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Course 8: Physics
Fall 2024


Graduate Subjects

8.309 Classical Mechanics III
______

Graduate (Spring)
(Subject meets with 8.09)
Prereq: None
Units: 4-0-8
______
Covers Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, systems with constraints, rigid body dynamics, vibrations, central forces, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, action-angle variables, perturbation theory, and continuous systems. Provides an introduction to ideal and viscous fluid mechanics, including turbulence, as well as an introduction to nonlinear dynamics, including chaos. Students taking graduate version complete different assignments.
Staff

8.311 Electromagnetic Theory I
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.07
Units: 4-0-8
______
Basic principles of electromagnetism: experimental basis, electrostatics, magnetic fields of steady currents, motional emf and electromagnetic induction, Maxwell's equations, propagation and radiation of electromagnetic waves, electric and magnetic properties of matter, and conservation laws. Subject uses appropriate mathematics but emphasizes physical phenomena and principles.
Staff

8.315[J] Mathematical Methods in Nanophotonics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 18.369[J])
Prereq: 8.07, 18.303, or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
High-level approaches to understanding complex optical media, structured on the scale of the wavelength, that are not generally analytically soluable. The basis for understanding optical phenomena such as photonic crystals and band gaps, anomalous diffraction, mechanisms for optical confinement, optical fibers (new and old), nonlinearities, and integrated optical devices. Methods covered include linear algebra and eigensystems for Maxwell's equations, symmetry groups and representation theory, Bloch's theorem, numerical eigensolver methods, time and frequency-domain computation, perturbation theory, and coupled-mode theories.
S. G. Johnson

8.316 Data Science in Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
(Subject meets with 8.16)
Prereq: 8.04 and (6.100A, 6.100B, or permission of instructor)
Units: 3-0-9
______
Aims to present modern computational methods by providing realistic, contemporary examples of how these computational methods apply to physics research. Designed around research modules in which each module provides experience with a specific scientific challenge. Modules include: analyzing LIGO open data; measuring electroweak boson to quark decays; understanding the cosmic microwave background; and lattice QCD/Ising model. Experience in Python helpful but not required. Lectures are viewed outside of class; in-class time is dedicated to problem-solving and discussion. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
P. Harris

8.321 Quantum Theory I
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.05
Units: 4-0-8
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (4-149) Recitation: T3 (26-322) or R3 (26-204) +final
______
A two-term subject on quantum theory, stressing principles: uncertainty relation, observables, eigenstates, eigenvalues, probabilities of the results of measurement, transformation theory, equations of motion, and constants of motion. Symmetry in quantum mechanics, representations of symmetry groups. Variational and perturbation approximations. Systems of identical particles and applications. Time-dependent perturbation theory. Scattering theory: phase shifts, Born approximation. The quantum theory of radiation. Second quantization and many-body theory. Relativistic quantum mechanics of one electron.
M. Metlitski
No textbook information available

8.322 Quantum Theory II
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.07 and 8.321
Units: 4-0-8
______
A two-term subject on quantum theory, stressing principles: uncertainty relation, observables, eigenstates, eigenvalues, probabilities of the results of measurement, transformation theory, equations of motion, and constants of motion. Symmetry in quantum mechanics, representations of symmetry groups. Variational and perturbation approximations. Systems of identical particles and applications. Time-dependent perturbation theory. Scattering theory: phase shifts, Born approximation. The quantum theory of radiation. Second quantization and many-body theory. Relativistic quantum mechanics of one electron.
Staff

8.323 Relativistic Quantum Field Theory I
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.321
Units: 4-0-8
______
A one-term self-contained subject in quantum field theory. Concepts and basic techniques are developed through applications in elementary particle physics, and condensed matter physics. Topics: classical field theory, symmetries, and Noether's theorem. Quantization of scalar fields, spin fields, and Gauge bosons. Feynman graphs, analytic properties of amplitudes and unitarity of the S-matrix. Calculations in quantum electrodynamics (QED). Introduction to renormalization.
Staff

