including structure of the Milky Way galaxy, precise position measurement of several radio sources, and measurement of the radio brightness distributions of the sun and moon with high angular resolution. There is a heavy emphasis on digital data acquisition, software development in the IDL language, and high-quality written reports.
(SP) Blitz, Heiles
 
Infrared Astronomy Laboratory  --  Astronomy  122 [4 units]
Course Format: Four hours of discussion and one hour of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 7A-7B; Mathematics 53, 54; Physics 7A-7B-7C.
Description: Course consists of one basic laboratory experiment to explore the fundamental properties and characterize the performance of solid-state infrared photon detectors. This will be followed by three to five observational astronomical measurements using an infrared detector array on the instructional telescopes at Leuschner Observatory to study the Jovian planets; moons and rings; interstellar extinction and the colors of stars; regions of star formation; and using the infrared Tully-Fisher method to estimate distances to galaxies.
(F) Graham, Marcy
 
Stellar Physics  --  Astronomy  160 [4 units]
Course Format: Four hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week.
Prerequisites: Senior standing in astronomy/physics or consent of instructor. Physics 112 (may be taken concurrently) and either Physics 110A-110B or Physics 137A-137B.
Description: Observational constraints on the properties and evolution of stars. Theory of stellar structure. Stellar atmospheres and stellar spectroscopy. Evolution of high and low mass stars; supernovae. Degeneracy of matter and structure of collapsed stars. Elements of gas dynamics, accretion onto compact objects, and x-ray sources. Dynamics and evolution of close binary systems, either stellar pulsation or formation.
(F) Filippenko
 
Relativistic Astrophyics and Cosmology  --  Astronomy  C161 [4 units]
Course Format: Four hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week.
Prerequisites: Senior standing in astronomy or physics or consent of instructor. Physics 112 ( may be taken concurrently) and either Physics 110A-110B or Physics 137A-137B. A prior knowledge of astrophysics comparable to that offered in Astronomy 7A-B is useful but not required.
Description: Elements of general relativity. Physics of pulsars, cosmic rays, black holes. The cosmological distance scale, elementary cosmological models, properties of galaxies and quasars. The mass density and age of the universe. Evidence for dark matter and concepts of the early universe and of galaxy formation. Reflections on astrophysics as a probe of the extrema of physics. Also listed as Physics C161.
(SP) Lee, White
 
Planetary Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  C162 [4 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 53, 54; Physics 7A-7B-7C.
Description: Physics of planetary systems, both solar and extra-solar. Star and planet formation, radioactive dating, small-body dynamics and interaction of radiation with matter, tides, planetary interiors, atmospheres, and magnetospheres. High-quality oral presentations will be required in addition to problem sets. Also listed as Earth and Planetary Science C162.
(F) Chiang, Marcy, de Pater
 
 
Special Study for Honors Candidates  --  Astronomy  H195 [2-4 units]
Course Format:
Description: Individual project of research or study.
(F,SP) Staff
 
Supervised Independent Study and Research  --  Astronomy  199 [2-4 units]
Course Format: Independent study.
Prerequisites: 127A-127B.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.
Description: Enrollment is restricted by regulations in the General Catalog.
(F,SP) Staff
 
Radiation Processes in Astronomy  --  Astronomy  201 [4 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: Physics 105, 110A; 110B concurrently; open to advanced undergraduates with GPA of 3.70.
Description: Formerly 201A. An introduction to the basic physics of astronomy and astrophysics at the graduate level. Principles of energy transfer by radiation. Elements of classical and quantum theory of photon emission; bremastrahlung, cyclotron and synchrotron radiation. Compton scattering, atomic, molecular and nuclear electromagnetic transitions. Collisional excitation of atoms, molecules and nuclei.
(F) Chiang
 
Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics  --  Astronomy  202 [4 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 201.
Description: Formerly 201B. Principles of gas dynamics, magnetohydrodynamics and elementary kinetic theory with particular emphasis on ionized gases (plasmas). Aspects of convection, shock waves, high speed winds of astrophysical relevance and wave phenomena. Concepts of high energy particle acceleration and transport. Collective phenomena in stellar systems.
(SP) Quataert, Chiang
 
Astrophysical Techniques  --  Astronomy  203 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week and frequent laboratory work plus observatory visits.
Prerequisites: 201 and 290A; 290B must be taken concurrently.
Description: Introduction to the flow of astronomical signals through telescope optics and into detectors; subsequent calibration, deconvolution of instrumental artifacts, and analysis. A broad wavelength approach is maintained with focus on shared fundamental concepts. Students "adopt a wavelength band" for assignments and presentations. Analysis and simulation of astronomical signals, noise, and errors.
(SP) Graham
 
Numerical Techniques in Astronomy --  Astronomy  204 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of seminar per week.
Prerequisites: Mathematics 54
Description: Methods of data analysis, model fitting, and data display, all oriented towards the detailed analysis of astronomical observation data and/or numerical results from simulations. Specific topics include probability density functions, error propagation, maximum likelihood, least squares, data and function fitting, Fourier transforms, wavelets, principal components analysis, color images. The software language used is the Interactive Data Language (IDL).
(SP) Heiles
 
Interstellar Matter  --  Astronomy  216 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 201.
Description: A survey of the observational data and theoretical ideas on the interstellar medium, with emphasis on the inferred physical conditions.
(S) Blitz, Heiles, Graham
 
