Compact Stellar Remnants: White Dwarfs, Neutron Stars and Black Holes
A star is a very interesting, very complicated physical object. Properties of stars and their evolutionary paths depend on an intricate interplay of different physical phenomena with gravity, nuclear interactions, radiation processes and even quantum and relativistic effects playing important roles. Using basic physics we will construct simple models of stars and discuss their evolution, concentrating on the key physical processes that play the dominant role at different evolutionary stages. We will discuss late stages of stellar evolution and concentrate on the basic properties of three possible remnants: white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Radio and X-ray pulsars, supernovae including Type Ia and Gamma Ray Bursts will be discussed as well as observational confirmation of existence of black holes. We will explore extreme conditions existing near neutron stars and black holes and discuss their astrophysical consequences. We will also discuss the recent exciting detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO/VIRGO laser interferometric detectors.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion, three hours per week
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on classroom participation, homework assignments, a midterm exam and a final exam
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: PHYS 201 or permission of instructor
Distributions: Division III;