Astrophysics and the Standard Model
Astrophysics and the Standard Model
Physics 5500, Spring 2019
MW 1:00 AM – 2:15 PM SER 122
James T. Wheeler
SER 228, 2:00 - 3:00 MW or by appointment
Final Exam:
An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, Second Edition
  Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie
  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, NY NY
Kindle edition available.

Homework and notes will be posted in an ongoing way HERE

Brief course outline:

  1. Stellar evolution
    1. Nebulae
    2. Hydrogen ignition and burning
    3. Hertzsprung-Russell diagram and end states
  2. End states of stars
    1. Fermion degeneracy; red giant and white dwarf stars
    2. Supernovae and nucleosynthesis and the Chandrasekhar limit
    3. Neutron stars and Black holes
  3. General relativity
    1. Basic formulation
    2. Three classical tests of general relavitity; precision tests of general relativity
  4. More on neutron stars and black holes
    1. Accretion disks, pulsars, last lightlike orbit
    2. Kerr black holes, energy from rotating black holes
  5. Galaxies
    1. Discovery and abundance
    2. Einstein and the cosmological constant; Hubble's law
    3. Galactic evolution
    4. Big bang and other cosmologies
  6. Tests of cosmological models
    1. Hubble's law
    2. CMB: The cosmic microwave background
    3. Homogeneity & isotropy
    4. Elemental abundances
  7. Early universe
    1. The horizon problem and inflation
    2. Recombination and atomic physics
    3. Nucleosynthesis and nuclear physics
  8. The first three minutes: The standard model of particle physics
    1. Quarks and leptons
    2. Interactions: electroweak and strong
    3. The eightfold way; the octet and decuplet
    4. The Higgs and particle masses
  9. Astroparticle physics
  10. Speculations
USU welcomes students with disabilities. If you have, or suspect you may have, a physical, mental health, or learning disability that may require accommodations in this course, please contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) as early in the semester as possible (University Inn # 101, 435‐797‐2444, All disability related accommodations must be approved by the DRC. Once approved, the DRC will coordinate with faculty to provide accommodations.
Honor Code: The honor code will be strictly enforced in this course. Any suspected violations of the honor code will be promptly reported to the honor system. For more information please visit:
Fall Semester 2018:
Spring Semester 2019
January 7
Classes begin
January 21
M.L.King, Jr. Day
February 18
Presidents' Day
March 11 - 15
Spring Breask
April 17 - 23
No-test Days
April 23
Last Day of Classes
April 29
Final Exam