Nuclear Astrophysics

Course Website:

Course Description:

The goal of this course is to develop a thorough understanding of the close relationship between the properties of nuclei - quantum systems of femtometer length scale, and the properties of the Universe - governed by gravity on mega parsec lengths scales. I will attempt to cover a broad range of astrophysical scenarios and nuclear reaction processes to provide an overview over the problems nuclear astrophysics addresses and over the techniques that are used to solve them. I will try to emphasize current research directions, in particular the role of unstable nuclei, as well as outline the major historic steps that led to our current understanding.


Prof. Hendrik Schatz
Room: W-211 Cyclotron Building
Telephone: 333-6397
Office hours: after class and by appointment


The course will not follow a single text book, and therefore there is no mandatory text. I will try to hand out copies of some relevant chapters of a new textbook that has not been published yet. I also recommend getting one of the books on the book list that can be found on the course website.Both will be needed if you would like to read about the class material from a different angle or in more detail. I will also provide lecture notes (lecture by lecture), review articles and scientific papers. 


There will be one Midterm Exam and one Final exam.
The midterm exam will be on Friday February, 23 during regular class time.
The final exam time remains to be determined. .


Homework will be assigned weekly. Usually homwork sets will be handed out on Fridays in class and written solutions to the problems will usually be due by the beginning of the class the following Friday unless noted otherwise. In addition, there will be occasionally reading assignments. It is encouraged to work in groups and to discuss problems, but solutions submitted must be individual, original work.


Some lectures will be partially or fully replaced by group "quizzes" that facilitate cooperative learning. Preparation as assigned and active paricipation in these activities is important and will count towards the final grade (see Grading).


The final grade will be based on Homework (40%), Midterm exam (20%), final exam (35%), in class participation and in class group quizzes (5%).

Audience and Prerequisites:

The course is geared towards any level graduate students with research interest in astronomy or nuclear physics. Prerequisites are minimal and an attempt will be made to keep the material understandable and interesting for students with wide varying backgrounds. 

I will require only a basic understanding of some fundamental concepts in quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics at the undergraduate level. Here are some examples:

Particle Physics

Quantum Mechanics:

Statistical Mechanics:

(This is not a complete list)