Astro 3302: Astrophysics: The Life of Stars

Fall 2017

Instructor: Prof. Dong Lai

Time & Place: Monday and Wednesday 2:55 pm - 4:10 pm in 301 SSB

Class website:


Three-credit lecture course, aimed at general students who are interested in learning some math and physics based astronomy. We expect you to have completed physics at the level of 2214 or 2218, and mathematics at the level of 2210, 2220, or 1920. Additional physics and mathematics will be covered as needed in class. There are no Astronomy prerequisites.

The course material covers the formation and birth of stars, their lives on the main sequence, and their subsequent evolution off the main sequence to their final end-states as white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes. We will also cover related topics such as exoplanets, supernovae and gravitational waves.


Weekly lectures. There will be about 6-8 problem sets, a prelim (around mid March) and a final exam. Your performance in this class will be assessed based on the following algorithm: homework = 30%, prelim = 20%, final = 35%, class participation = 15%.

Textbook: Dan Maoz "Astrophysics in a Nutshell", 2nd Edition (Princeton). You may buy this book, although we will not follow the book too closely: Some of the material in the book will not be covered, and some of the material covered in lectures will not be found in this book.

Topics covered in class:

Back to Dong's Homepage .