Venue: Feynman Lecture Hall

Class Timings: 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM, Tuesday and 11:00 PM - 12:30 PM, Friday

First Meeting:  5 August 2022

Course description: 

The course will be an introduction to astrophysical fluids and plasmas. It also aims to provide students with sufficient background to be able to appreciate the research problems in this area. 

Introduction to astrophysical systems. Distances and timescales. Equations of hydrodynamics. Steady flows. Sound waves. Hydrostatic equilibrium. Jeans instability. Bondi accretion + Parker wind. Shocks. Supernovae blasts: Sedov Taylor solutions. Fluid instabilities. Induction equation and magnetohydrodynamics of single fluid plasma, flux freezing, energetics. Alfven waves. Magnetic reconnection - tearing modes. A turbulence primer. Dynamos. Magnetorotational instability. Basics of plasma physics : collective behaviours, particle motion descriptions and adiabatic invariants. Intermediate description: Two-fluids. Vlasov equation (PDF description). Boltzmann equations. Plasma instabilities. 

There will be a numerical hands-on component.


  1. The physics of fluids and plasmas : Arnab Rai Choudhuri
  2. Plasma physics for astrophysics : Russell M. Kulsrud 
  3. Astrophysical magnetic fields : Anvar Shukurov and Kandaswamy Subramanian
  4. Fundamentals of plasma physics : P. M. Bellan 
  5. Introduction to plasma theory : Dwight R Nicholson
  6. Lecture notes on astrophysical fluid dynamics : Gordon Ogilvie
  7. Modern classical physics (only part 5 and 6) : Kip Thorne and Roger Blandford

Course evaluation: 
Assignments + class participation : 35%
Term paper (report + presentation) : 20% + 15%
Final exam : 30%

Prerequisites: Classical physics, Electromagnetism

Credit Score: 4