Courses

For a more comprehensive list of all courses offered at Princeton University, go to the Office of the Registrar and check out Course Offerings for classes offered.

Please note that the following list includes all Astrophysics graduate courses. The designated Plasma Physics courses are course numbers AST 551 and above.

Fall 2021

Extragalactic Astronomy
This course is an overview of cosmology and extragalactic astronomy at the graduate level, with an emphasis on the connection between theoretical ideas and observational data. The Big Bang model and the standard cosmological model are emphasized, as well as the properties and evolution of galaxies, quasars, and the intergalactic medium.
Instructors: Jenny Greene, Michael Strauss
Fusion Plasmas & Plasma Diagnostics
Introduction to experimental plasma physics, with emphasis on high-temperature plasmas for fusion. Requirements for fusion plasmas: confinement, beta, power and particle exhaust. Discussion of tokamak fusion and alternative magnetic and inertial confinement systems. Status of experimental understanding: what we know and how we know it. Key plasma diagnostic techniques: magnetic measurements, Langmuir probes, microwave techniques, spectroscopic techniques, electron cyclotron emission, Thomson scattering.
Instructors: Philip Efthimion, William Fox, Richard Majeski, Yevgeny Raitses
General Plasma Physics I
An introductory course to plasma physics, with sample applications in fusion, space and astrophysics, semiconductor etching, microwave generation, plasma propulsion, high power laser propagation in plasma; characterization of the plasma state, Debye shielding, plasma and cyclotron frequencies, collision rates and mean-free paths, atomic processes, adiabatic invariance, orbit theory, magnetic confinement of single-charged particles, two-fluid description, magnetohydrodynamic waves and instabilities, heat flow, diffusion, kinetic description, and Landau damping. The course may be taken by undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
Instructors: Nathaniel Fisch, Hong Qin
Plasma Waves and Instabilities
Hydrodynamic and kinetic models of nonmagnetized and magnetized plasma dispersion; basic plasma waves and their applications; basic instabilities; mechanisms of collisionless dissipation; geometrics-optics approximation, including ray tracing, field-theoretical description of continuous waves, and ponderomotive effects; conservation laws and transport equations for the wave action, energy, and momentum; mode conversion; quasilinear theory.
Instructors: Ilya Dodin
Seminar in Plasma Physics
Advances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturally-occurring high-termperature plasmas, including stability and transport, nonlinear dynamics and turbulence, magnetic reconnection, selfheating of "burning" plasmas, and innovative concepts for advanced fusion systems. Advances in plasma applications, including laser-plasma interactions, nonneutral plasmas, high-intensity accelerators, plasma propulsion, plasma processing, and coherent electromagnetic wave generation.
Instructors: Samuel Cohen, Allan Reiman
Seminar in Theoretical Astrophysics
Designed to stimulate students in the pursuit of research. Participants in this seminar discuss critically papers given by seminar members. Ordinarily, several staff members also participate. Often topics are drawn from published data that present unsolved puzzles of interpretation.
Instructors: Peter Melchior

Spring 2022

Dynamics of Stellar and Planetary Systems
Review of hamiltonian mechanics and potential theory. Planetary systems: current surveys and statistics; keplerian elements; restricted 3-body problem; disturbing functions; secular approximations; resonance; tidal effects. Stellar systems: collisionless equilibira and stability; spiral density waves; dynamical frictions and dynamical relaxation; structure of the Galaxy; current surveys; the Galactic Center.
Instructors: Jeremy Goodman
Fusion Plasmas & Plasma Diagnostics
Introduction to experimental plasma physics, with emphasis on high-temperature plasmas for fusion. Requirements for fusion plasmas: confinement, beta, power and particle exhaust. Discussion of tokamak fusion and alternative magnetic and inertial confinement systems. Status of experimental understanding: what we know and how we know it. Key plasma diagnostic techniques: magnetic measurements, Langmuir probes, microwave techniques, spectroscopic techniques, electron cyclotron emission, Thomson scattering.
Instructors: Philip Efthimion, William Fox, Richard Majeski, Yevgeny Raitses
General Plasma Physics II
This is an introductory graduate course in plasma physics, focusing on magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and its extension to weakly collisional or collisionless plasmas. Topics to be covered include: the equations of MHD and extended MHD, the structure of magnetic fields, static and rotating MHD equilibria and their stability, magnetic reconnection, MHD turbulence, and the dynamo effect. Applications are drawn from fusion, heliophysical, and astrophysical plasmas.
Instructors: Amitava Bhattacharjee, Hantao Ji
Introduction to Classical and Neoclassical Transport and Confinement
The first half of this course intends to provide students with a systematic development of the fundamentals of gyrokinetic (GK) theory, and the second half provides students with an introduction to transport and confinement in magnetically confined plasmas.
Instructors: Hong Qin, William Tang
Irreversible Processes in Plasmas
Introduction to theory of fluctuations and transport in plasma. Origins of irreversibility. Random walks, Brownian motion, and diffusion; Langevin and Fokker-Planck theory. Fluctuation-dissipation theorem; test-particle superposition principle. Statistical closure problem. Derivation of kinetic equations from BBGKY hierarchy and Klimontovich formalism; properties of plasma collision operators. Classical transport coefficients in magnetized plasmas; Onsager symmetry. Introduction to plasma turbulence, including quasilinear theory. Applications to current problems in plasma research.
Instructors: Ilya Dodin, Gregory Hammett
Laboratory in Plasma Physics
Develop skills, knowledge, and understanding of basic and advanced laboratory techniques used to measure the properties and behavior of plasmas. Representative experiments are: cold-cathode plasma formation and architecture; ambipolar diffusion in afterglow plasmas; Langmuir probe measurements of electron temperature and plasma density; period doubling and transitions to chaos in glow discharges; optical spectroscopy for species identification; microwave interferometry and cavity resonances for plasma density determination; and momentum generated by a plasma thruster.
Instructors: Samuel Cohen
Seminar in Observational Astrophysics: Current Research Topics in Astrophysics
Students improve their ability to give effective professional presentations, through lessons and opportunities to communicate their own research.
Instructors: Jo Dunkley
Seminar in Plasma Physics
Advances in experimental and theoretical studies or laboratory and naturally-occurring high-temperature plasmas, including stability and transport, nonlinear dynamics and turbulence, magnetic reconnection, selfheating of "burning" plasmas, and innovative concepts for advanced fusion systems. Advances in plasma applications, including laser-plasma interactions, nonneutral plasmas, high-intensity accelerators, plasma propulsion, plasma processing, and coherent electromagnetic wave generation.
Instructors: Stewart Prager, Allan Reiman