Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium


This graduate level Lecture (PHY553B) was part of the Master of Planetary Science and Astrophysics of the University Joseph Fourier. The Lectures are divided into two large parts. During the first ~15 hours, we will review the basic physical processes needed to understand the physics and chemistry at play in the ISM. The second part, of approximately equal length, will make use of those processes to understand how some of the objects populating the ISM work. We will terminate the lecture by a non-exhaustive list of outstanding contemporary questions regarding the ISM. Lectures are in french, but all slides, problems, articles, references, etc... are in english.

Throughout the course, examples and applications are given. Some exercices are also proposed which are mainly based on publications. Some practice with numerical codes is also scheduled, where the students will explore subtleties in radiative transfer.

A standard background in quantum mechanics is assumed (Hydrogen atom, angular momentum coupling). Basics in hydrodynamics (ideal and non-ideal) is also a prerequisite even though a short introduction will always be given.

Outline, Slides, Notes

Title Slides Notes
0. Introduction Slides -
1. Atomic structure Slides Notes
2. Molecular structure Slides Notes
3. Spectroscopy Slides Notes
4. HII regions Slides Notes (*)
5. Radiative transfer Slides Notes (*)
6. Thermal physics of tde ISM Slides -
7. Non-thermal physics of the ISM Slides Notes (*)
8. Chemistry Slides -
9. Photodissociation regions Slides -
10. Molecular clouds Slides -
11. Magnetic fields Slides -
12. Star formation and molecular complexity Slides -
13. Open questions - -
(*): in progress


Articles for homework

The list of articles for personal work is found here .

Past problems


A (non-exhaustive and biased) list of standards books is given below.