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ASP3222 - Physics for astrophysics

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader(s): Associate Professor Andrei Nikulin


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


This unit consists of three lecture sub-units and a practical component:

  • Nuclear physics: nuclear stability, shell model and angular momentum, radioactive decay selection rules, the neutrino and Fermi theory of beta decay, nuclear force;
  • Evolution of massive stars and synthesis of chemical elements; creation of supernova remnants and neutron stars, and types of continuum and line emission produced; interpreting X-ray spectra in relation to physical and chemical properties of these objects;
  • Elementary particles: spin, parity, isotopic spin, strangeness and baryon/lepton number, conservation laws of the fundamental interactions, symmetry theories.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • describe nuclear systematics, nuclear models and nuclear structure;
  • understand the evolution and nucleosynthesis in massive stars; continuum radiation, collisional plasmas and atomic line emission in X-ray band from supernova remnants; nuclear processes as the supernova shock wave propagates through the star;
  • relate observed X-ray spectra to structure and dynamics of supernova remnants and neutron stars:
  • describe the properties of elementary particles, their interactions and role in cosmological evolution;
  • undertake computation and analysis quantifying nuclear, stellar and particle properties;
  • present results, analysis and critical discussion based on a selected astrophysics topic.


Examinations (4.5 hours at 1.5 hours each): 72%
Assignments and Practical: 28%

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures and an average of 2 hours tutorial/practical per week


PHS2011, PHS2022, MTH2010, MTH2032



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