Stellar Atmospheres  --  Astronomy  217 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 201.
Description: Spectral characteristics of normal and peculiar stars. Interpretation via model atmosphere, line profiles, curve of growth, etc. Line and continuous opacity, line-blanketing, convection, non-LTE, extended atmospheres. Current problem areas.
Basri, Marcy
 
Stellar Dynamics and Galactic Structure  --  Astronomy  218 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Description: A basic course. Structure and kinematics of the galaxy; stellar population concepts; dynamics of stellar systems with and without encounters.
(F) Blitz, Davis, Graham, Spinrad
 
Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology  --  Astronomy  C228 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Description: A survey of the field of extragalactic astronomy. Classification and morphology of galaxies, the distance scale, galaxy dynamics and masses, the stellar population of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, galaxy evolution, and active galactic nuclei (including QSOs). Cosmological models and the early universe.  Also listed as Physics C228.
(SP) Davis, Lee, Ma, White
 
Solar System Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  C249 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 127 series or consent of instructor.
Description: The physical foundations of solar system astronomy. The study of planetary atmospheres and surfaces. Meteors, comets, and the interplanetary medium. Observational techniques and problems.  Also listed as Earth and Planetary Science C249.
(F) de Pater, Jeanloz, Marcy
 
Special Topics in Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  250 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Description: Topics will vary from semester to semester. See department for announcements.
(SP) Staff
 
Stellar Structure and Evolution  --  Astronomy  252 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 137A-137B, 112, 110A-110B.
Description: Equations of stellar structure, radiative transfer and convection, thermonuclear reactions and stellar energy generations; stellar models, degenerate configurations, evolutionary sequences, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes, nucleosynthesis. 
(F,SP) Arons, Filippenko, Marcy
 
High Energy Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  C254 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 201 or consent of instructor.
Description: Basic physics of high energy radiation processes in an astrophysics environment. Cosmic ray production and propagation. Applications selected from pulsars, x-ray sources, supernovae, interstellar medium, extragalactic radio sources, quasars, and big-bang cosmologies. Also listed as Physics C254.
(F) Arons, Boggs, Lin, Quataert
 
Computational Methods in Theoretical Astrophysics  --  Astronomy  255 [3 units]
Course Format: Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: 201, 202, or consent of instructor.
Description: A broad survey of state-of-the-art approaches to astrophysical self-gravitational gas dynamics with application to large scale simulation of coupled non-linear astrophysical flows. Finite-difference approaches for Lagrangian and Eulerian astrophysical hydrodynamics and coupled radiation-hydrodynamics. N-body gravitation techniques including direct N-body, P-M, P3M and hieracrchical Tree. Particle gas dynamics methods such as Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH), Adaptive SPH and unification of SPH and Tree hierarchies (TREE-SPH). Advanced techniques such as higher order finite difference hydrodynamics with Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR). Applications of these approaches in three broad areas: Cosmology; High Energy Astrophysics and the Interstellar Medium.
(SP) Klein, White
 
Theoretical Astrophysics Seminar  --  Astronomy  C285 [2 units]
Course Format: Two hours of lecture per week.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: The study of theoretical astrophysics. Also listed as Physics C285.
(F,SP)  Arons, Chiang, Quataert
 
Introduction to Current Research  --  Astronomy  290A [1 units]
Course Format: One hour of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: Survey of research currently being performed in the Department or the University.
(F) Backer, Basri
 
Introduction to Current Research  --  Astronomy  290B [1 units]
Course Format: One hour of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: Continuation of 290A. Study of a research topic with an individual staff member.
(SP) Backer, Basri
 
Seminar  --  Astronomy  292 [1-2 units]
Course Format: Two hours of seminar per week.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: In addition to the weekly colloquium, the Department offers seminars in advanced topics, several of which are announced at the beginning of each semester. A maximum of 5 units may be taken per semester with a limitation of 2 in any one section.
(F,SP) Staff
 
Directed Group Study  --  Astronomy  298 [1-4 units]
Course Format: Tutorial.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: Tutorial for groups of two or three students.
(F,SP) Staff
 
Advanced Study and Research  --  Astronomy  299 [2-12 units]
Course Format:
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Description:
(F,SP) Staff
 
Instruction Techniques in General Astronomy  --  Astronomy  300 [2-6 units]
Course Format: Two hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: Discussion and practice of teaching techniques as applied to astronomy. Open to graduate students who are presently teaching assistants or associates. Two units for course plus one section; three units for two discussion sections.
(F,SP) Staff
 
Undergraduate Astronomy Instruction  --  Astronomy  301 [1-2 units]
Course Format: One hour of lecture and three to six hours of laboratory per week.
Prerequisites: An elementary astronomy course and consent of instructor.
Credit option: Course may be repeated for a maximum of 4 units.
Grading option: Must be taken on a passed/not passed basis.
Description: Open to a limited number of highly qualified undergraduate students interested in astronomy teaching at the college level. Students will participate in a seminar on educational methods and engage in tutorial or laboratory teaching under supervision of a faculty member.
Staff
 
Individual Study for Doctoral Students  --  Astronomy  602 [1-8 units]
Course Format:
Credit option: Course may be repeated for credit.
Grading option: Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Description: Individual study in consultation with the major field adviser, intended to provide an opportunity for qualified students to prepare themselves for the various examinations required of candidates for the Ph.D. (and other doctoral degrees). May not be used for unit or residence requirement for the doctoral degree.
(F,SP) Staff