8.324 Relativistic Quantum Field Theory II
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.322 and 8.323
Units: 4-0-8
Add to schedule Lecture: MW9.30-11 (56-154) Recitation: F10 (26-328)
______
The second term of the quantum field theory sequence. Develops in depth some of the topics discussed in 8.323 and introduces some advanced material. Topics: perturbation theory and Feynman diagrams, scattering theory, Quantum Electrodynamics, one loop renormalization, quantization of non-abelian gauge theories, the Standard Model of particle physics, other topics.
D. Harlow
No textbook information available

8.325 Relativistic Quantum Field Theory III
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.324
Units: 4-0-8
______
The third and last term of the quantum field theory sequence. Its aim is the proper theoretical discussion of the physics of the standard model. Topics: quantum chromodynamics; Higgs phenomenon and a description of the standard model; deep-inelastic scattering and structure functions; basics of lattice gauge theory; operator products and effective theories; detailed structure of the standard model; spontaneously broken gauge theory and its quantization; instantons and theta-vacua; topological defects; introduction to supersymmetry.
Staff

8.333 Statistical Mechanics I
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.044 and 8.05
Units: 4-0-8
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: MW2.30-4 (37-212) Recitation: F2.30-4 (4-163)
______
First part of a two-subject sequence on statistical mechanics. Examines the laws of thermodynamics and the concepts of temperature, work, heat, and entropy. Postulates of classical statistical mechanics, microcanonical, canonical, and grand canonical distributions; applications to lattice vibrations, ideal gas, photon gas. Quantum statistical mechanics; Fermi and Bose systems. Interacting systems: cluster expansions, van der Waal's gas, and mean-field theory.
J. Tailleur
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.334 Statistical Mechanics II
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.333
Units: 4-0-8
______
Second part of a two-subject sequence on statistical mechanics. Explores topics from modern statistical mechanics: the hydrodynamic limit and classical field theories. Phase transitions and broken symmetries: universality, correlation functions, and scaling theory. The renormalization approach to collective phenomena. Dynamic critical behavior. Random systems.
M. Kardar

8.351[J] Classical Mechanics: A Computational Approach
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 6.5160[J], 12.620[J])
Prereq: Physics I (GIR), 18.03, and permission of instructor
Units: 3-3-6
Add to schedule Lecture: MWF1 (54-824) Lab: W EVE (7-10 PM) (54-824)
______
Classical mechanics in a computational framework, Lagrangian formulation, action, variational principles, and Hamilton's principle. Conserved quantities, Hamiltonian formulation, surfaces of section, chaos, and Liouville's theorem. Poincaré integral invariants, Poincaré-Birkhoff and KAM theorems. Invariant curves and cantori. Nonlinear resonances, resonance overlap and transition to chaos. Symplectic integration. Adiabatic invariants. Applications to simple physical systems and solar system dynamics. Extensive use of computation to capture methods, for simulation, and for symbolic analysis. Programming experience required.
J. Wisdom, G. J. Sussman
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.370[J] Quantum Computation
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 2.111[J], 6.6410[J], 18.435[J])
Prereq: 8.05, 18.06, 18.700, 18.701, or 18.C06
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MWF1 (4-370) +final
______
Provides an introduction to the theory and practice of quantum computation. Topics covered: physics of information processing; quantum algorithms including the factoring algorithm and Grover's search algorithm; quantum error correction; quantum communication and cryptography. Knowledge of quantum mechanics helpful but not required.
P. Shor
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.371[J] Quantum Information Science
______

Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 6.6420[J], 18.436[J])
Prereq: 18.435
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines quantum computation and quantum information. Topics include quantum circuits, the quantum Fourier transform and search algorithms, the quantum operations formalism, quantum error correction, Calderbank-Shor-Steane and stabilizer codes, fault tolerant quantum computation, quantum data compression, quantum entanglement, capacity of quantum channels, and quantum cryptography and the proof of its security. Prior knowledge of quantum mechanics required.
Staff

