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TALENT: Training in Advanced Low Energy Nuclear Theory
Training the next generation of nuclear physicists
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Course 7: Nuclear theory for astrophysics

Nuclear theory for astrophysics was held at the Institute for Nuclear Theory, University of Washington, in Seattle, WA from June 21 to July 11, 2015. Please visit here for information on the TALENT course on Origin of the Elements held at Michigan State University from May 28 to June 13, 2014.

Motivation and background

A three week TALENT course on Nuclear Theory for Astrophysics was held at the Institute for Nuclear Theory, University of Washington in Seattle, from June 21 to July 11 2015, see also this link for more information.

The purpose of this course is to provide a pedagogic introduction to the basic concepts in nuclear and neutrino physics needed to understand and interpret observations of neutron stars and supernovae. A previous course on nuclear theory for astrophysics was held in 2014 at Michigan State University with an emphasis on the synthesis of the elements.

The course is sponsored by the the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Institute for Nuclear Theory (INT) and JINA, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics www.jinaweb.org, a National Science Foundation Physics Frontiers Center, which aims at advancing science at the intersection of nuclear physics and astrophysics by research, synergistic activities, and training of young researchers.


The course was held from June 22 to July 10 in 2015 at the Institute for Nuclear Theory, University of Washington, Seattle. The course took the form of an intensive program of three weeks, with a total time of 45 h of lectures and directed exercises, about 60-75 h devoted to exercises and possible computational projects and a final assignment worth approximately 2 weeks of work. The total workload amounted to 150-170 hours, corresponding to 7 ECTS in Europe (3.5 in the US). The final assignment was graded with marks A, B, C, D, E and failed for Master students and passed/not passed for PhD students.

The organization of the day was as follows:

 Time 	           Activity
9am-12pm 	Lectures, directed exercises
12pm-2pm 	Lunch
2pm-6pm 	Hands-on sessions, computational projects
6pm-7pm 	Wrap-up of the day


  • Stellar evolution, supernova and neutron stars.
  • Observations and basic properties of neutron stars and supernovae.
  • Brief review of nuclear forces and nuclear models.
  • Review of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.
  • Basic notions in dense matter theory.
  • Simple models, the equation of state, and linear response theory.
  • Homogeneous dense nuclear matter.
  • Tolman Oppenheimer Volkoff equations and neutron star structure.
  • Physics at sub-nuclear density and the properties of the neutron star crust.
  • Superfluidity and superconductivity in neutron stars.
  • Phase transitions at high density.
  • Neutrino processes in dense matter and neutron star cooling.
  • Transport properties of degenerate matter.
  • Accreting neutron stars.
  • Supernova neutrinos.
  • Gravitational waves from neutron star.

Teachers and organizers

The teachers were

  • Charles Horowitz (Indiana University)
  • Sanjay Reddy (University of Washington)

Guest seminar speakers were

  • Luke Roberts (TBC)
  • Jorge Piekarewicz (TBC)
  • Andrew Cumming (TBC)
  • Kai Hebeler (TBC)
  • Andrew Steiner (TBC)

The organizers were

  • Charles Horowitz (Indiana University)
  • Sanjay Reddy (University of Washington)