Office: RLM 17.220
Phone: (512) 471-3425
The interstellar medium plays an important role in the evolution and appearance of the Galaxy.
It is the source of material for star formation and a sink for mass lost during stellar evolution.
It also processes much of the radiative and mechanical energy emitted by stars and supernovae.
In this course, we will describe the important features of the ISM, discuss the relevant physics,
and try to understand how interstellar matter behaves.
The course will be a mixture of group discussion and lecture. Reading assignments will be
given 1-2 weeks in advance. You will be expected to have completed the assigned reading before
class. I will assign 2-3 "expert readers" to each topic. The experts will be expected to have read
especially thoroughly. Discussion will be interspersed with brief lectures amplifying the reading
NOTE BENE: In a break with tradition, class will start promptly on the hour. Be there or I will notice.
Problem Sets: There will be short problem sets approximately every other week.
(25% of final grade)
Hour Exams: There will be hour exams on February 26 and April 13.
(Each 12.5% of final grade)
Final Exam: There will be an oral final exam for each student. Exams will take place on
either Thursday 5/3 or Friday 5/4 at a mutually convenient time. Second year students have
the option of taking the exam before their 2nd year defense so as to benefit from the practice.
If you are a second-year student and take your exam before the week of 4/30, I will offer you
the option of a retake, if the performance on the retake offers the possibility of a better grade.
Exams will last 30 minutes. You need to arrange for a neutral senior party to be present at the
exam. This can be your adviser or another prof. or research scientist. (25% of final grade)