Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:50-2:20 pm

Room: 219 Cahill

Instructor: Evan Kirby, Cahill 272, enk .at. astro .dot. caltech .dot. edu

TA: Yuguang Chen, Cahill 245, yuguangchen .at. astro .dot. caltech .dot. edu

Recitation: Fridays, 10:00-11:00 am in Cahill 219

Units: 9 (3-0-6)

Student Level: graduate students and seniors

Website: http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~enk/Ay121/


  • The interaction of radiation with matter
  • Radiative transfer, emission, and absorption
  • Synchrotron radiation
  • Bremsstrahlung radiation
  • Compton scattering
  • Coherent emission processes
  • Collisional excitation
  • Spectroscopy of atoms and molecules
  • Plasma emission processes

  • Eight problem sets, each worth 5% of final grade
  • Oral midterm, worth 25% of final grade
  • Written, take-home final exam, worth 35% of final grade

Late Homework Policy: Late homework is allowed but strongly discouraged. Yuguang can grant a 24-hour extension if you ask prior to the Tuesday class. Longer extensions need to go through the instructor.

Office Hours:

Evan: walk in or by appointment, Cahill 272

Yuguang: Mondays, 3:00-4:00 pm in Cahill 211

Collaboration Policy:

Problem Sets: Students can freely discuss the problems, but they need to work out solutions on their own without referring to others' solutions. You may work together but only to the extent that you develop a full, independent understanding of the material. Your solutions to the assignments may not be a copy of others' solutions nor a copy of the whiteboard during recitation. You may consult books and published papers but not old solutions from this or any other class.

Exams: All students must work alone on exams. Calculators are allowed. No books or notes of any kind are allowed. Access to the internet is not allowed.