
Teaching
James C. Weatherall
Electricity and Magnetism
 Graduate course in classical electromagnetic
theory and topics in mathematical physics.
Two semesters out of Jackson.
 classical electrodynamics, magnetic charge, Proca's
equation and photon mass, vacuum polarization effects
 discrete charge distributions and deltafunctions,
surface boundary conditions, Poisson and Laplace equations
 method of images, variational methods, solving boundary
value problems with Green's functions
 solving boundary value problems with series
expansions
 multipole expansions, dielectric media
 magnetostatics, magnets
 magnetic diffusion, Maxwell's equations, retarded solutions for fields,
Poynting's theorem, Dirac monopoles
 electromagnetic waves, dispersion, signal propagation
 propagation of waves in dispersive media,
whistler waves
 modes in rectangular waveguides, resonant cavities,
Schumann resonances
 antennas, multipole fields
 scattering by spheres, diffraction in apertures
 special theory of relativity, relativistic covariance,
Thomas precession, relativistic dynamics
 collision with charged particles
 LienardWiechert, Larmor formulas, radiation by
particles, synchrotron emission
 bremsstrahlung, radiation in betadecay
 radiation reaction, radiation by classical oscillator
Stellar Astrophysics
 Graduate course in the internal structure and evolution of stars.
The internal structure and evolution of stars described from
formation out of the interstellar medium, to radiative and hydrostatic
equilibrium in the main sequence, to white dwarfs, neutron stars,
and black holes. Emphasis on the physics of hydrostatic
equilibrium, radiative and convective transport, and observational
tests of stellar models through the color magnitude diagram.
 Basic stellar data  brightness of stars, colors of stars,
color magnitude diagrams, distances
 Gravitational instability  free fall time,
hydrostatic equilibrium, virial theorem, Jeans'
instability, KelvinHelmholtz time
 Simple stars  Chandrasekhar integral theorems, polytropes
 Radiative equilibrium  radiation transfer, radiative equilibrium, radiative diffusion, opacities
 Convection  convective energy transport, Schwarzchild stability
criteria, Benard convection theory, mixing length theory
 Energy generation  protonproton cycle, CNO cycle, triple alpha reaction
 Pulsars  electrodynamics of rotating neutron stars
Astrophysics IV
 Topics in the physics of astrophysical systems, including applications
of hydrodynamics and general relativity. Examples include stars, the
interstellar medium, galaxies, and compact objects.
 Relativistic astrophysics

limits of special relativity, theory of straight lines, connection
coefficients, Riemann curvature, geodetic deviation, nearly Newtonian
metric, postNewtonian physics, photon geodesics, radar sounding,
photon deflection by sun, Schwarzchild metric, perihelion advance,
spacetime of black holes
 Astrophysical fluids
 theory of fluid motion,
equation of state, hydrostatics, polytropes/stars,nsound waves,
shocks, supernova remnants, Sedov expansion, snowplow expansion,
fluid instabilities, accretion, xray binaries, stellar outflows,
coronal expansion, bow shocks,generalized virial theorem, collapse of gas
clouds, pulsating stars, collapsing stars, degenerate matter,neutron stars
 Plasma astrophysics
 waves in plasmas, physics of
pulsars, Fermi acceleration, cosmic rays
Astrophysics III
 Topics in the physics of astrophysical gases, with emphasis on
radiative processes. Part of undergraduate option in astrophysics;
also required of graduate students without coursework in this area.
 Thermal processes  Boltzmann law, photon distribution functions,
Rayleigh/Jeans spectrum, Planck spectrum, radiative intensity and flux,
radiation pressure, Eddington limit, thermal particle distribution, Fermi
distribution function, gas pressure, equations of state, degenerate
pressure, Maxwell/Boltzmann distribution, atomic states, two level atom,
ion states, Saha equation
Applications: accretion flows  white dwarfs  Chandrasekhar limit
 Electromagnetic processes  radiation physics, Larmor radiation formula,
emission by collisions: freefree emission, thermal emissivity: Bremsstrahlung,
theory of radiation transfer, radiative opacity, emission by scattering:
Thompson scattering, emission in magnetic fields, cyclotron emission, polarization,
Stokes parameters, propagation in plasmas, dispersion and Faraday rotation
Applications: radiative equilibrium of stars, radio
emission of HII regions, cataclysmic variables, xray
emission of intergalactic medium, pulsars
 Relativistic processes  Lorentz transforms, four
vectors, Maxwell tensor; covariant physics, Compton
scattering, inverse Compton scattering, Kompaneet's
equation, Comptonized spectra, relativistic emission
in magnetic fields, synchrotron emission, synchrotron
ensemble radiation, spectrum, synchrotron polarization,
synchrotron self absorption, Compton synchrotron limit
Applications: Sunayev/Zeldovich effect, accretion disks,
supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei
 Atomic processes  classical spectral line,
line broadening mechanisms, quantum transition rates,
spectroscopic terms: selection rules, oscillator strengths:
equivalent widths
Applications: Interstellar Medium, nonLTE excitation of nebula lines,
ionization equilibrium and Stromgren spheres, interstellar masers
General Physics II
 Basic concepts in electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics and
thermal physics.
Graduate Seminar
Physics Seminar Series

