Physics 606
Stars & Planets
Fall 2020
Prof. Alyson Brooks
classes/office hours via Zoom
Email: abrooks[at]physics.rutgers.edu
Class meetings:
Monday and Thursday 8:4010:00am
Office hours: TBD
Overview
This is an advanced graduate course designed for students pursuing
research in astrophysics. We will study the physics of gas in extreme
conditions and use it to understand the structure and evolution of stars.
We will then transition to a study primarily of planetary dynamics in
order to understand ongoing work on extrasolar planets. We will develop
the formal theory as much as possible and consider computational
approaches as appropriate.
Materials
Here are some of the main sources we will use:
Topics
Here is a preliminary list of topics for the course. A detailed
schedule will be available on our
Canvas site.
 what do we know about stars?
 principles of stellar structure
 gas properties
 energy transport
 nuclear processes
 life cycle: protostars, main sequence, late stages, remnants
 stellar oscillations
 atmospheres: stellar and planetary
 protoplanetary disks
 detecting exoplanets
 growth of planets
 planetary migration
Methods
Astrophysicists use a wide range of analysis methods. You can expect
to see all of the following methods in class and on homework assignments.
(It is okay if some of these are new to you; the key is being willing to
learn and practice.)
 build intuition for physical effects and scalings using dimensional
analysis, toy models, and approximations
 build intuition about typical numbers using specific examples
 solve problems analytically where possible
 solve problems computationally where needed (e.g., numerical integration,
numerical solution of differential equations)
 plot results
Grading
 60% homework (56 assignments)
 15% project proposal
 10% peer review of project proposals
 15% final presentation
Collaboration
 You should first try all the homework problems yourself. You may then
discuss the problems with other students in this course, but you must write
up your solutions individually. Include a brief note about what you
discussed, and with whom.
 You may consult books and published papers, but not solutions sets from
other courses at Rutgers or elsewhere. If you use material from any other
source (for homework, the final paper, or the presentation), make sure to
give clear attribution.
 We will discuss whether the final projects will be independent or
collaborative, depending on enrollment and student interest.
 Please familiarize yourself with the
Rutgers policy on academic
integrity.
Class Policies and Resources

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integrity, support for students with disabilities, and student wellness
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