The University of Arizona

Astrobiology Related Courses


400/500 Level Courses
Atmospheric Sciences 656A (Atmospheric Radiation and Remote Sensing): Theory of atmospheric radiative transfer processes; specific methods for solving the relevant equations; applications to problems in radiative transfer; theoretical basis for remote sensing from the ground and from space; solutions to the "inverse" problem.
Astronomy 596B (Methods in Computational Astrophysics): The course is a "hands-on" introduction to computer use for research by scientists in astrophysics and related areas. The course begins with a survey of and introduction to tools available on Linux systems, web-based tools, and open-source software widely used in astrophysics. Standard methods for integration, iteration, differential and difference equations, and Monte Carlo simulations, are discussed, in one to four dimensions. Historically important methods of radiative transfer, reaction networks, and hydrodynamics are presented, and contrasted with presently-used methods. Parallel programming is introduced, and discussed in terms of new and future computer systems. Special topics are added to reflect new developments. The course is task-oriented, with individual and team work projects, and class participation determining grades. Most of the work is done on the student's own personal computer (Linux or Mac operating systems are preferred). 
Planetary Sciences 594A (Planetary Geology Field Studies): The acquisition of first-hand experience with geologic processes and features, focusing on how those features/processes relate to the surfaces of other planets and how accurately those features/processes can be deduced from remote sensing data. This is a three- to five-day field trip to an area of geologic interest where each student gives a short presentation to the group. This trip typically involves camping and occasional moderate hiking; students need to supply their own camping materials. Students may enroll in the course up to 10 times for credit but only three enrollments will count toward the major. Trip is led by a Planetary Sciences faculty member once per semester.
Geosciences 567 (Inverse Problems in Geophysics): Linear and nonlinear inverse theory, including least squares, generalized and maximum likelihood methods. 
Astronomy 455/555 (Teaching College-Level Astronomy & Planetary Science): Students will discuss their current or recent experiences as a student. They will also learn how to create productive learning environments by reviewing research on the nature of teaching and learning; setting course goals and objectives; using interactive lectures, peer instruction, engaging demonstrations, collaborative groups, tutorials, and ranking tasks; and observing other instructors. Students will conduct a collaborative research project of their choosing related to astronomy and space science. The course will culminate with students presenting mock lectures using these techniques. Prerequisite(s): Student must be Astronomy or Planetary Science undergraduate or graduate major. Consent of instructor. Typical structure: 1 hour lecture. May be repeated: for credit 3 times (maximum 4 enrollments).
Planetary Sciences 554 (Evolution of Planetary Surfaces): The geologic processes and evolution of terrestrial planet and satellite surfaces including the Galilean and Saturnian and Uranian satellites. Course includes one or two field trips to Meteor Crater or other locales. 
Astronomy 545 (Astrophysics of Stars and Accretion): Equations of hydrodynamics; hydrodynamic equilibrium; polytropes; waves, and instabilities; convection and turbulence; radiative transfer; stellar atmospheres; stellar winds; nuclear reactions; stellar structure; helioseismology; stellar evolution; supernovae; white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes; magnetohydrodynamics; accretion flows. 
Planetary Sciences 442/542 (Mars): In-depth class about the planet Mars, including origin and evolution, geophysics, geology, atmospheric science, climate change, the search for life, and the history and future of Mars exploration. There will be guest lectures from professors and research scientists with expertise about aspects of Mars. The course may include visits to Mars exploration centers at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. There will be lots of discussion of recent results and scientific controversies about Mars. All students are expected to have a knowledge of basic calculus. Graduate-level requirements include the completion of a research project that will be presented in class as well as a report. The research project could be analysis of Mars datasets, a laboratory experiment, or new theoretical modeling.
Atmospheric Sciences 441B/541B (Dynamic Metereology): Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology. Graduate-level requirements include a more quantitative and thorough understanding of the subject matter. 
Atmospheric Sciences 441A/541A (Dynamic Meteorology): Thermodynamics and its application to planetary atmospheres, hydrostatics, fundamental concepts and laws of dynamic meteorology.
Planetary Sciences 537 (The Physics of the Sun): The purpose of this course is to present an introduction to the physics of the Sun. Topics will include the physics of solar magnetic fields, solar interior and helioseismology, radiative transfer, solar wind, and solar-energetic particles. This course will introduce the equations of magnetohydrodynamics and apply them to important solar-physics problems. Examples include: the solar dynamo, the physics of sunspots and flares, origin of the solar wind, and the structure of the solar atmosphere. The emphasis throughout will be on basic physical processes and the various approximations used in their application to realistic and relevant problems.
Astronomy 418 (Instrumentation and Statistics): Radiant energy; signals and noise; detectors and techniques for imaging, photometry, polarimetry and spectroscopy. Examples from stellar and planetary astronomy in the x-ray, optical, infrared and radio. 
Planetary Sciences 416/516 (Asteroids, Comets and Kuiper Belt Objects): This is an introduction to the "minor planets," the asteroids, comets and Kuiper Belt objects. The focus will be on origin and evolution (including current evolution), as well as techniques of study. It will include an evening at the telescope of an asteroid search program. Graduate-level requirement includes some original work or calculations in the paper/project submitted and to research one of the primary topics and lead the class discussion of it. 
Planetary Sciences 512 (Planetary Global Tectonics): Application of the physics of solid-state deformation to global tectonics of the terrestrial planets and icy moons of the solar system. Modes of topographic support, isostasy and implications for gravity/topography ratios on one-plate planets. Theory of floating elastic plates as an approximation to the lithosphere. Use of seismic data to determine the interior structure and composition and modes of heat conduction in planets.
Planetary Sciences 510B (Chemistry of the Solar System): Provides an overview of the gas and ice chemistry in planetary environments including molecular structure, spectroscopy, kinetics. The course describes how these physical processes are manifest in the diverse solar system environments. The instructional level is aimed at beginning graduate students with an adequate background comparable to that obtained from advance undergraduate courses in physics and chemistry. Knowledge of vector calculus and elementary differential equations is assumed. Successful students will be able to understand current research in planetary chemistry and will be well prepared for more detailed studies.
Planetary Sciences 407 (Chemistry of the Solar System): Abundance, origin, distribution, and chemical behavior of the chemical elements in the Solar System. Emphasis on applications of chemical equilibrium, photochemistry, and mineral phase equilibrium theory. 
Planetary Sciences 505A (Principles of Planetary Physics): Introductory physics of planetary and interplanetary fluids, plasmas, and solid bodies. Thermodynamics, kinetic theory, fluid dynamics, transport theory, rotational and solid response theory and oribtal mechanics, applied to solar-system objects. 
Planetary Sciences 403/503 (Physics of the Solar System): Survey of planetary physics, planetary motions, planetary interiors, geophysics, planetary atmospheres, asteroids, comets, origin of the solar system. Graduate-level requirements include an in-depth research paper on a selected topic and an oral class presentation.
Geosciences 502 (Analytical and Numerical Modeling in Geosciences): Analytical and numerical solutions to partial differential equations and other models widely used in disparate fields of geosciences.