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Syllabus for

Academic year
FAS010 - Astrophysical dynamics
Astrofysikalisk dynamik
Syllabus adopted 2020-02-20 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPPHS
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Pass with distinction (5), Pass with credit (4), Pass (3), Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Electrical Engineering, Engineering Physics

Teaching language: English
Application code: 85120
Open for exchange students: Yes
Block schedule: C

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0101 Examination 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c   Contact examiner,  Contact examiner,  Contact examiner

In programs

MPPHS PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 2 (elective)
MPPHS PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Alessandro Romeo

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General entry requirements for Master's level (second cycle)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Specific entry requirements

English 6 (or by other approved means with the equivalent proficiency level)
Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling the requirements above.

Course specific prerequisites

The course is open to 4th/5th-year students (or students at an equivalent level) and graduate students with background in physics and mathematics. No prior knowledge of astrophysics is required.


Astrophysical Dynamics is an important field in both cosmology and
astrophysics. It includes a wide variety of topics, strongly
connected with fundamental physics: the formation of stars and
galaxies in the Universe, the dynamics of super-massive black holes
and its impact on galaxy evolution, dark matter, galactic turbulence
and fractality, and many more. This course will give you a solid
background in this field. You will also have the opportunity to
start, directly after the course, an exciting Master's thesis work on
a topic with strong impact on modern research.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

The goal of this course is to make the students familiar with the dynamics of fluids in astrophysics and cosmology, and to make them understand the similarities and differences between gas dynamics, stellar dynamics and plasma physics. The students will learn actively through interaction with the teacher and with each other. The students will play an active role in the course not only during lectures and exercises, which will involve them in thinking and discussing, but also at the exam: the students will teach each other important astrophysical applications of the material learned in the course.


Basics about fluids; the equations of motion; simple applications, illustrated with funny experiments; instabilities; turbulence; astrophysical fractals: interstellar medium and galaxies in the Universe; shocks; magnetic fields; gas dynamics vs. stellar dynamics and plasma physics. Birth, life (and death?) of a galaxy: a step-by-step problem. Multi-scale relations in disc galaxies: spirals, bars and central super-massive black holes. State-of-the-art diagnostics for detecting gravitational instabilities in galaxy discs. Dark matter in galaxies.


Lectures, exercises and seminars on hot topics.


Course notes, complemented by selected references on specific topics.

Examination including compulsory elements

The exam is in the form of a seminar. The topic is chosen by the student from a selected list of issues with strong impact on modern research. Questions on other topics studied in the course will also be asked.

Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.