Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Spring 2021

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
ASTRO1102 Our Solar System  

Full details for ASTRO 1102 - Our Solar System

Spring.
ASTRO2034 Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos Conventional wisdom would have it that the "black" in black holes has nothing to do with race. Surely there can be no connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness. Can there? Contemporary Black Studies theorists, artists, fiction writers implicitly and explicitly posit just such a connection. Theorists use astronomy concepts like "black holes" and "event horizons" to interpret the history of race in creative ways, while artists and musicians conjure blackness through cosmological themes and images. Co-taught by professors in Comparative Literature and Astronomy, this course will introduce students to the fundamentals of astronomy concepts through readings in Black Studies. Texts may include works by theorists like Michelle Wright and Denise Ferreira da Silva, authors like Octavia Butler and Nalo Hopkinson, music by Sun Ra, Outkast and Janelle Monáe. Astronomy concepts will include the electromagnetic spectrum, stellar evolution, and general relativity.

Full details for ASTRO 2034 - Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos

Spring.
ASTRO2201 The History of the Universe General discussion of how the universe has evolved since the Big Bang era and how our understanding of it has changed from ancient to modern times. Several main themes are covered over the course of the semester: the evolution of our view of the sky from that of ancient cultures to that of space telescopes; the formation and nature of black holes; dark matter and dark energy; and the origin, evolution, and fate of the universe. Presents a nonmathematical introduction to these subjects and discusses uncertainties and unresolved issues in our understanding.

Full details for ASTRO 2201 - The History of the Universe

Spring.
ASTRO2211 Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology Course surveying the evolution of the universe from the Big Bang onwards: what happens in the first few minutes of the universe's life; star formation, structure, and evolution; the physics of white dwarfs, neutron stars, and black holes; galaxy formation and structure; and cosmology. The roles of quantum physics, particle physics, and relativity in astrophysics are discussed (no prior knowledge of these is assumed). The course is more in-depth than ASTRO 1101/ASTRO 1103. All course materials are made available online.

Full details for ASTRO 2211 - Astronomy: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

Spring.
ASTRO3334 Data Analysis and Research Techniques in Astronomy Introduction to the tools of data processing and analysis for research in astronomy.  The course reviews the techniques employed in astrophysical research, both observational and theoretical, to explore the universe.  Methods and strategies of data acquisition and image and signal processing are discussed. Students gain hands-on experience with visualization techniques and methods of error analysis, data fitting, numerical simulation, and data scalability.  Exercises address the processes by which astrophysicists piece together observations made with today's foremost astronomical instruments to solve questions concerning the origin of planets, stars, galaxies, and the universe itself.  This course prepares students with the techniques and computing tools necessary to undertake research in astronomy and other data-driven fields.

Full details for ASTRO 3334 - Data Analysis and Research Techniques in Astronomy

Spring.
ASTRO4432 Evolution of Galaxies An overview of modern astrophysical concepts for physical science and engineering students similar in terms of level, style and prerequisites as ASTRO 4431. A previous knowledge of the ASTRO 4431 material is useful but not required. The course will include topics not covered in ASTRO 4431, such as formation of stars and planets (including exoplanets), dynamics and formation of galaxies, dark matter and cosmology, and gravitational wave astronomy. Current research problems in these areas are introduced along the way. The emphasis is on using fundamental principles of physics to explain astronomical phenomena.

Full details for ASTRO 4432 - Evolution of Galaxies

Spring.
ASTRO4523 Modeling, Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy This course builds upon a review of probability and statistics to explore, develop, and apply algorithms for discovering objects and events in astronomical data, for inference of sophisticated models for populations of objects using frequentist and Bayesian methods, and for visualization and presentation of results to address fundamental questions using persuasive, data-based arguments. Methods include time-series analysis; clustering, classification algorithms, genetic and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods.

Full details for ASTRO 4523 - Modeling, Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy

Spring.
ASTRO4940 Independent Study in Astronomy Individuals work on selected topics. A program of study is devised by the student and instructor.

Full details for ASTRO 4940 - Independent Study in Astronomy

Fall or Spring.
ASTRO6510 General Relativity II A continuation of PHYS 6553 and ASTRO 6509 that covers a variety of advanced topics and applications of general relativity in astrophysics, cosmology, and high-energy physics.

Full details for ASTRO 6510 - General Relativity II

Spring (offered in odd-numbered years only).
ASTRO6511 Physics of Black Holes, White Dwarfs, and Neutron Stars Compact objects (neutron stars, black holes and white dwarfs) are the endpoints of stellar evolution. They are responsible for some of the most exotic phenomena in the universe such as supernovae, magnetars, gamma-ray bursts, neutron star and black hole mergers.  Supermassive black holes also lie at the heart of the violent processes in active galactic nuclei. The study of compact objects allows one to probe physics under extreme conditions (high densities, strong magnetic fields, and gravity). This course surveys the astrophysics of compact stars and related subjects. Emphasis is on the application of diverse theoretical physics tools to various observations of compact stars. There are no astronomy or general relativity prerequisites. 

Full details for ASTRO 6511 - Physics of Black Holes, White Dwarfs, and Neutron Stars

Spring.
ASTRO6523 Modeling, Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy This course builds upon a review of probability and statistics to explore, develop, and apply algorithms for discovering objects and events in astronomical data, for inference of sophisticated models for populations of objects using frequentist and Bayesian methods, and for visualization and presentation of results to address fundamental questions using persuasive, data-based arguments. Methods include time-series analysis; clustering, classification algorithms, genetic and Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods.

Full details for ASTRO 6523 - Modeling, Mining and Machine Learning in Astronomy

Spring.
ASTRO6531 Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics This course will survey fluid dynamics (including magnetohydrodynamics and some plasma physics) important for understanding astronomical phenomena. Topics include basic fluid and MHD concepts and equations, waves and instabilities of various types (e.g., sound, gravity, Rossby, hydromagnetic, spiral density waves; Rayleigh-Taylor, thermal, Jeans, rotational, magnetorotational instabilities), shear and viscous flows, turbulence, shocks and blast waves, etc. These topics will be discussed in different astrophysical contexts and applications, such as atmosphere and ocean, star and planet formation, compact objects, interstellar medium, galaxies and clusters. This course is intended mainly for graduate students (both theory and observation) and senior undergraduates in physics and engineering interested in astrophysics and space physics. No previous exposure to fluid dynamics is required.

Full details for ASTRO 6531 - Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics

Spring (not offered every year).
ASTRO6578 Planet Formation and Evolution Survey of chemical and physical processes important to the origin and evolution of planetary systems. The first part of the course will cover the formation of planets including the astronomical context, nucleosynthesis, meteoritics, condensation sequence, accretion, dynamical evolution, and observational constraints (disks, exoplanets, major planets, satellites, and small bodies). The second part of the course will cover planetary internal structure and evolution including melting, differentiation, core formation, convection, thermal evolution, and magnetic fields.

Full details for ASTRO 6578 - Planet Formation and Evolution

Spring.
ASTRO6940 Advanced Study and Research Guided reading and seminars on topics not currently covered in regular courses.

Full details for ASTRO 6940 - Advanced Study and Research

Fall or Spring.
ASTRO7683 Seminar: Astronomy and Planetary Science This course is a reading seminar where graduate students will gain astronomy breadth, practice public speaking, and distill important results from seminal astronomy research papers.

Full details for ASTRO 7683 - Seminar: Astronomy and Planetary Science

Fall, Spring.
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