Stellar Structure and Evolution
Fall 2002
Unique No. 46640 | MWF 1:00-2:00 | RLM 15.216B

Dr. D.E. Winget

Office: R.L. Moore 17.224
Phone: 471-3404 or Lab RLM 17.310, 471-6417
Office Hours (subject to change): TBA

This syllabus is tentative and is intended for general information purposes only. The professor reserves the right to change or alter this syllabus at any time in order to fit the needs of the class.

In-Class Lecture and Discussions; Guest Lectures; Stellar Seminar: Computing Theoretical Evolutionary Model Sequences

This is intended as a sketch of how I see the course developing at this point in time: I include the estimated time in hours in parentheses as an indication of relative emphasis. It is important for us to know where we are going, but it is also important to be flexible in these goals. The following outline is subject to revision as the course progresses and your interests become better defined.

I. Basic Considerations
astrophysical context of the study of stellar structure and evolution (1)

• why is it important?
• what are the OBSERVABLES?

-mathematical context: basic equations for constructing highly idealized stellar structure models: timescales: virial theorem (3)
-basic equations of stellar evolution: the non-eternal stars (1)
-a walk through the Hertzsprung-Russell zoo (1)

II. Constitutive Physics
-equations of state of matter (3)
-heat transfer by radiation and conduction, a discussion of opacities (2)
-convective energy transport (2)
-energy sources and sinks: nuclear reactions, gravitational contraction, neutrinos, bfe-particles (2)

III. Construction of Numerical Models
-simple models: polytropes, homology transformation (1)
-building a better mule: towards more realistic models, but still leaving out all the physics we can get away with -- and more (1)

IV. Interpretation of the Results of the Numerical Models
-star formation (1)
-main sequence evolution (1)
-post-main sequence evolution (3)
-binary star evolution (1)
-supernovae (1)

V. "Look, Ma, no Physics. . ."
-the three Big Uglies: rotation, convection, and magnetic fields (2)
-mass loss (1)

VI. Applications
-cosmochronology (3)
-to be determined (3)

VII. Reports on Student Projects
-assuming six teams, one report per class period (6)


Class participation 5% based on participation in discussions
Stellar seminar attendance 5% based on attendance (5%-1% x (no. absences))
Note for those who might have observing runs or meetings: If you must be absent, notes in your handwriting (copied from someone else) will be accepted in lieu of attendance.
Course notes 15% your graduate course notes will be your most handy reference material later in your career: this is my way of guaranteeing that your stellar evolution notes will be first-rate.
Exam 1 25% derivation and analytical problems in stellar structure and evolution.
Exam 2 25% derivation and analytical problems in stellar structure and evolution.
Term Project (Numerical Experiments) 25% a project of your choice, built around the calculation of evolutionary sequences using a simplified numerical code provided, and mastering the relevant literature.

REMEMBER: You will get out of this course exactly what you put into it.



1. Clayton, D.D. 1968, Principles of Stellar Evolution and Nucleosynthesis -- probably the best graduate-level text available, discussions generally clear, physical, without too much detail. Through discussion of nucleosynthesis, but too much for this course. Designed for one-year course.
2. Schwarzschild, M. 1958, Structure and Evolution of the Stars-- no modern applications, but discussion of input physics timeless, clear and brief as appropriate to a one-term survey course.
3. Cox, J.P. and Giuli, R. T. 1968, Principles of Stellar Structure (2 volumes) -- the bible -- as a reference work -- but far too detailed to be generally useful for first-time learning. Fair summary of single star evolution in Volume 2, detailed discussion of pulsation theory
4. Chiu and Muriel (eds,) 1972, Stellar Evolution -- excellent review papers.
5. Chiu, H.Y. 1968, Stellar Physics -- standard discussion of basics, particular specialty -- discussion of quantum physics, weak interactions.
6. Chandrasekhar, S. 1939, An Introduction to the Study of Stellar Structure -- still-useful discussions of polytropes, degeneracy, white dwarfs.
7. Stein, R.F. and Cameron, A.G.W. (eds.) 1966, Stellar Evolution -- good reviews, particularly Stein's article on analytical models.


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11 April 2002
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