PH30110: Computational astrophysics
[Page last updated: 12 August 2020]
Academic Year:  2020/1 
Owning Department/School:  Department of Physics 
Credits:  6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits] 
Notional Study Hours:  120 
Level:  Honours (FHEQ level 6) 
Period: 

Assessment Summary:  CW 100% 
Supplementary Assessment: 

Requisites:  Before taking this module you must ( take PH20105 OR take PH20018 ) AND take PH30108 
Description:  Aims: The aims of this unit are to introduce students to the practical use of computer modelling as a complement to theoretical and experimental solution of physical and astrophysical problems. Learning Outcomes: After taking this unit the student should be able to: * identify the strengths and weaknesses of a computational approach to modelling; * demonstrate a practical knowledge of Python and C programming languages; * construct Python/C programs to analyse astrophysical problems; * use computational modelling to perform indepth investigations into selected topics; * explain the methodology, issues and output of the investigations performed. Skills: Written Communication T/F A, Numeracy T/F A, Data Acquisition, Handling, and Analysis T/F A, Information Technology T/F A, Problem Solving T/F A. Content: Introduction to computational modelling as a means of gaining insight into physical problems (1 hour). Review of Programming in Python/C (4 hours): constants, variables, expressions, functions, arrays, iterative loops. Differentiation and integration. Standard functions. Input and output of data. Graphical output. Three projects based on Modelling methods and topics listed below (6, 9, 15 hours respectively) Modelling methods: Ordinary differential equations: boundaryvalue problems, Euler's method, RungeKutta algorithms, shooting method, finitedifference method. Partial differential equations. Monte Carlo methods. Nbody simulations of diffuse and centrallycondensed systems. Exercises and projects based upon development of Python/C programs: Projects based upon topics taken from: planetary dynamics, prediction of orbits, multiplestar systems; radiation transport, Boltzmann and Saha equations, opacity; hydrodynamics, Euler equations, formation of shock waves; nuclear reaction networks, stellar nucleosynthesis; equations of stellar structure, modelling the Sun's interior; gas degeneracy, modelling of white dwarfs and neutron stars; astrophysical plasmas; spiral density waves; extragalactic bending of light, gravitational lensing, dark matter; simple cosmological models, large scale structure of the Universe. The Zel'dovich approximation. 
Programme availability: 
PH30110 is Optional on the following programmes:Department of Physics

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