Physics 607 and Astro 607

Galaxies and Galaxy Dynamics

Professor: rachel somerville

hubble ultra deep fieldgalaxy imagecoma
Hubble Ultra Deep Field; Hubble Heritage image M66; Coma cluster

1. Course Description

Official course description:

Properties of galaxies: photometry, structure, kinematics, gas content, chemical evolution. Structure of the Milky Way. Equilibrium, stability, and evolution of stellar systems. Dynamics and evolution of disk galaxies (spiral patterns, bars, warps) and elliptical galaxies. Examples of chaotic astrophysical systems. AstroGradCurriculumProposal.dvi

In addition to learning about the observed properties of galaxies, and how they evolve over cosmic time, we will also study the modern theory for how galaxies form in the context of the "hierarchical structure formation" picture provided by the Cold Dark Matter theory. Topics that will be covered include:

-structure formation in the Cold Dark Matter model
-galaxy clustering and bias
-the Milky Way and the Local Group
-demographics of nearby galaxies
-galaxies and their environment
-interactions and mergers
-galaxy evolution over cosmic time
-dynamics and stability of galactic disks
-dynamics and evolution of elliptical galaxies
-black holes and Active Galactic Nuclei

2. Instructor

Prof. rachel somerville
email: somerville [at]
office: 317 Serin
office hours by appointment

taught Spring semester in even number years
in Spring 2018, class will be held T, Th 10:20-11:40 in Serin 401

3. Class Format and Grading

The class will be run as a lecture/discussion. Each student will give two in-class presentations. Assignments will include computationally focused and traditional homework problems, as well as a final research/writing project. Grades will be based on in-class participation, presentations, homework sets, and the final project.

4. Textbooks

The two main texts for the course are
Galaxy Formation and Evolution by Mo, van den Bosch & White: a very recent and excellent graduate level textbook.
Galactic Dynamics (Second Edition) by Binney & Tremaine: advanced graduate level textbook, the 'Bible' of galactic dynamics

5. Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability, please contact Professor Somerville early in the semester to make the necessary arrangements to ensure a successful learning experience.

Click here for more information.

6. Useful links:

Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
NASA/IPAC Extragalactic database (NED)