[Mesa-users] Grad stellar structure & evolution course

Michael Ashley m.ashley at unsw.edu.au
Tue Oct 3 17:01:03 EDT 2017


Dear all,

Here at UNSW we have recently been giving our 3rd year undergraduate Physics students crash courses in Python and Jupyter notebooks, and we have had some good success. We also have the students write their own, very simple, static ZAMS stellar model code using Python - we build this up a week at a time (e.g., one week might be writing a routine to return opacities). Here are some examples of our notebooks:

https://github.com/phys3112/intro/blob/master/intro.ipynb   Intro to Python and notebooks
https://github.com/phys3112/intro/blob/master/mcba2.ipynb   Numerical integration of ODEs
https://github.com/phys3112/intro/blob/master/mcba6.ipynb   Random numbers

I give lectures directly from the notebooks.

Regards,
Michael

On Tue, Oct 03, 2017 at 03:40:55PM +0000, RICHARD H D TOWNSEND via Mesa-users wrote:
> HI Alan --
> 
> To contribute my own experiences to the conversation, I use EZ-Web and/or MESA-Web at the undergraduate level, mainly to assign homework excercises to the students. At the beginning of the course, I provide a couple of classes giving students a crash course in using Python notebooks (for which I provide a module that facilitates reading in the necessary stellar model data). This not only allows them to get their hands dirty with stellar evolution codes, it also provides them with a useful introduction to basic scientific data manipulation and plotting.
> 
> cheers,
> 
> Rich
> 
> > On Oct 3, 2017, at 3:49 PM, Alan Calder <alan.calder at stonybrook.edu> wrote:
> > 
> > Hi Matt,
> > 
> > I'll second and third what has been said, and also offer my perspective. I am teaching the grad stars course this semester and mostly following in the footsteps of Mike Zingale, who has been teaching the course here and kindly gave me his material. We have been using HKT with Ed's book and other works like Clayton and Carrol and Ostlie as supplements, and it works pretty well.
> > 
> > One of the issues I have with the course is that unfortunately I cannot assume any programming experience in the students. We have started offering a graduate programming course that assumes no background to fix this situation, and perhaps in the future we can make it a prerequisite.  This is my first time teaching the course and with 18 enrolled and no TA, I decided taking on programming was a bit much, which is unfortunate and leave me with just demonstrating a few things. As sort of a compromise, if I teach the class again, I will probably include more MESA examples and, accordingly, may switch to Ed's book.
> > 
> > Good luck!
> > 
> > ac
> > 
> > On Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 9:45 AM, Sean M. Couch <couch at pa.msu.edu> wrote:
> > Hi Matt,
> > 
> > I will second Ed’s book on Open Astrophysics Bookshelf. I used it to teach Grad Stellar with HKT as a supplement, but I ended up mostly sticking to Ed’s stuff. I will use it again this Spring for Grad Stellar. I am also planning on adding a few new chapters to it (mostly on massive star stuff!). 
> > 
> > Cheers,
> > Sean
> > 
> > On October 3, 2017 at 9:42:25 AM, Warrick Ball (wball at bison.ph.bham.ac.uk) wrote:
> > 
> >> Hi Matt, 
> >> 
> >> Ed Brown's book [1] on the Open Astrophysics Bookshelf [2] is laced with 
> >> MESA exercises. I haven't worked through it myself or used it to teach 
> >> but it's the only resource I know with MESA-based exercises built in. 
> >> 
> >> My usual reference for introducing people to stellar evolution is Onno 
> >> Pols' lecture notes [3]. 
> >> 
> >> In my previous job, I taught a short stellar evolution course that had 
> >> evolution-code based exercises. It was 10 90-minute sessions: 5 lectures 
> >> and 5 exercise classes. These were originally developed by a colleague 
> >> using CESAM and I eventually ported them to MESA after he left. They're 
> >> relatively code-agnostic, though. I can provide the material if you want 
> >> but basically the five exercises were: 
> >> 
> >> 1. basic solar calibration, 
> >> 2. making crude isochrones, 
> >> 3. making Kippenhahn diagrams (without using PGPLOT), 
> >> 4. solar-like oscillations (partly with ADIPLS) and 
> >> 5. rotational splittings. 
> >> 
> >> Cheers, 
> >> Warrick 
> >> 
> >> [1] http://web.pa.msu.edu/people/ebrown/docs/stellar-notes.pdf 
> >> [2] https://open-astrophysics-bookshelf.github.io/ 
> >> [3] https://www.astro.ru.nl/~onnop/education/stev_utrecht_notes/ 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> 
> >> ------------ 
> >> Warrick Ball 
> >> Postdoc, School of Physics and Astronomy 
> >> University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT 
> >> wball at bison.ph.bham.ac.uk 
> >> +44 (0)121 414 4552 
> >> 
> >> On Tue, 3 Oct 2017, Matt Wood wrote: 
> >> 
> >> > Hi, All: 
> >> > 
> >> > I’ll be teaching a graduate stellar structure and evolution course in the spring 2018 term. When I taught this last many years ago I used Hansen, Kawaler, and Trimble, which I do like quite a bit. 
> >> > 
> >> > Before I tell the bookstore to stock those, however, I thought it would be useful to get input from the experts on this list. What book would you recommend? 
> >> > 
> >> > And since I’m planning on having students learn MESA basics during the course as well, it occurred to me that it would *wonderful* if some in the MESA team actually wrote a book on stellar evolution using MESA for a grad textbook (I know - very heavy lift with little reward on the back end). 
> >> > 
> >> > This may be off-topic for this list, and I apologize if that’s the case - feel free to email me off-list with your suggestions. 
> >> > 
> >> > Best regards, and thank you, 
> >> > Matt 
> >> > 
> >> > Matt A. Wood, Ph.D. 
> >> > Professor and Department Head 
> >> > Physics & Astronomy Department 
> >> > Texas A&M University-Commerce 
> >> > Commerce, TX 75429 
> >> > O: 903.886.5487 M: 903.269.6682 
> >> > 
> >> > 
> >> > 
> >> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> 

-- 
Professor Michael Ashley                   Department of Astrophysics
University of New South Wales       http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~mcba



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