Radiation Theory - BGU Physics Department
BGU Physics Department

Radiation and Matter in the Universe

(3 points, 3 hours)
course number 203-2-4701



  1. Description of the radiation field: flux, intensity, photon occupation number. Blackbody radiation. Brightness temperature.
  2. Opacity and emissivity. Kirchhoff law, detailed balance, Einstein coefficients.
  3. Equation of radiation transfer. Optical depth. Radiation diffusion.
  4. Bremsstrahlung and free-free absorption. Thomson scattering.
  5. Line spectrum and basics of atomic and molecular spectroscopy. Ionization and recombination.
  6. Radiation from relativistically moving sources. Synchrotron emission and absorption. Inverse Compton scattering.
  7. Basics of nuclear physics: strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions; nuclear binding energy.
  8. Stellar structure. Nuclear reactions in stars. Solar neutrino. Main sequence: pp and CNO cycles, mass-luminosity relation. Beyond the main sequence: helium burning and red giants.
  9. Final stages of stellar evolution. Properties of degenerate matter. Chandrasekhar limit. White dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes.
  10. Cosmic rays. Nuclear interaction of relativistic particles. CR diffusion in the galaxy.


  1. Radiative processes in astrophysics (Rybicki & Lightman 1979)
  2. Stellar structure and evolution (Prialnik 2000)
  3. Black holes, White dwards and neutron stars (Shapiro & Teukolsky, 2004)
  4. High energy astrophysics (Longair 2011)


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