Instructors: Eugene Chiang and Eliot Quataert (Astronomy Department, UC Berkeley)
Time & Place
544 Campbell Hall
Accretion of matter onto a central object is one of the most widespread and important phenomena in astrophysics. The formation of stars and of planets, and the production of prodigious amounts of energy from compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes, hinge on the manner in which matter inspirals within accretion disks.
This course will cover the theory of accretion disks, with emphasis on the outstanding problem of angular momentum transport. How does matter in the disk lose nearly all of its angular momentum to reach the central object? Throughout the course we will make contact between theoretical models and observations of accreting systems.
The first month of the course will be devoted
to introductory lectures on the theory and observations of accretion disks.
The remainder of the course will focus on proposals for the resolution
of the angular momentum problem, with each week centered on the reading
of a journal article. The instructors will deliver a ~1/2 hour lecture
providing context for the week's reading. Over the next ~1 hour,
a student will present the contents of the article and lead a discussion.