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Offered subject to student demand/lecturer availability


The statistical mechanics component builds upon the basic foundations of statistical physics dealing with equilibrium quantum and classical gases. Topics include Liouville's theorem and the Boltzmann equation, and applications to transport processes such as diffusion, electrical and thermal conductivity and the Hall effect; fluctuations around equilibrium, random walks; and introduction to phase transitions.

The plasma physics component provides an introduction to the basic properties of plasmas, such as Debye shielding, the plasma parameter and the plasma frequency. We also investigate scattering of charged particles, Thomson scattering, small and large angle collisions in plasmas. Single particle motions within a plasma are studied, including E x B drift, Grad B drift, curvature and polarization drift. This leads to investigations of conservation of magnetic moment and other adiabatic invariants, magnetic mirrors and Fermi acceleration. Concluding with an examination of waves in plasmas, including Langmuir waves and ion plasma waves.

Summary 2021

Unit name Advanced Astrophysics
Unit code KYA428
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Physics
Teaching staff

Dr P Jarvis and Assoc Prof S Ellingsen

Level Honours
Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? No



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Teaching Pattern

2x1-hr lectures per week


weekly homework tasks; 2 hour test; assignment sets.

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