PHYS 8801: Nuclear Physics I:
Nuclear Astrophysics

Last Update on Wednesday, 01-Feb-2012 07:14:05 AEDT


Prof. Dr. Alexander Heger, 342F Tate, (612)-625-9283

Class dates, time, and location

09:00 - 10:00 A.M. Tuesdays
09:15 - 10:45 A.M. Thursdays

Physics 157

Office Hours

Mondays 14:00-15:00, 342F
and by appointment

Credits and Grading

3.0 cr, A-F or Aud


5001/5002 Quantum Mechanics
5011/5012 Classical Physics
5201 Thermal and Statistical Physics
AST-4001 (recommended)


This is the first part of a course course covering current topics of Nuclear Physics, in particular Nuclear Astrophysics (8801) and Finite-Temperature Field Theory (8802). It has less emphasis on some of the classical nuclear physics theory such as nuclear structure.

PHYS 8801 can be considered an advanced version of continuation of AST-4001 and we anticipate it will be cross-listed as 8000 Stellar Astrophysics in Astronomy.

The goal of this course is to give a thorough overview of the field of Nuclear Astrophysics from microscopic physics input to macroscopic astrophysical environments with special emphasis on nucleosynthesis and neutrinos.

Specific topics include

In addition to homework sets, students will use a stellar evolution code for a class project and contribute a presentation related to one of the class topics.

Active class participation including work in groups during class is expected. Students should be prepared to be called upon in class to give explanantions and show results of in-class work.


A possible project could also be to do your own simulations of stellar evolution - follow a star's life from birth to death - but this does require some computing and programming knowledge including UNIX (Linux, MacOS), FORTRAN, graphics software (like Python/matplotlib).


Whereas you are invited to help each other with homework and the class project, I do expect that every student does the final work by himself/herself, and does do and submit his/her own independent work.


Main Textbooks

Additional Literature


Accommodations for Students With Disabilities: Participants with special needs are strongly encouraged to talk to the instructors as soon as possible to gain maximum access to course information. All discussions will remain confidential.

University policy is to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have documented disability conditions (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, or systemic) that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services and their instructors to discuss their individual needs for accommodations. Disability Services is located in Suite180 McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak Street. Staff can be reached at or by calling 612/626-1333 (voice or TTY).

Diversity and Collegiality:

This course draws graduate students from a variety of disciplines. This diversity of academic experience, assumptions regarding learning, and ways of approaching problems is one of the most enriching aspects of the course. In addition, every class is influenced by the fact that students come from widely diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and hold different values. Because a key to optimal learning and successful teaching is to hear, analyze, and draw from a diversity of views, the instructors expect collegial and respectful dialogue across disciplinary, cultural, and personal boundaries.

Student Mental Health:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via

Student Conduct:

Instructors are responsible for maintaining order and a positive learning environment in the classroom. Students whose behavior is disruptive either to the instructor or to other students will be asked to leave. Students whose behavior suggests the need for counseling or other assistance may be referred to their college office or University Counseling and Consulting Services. Students whose behavior may violate the University Student Conduct Code may be referred to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs.

Sexual Harassment:

University policy prohibits sexual harassment as defined in the University Policy Statement ( adopted on December 11, 1998. Complaints about sexual harassment should be reported to the University Office of Equal Opportunity, 419 Morrill.

Academic Dishonesty:

Students are expected to do their own assigned work. If it is determined that a student has engaged in any form of Academic Dishonesty, he or she may be given an "F" or an "N" for the course, and may face additional sanctions from the University. Academic dishonesty in any portion of the academic work for a course shall be grounds for awarding a grade of F or N for the entire course. See

Attendance and Participation:

Instructors expect students to arrive on time and attend the full class period.