8.372 Quantum Information Science III
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.371
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2.30-4 (3-370)
______
Third subject in the Quantum Information Science (QIS) sequence, building on 8.370 and 8.371. Further explores core topics in quantum information science, such as quantum information theory, error-correction, physical implementations, algorithms, cryptography, and complexity. Draws connections between QIS and related fields, such as many-body physics, and applications such as sensing.
A. Harrow
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.381, 8.382 Selected Topics in Theoretical Physics
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Topics of current interest in theoretical physics, varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.391 Pre-Thesis Research
______

Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule Consult advisor: time TBA Room: 4-303. TBA.
______
Advanced problems in any area of experimental or theoretical physics, with assigned reading and consultations.
Chakrabarty, Deepto
No textbook information available

8.392 Pre-Thesis Research
______

Graduate (Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Advanced problems in any area of experimental or theoretical physics, with assigned reading and consultations.
Chakrabarty, Deepto
No textbook information available

8.395[J] Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 1.95[J], 5.95[J], 7.59[J], 18.094[J])
(Subject meets with 2.978)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-2 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Participatory seminar focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching science and engineering in higher education. Topics include theories of adult learning; course development; promoting active learning, problemsolving, and critical thinking in students; communicating with a diverse student body; using educational technology to further learning; lecturing; creating effective tests and assignments; and assessment and evaluation. Students research and present a relevant topic of particular interest. Appropriate for both novices and those with teaching experience.
J. Rankin
No textbook information available

8.396[J] Leadership and Professional Strategies & Skills Training (LEAPS), Part I: Advancing Your Professional Strategies and Skills
______

Graduate (Spring); second half of term
(Same subject as 5.961[J], 9.980[J], 12.396[J], 18.896[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1 [P/D/F]
______
Part I (of two parts) of the LEAPS graduate career development and training series. Topics include: navigating and charting an academic career with confidence; convincing an audience with clear writing and arguments; mastering public speaking and communications; networking at conferences and building a brand; identifying transferable skills; preparing for a successful job application package and job interviews; understanding group dynamics and different leadership styles; leading a group or team with purpose and confidence. Postdocs encouraged to attend as non-registered participants. Limited to 80.
A. Frebel

8.397[J] Leadership and Professional Strategies & Skills Training (LEAPS), Part II: Developing Your Leadership Competencies
______

Graduate (Spring); first half of term
(Same subject as 5.962[J], 9.981[J], 12.397[J], 18.897[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1 [P/D/F]
______
Part II (of two parts) of the LEAPS graduate career development and training series. Topics covered include gaining self awareness and awareness of others, and communicating with different personality types; learning about team building practices; strategies for recognizing and resolving conflict and bias; advocating for diversity and inclusion; becoming organizationally savvy; having the courage to be an ethical leader; coaching, mentoring, and developing others; championing, accepting, and implementing change. Postdocs encouraged to attend as non-registered participants. Limited to 80.
D. Rigos

8.398 Doctoral Seminar in Physics
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units: 1-0-2 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule Lecture: W12 (26-414)
______
A seminar for first-year PhD students presenting topics of current interest, with content varying from year to year. Open only to first-year graduate students in Physics.
E. Kara
No textbook information available

8.399 Physics Teaching
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
For qualified graduate students interested in gaining some experience in teaching. Laboratory, tutorial, or classroom teaching under the supervision of a faculty member. Students selected by interview.
C. Paus
No textbook information available

Physics of Atoms, Radiation, Solids, Fluids, and Plasmas

8.421 Atomic and Optical Physics I
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.05
Units: 3-0-9
______
The first of a two-term subject sequence that provides the foundations for contemporary research in selected areas of atomic and optical phsyics. The interaction of radiation with atoms: resonance; absorption, stimulated and spontaneous emission; methods of resonance, dressed atom formalism, masers and lasers, cavity quantum electrodynamics; structure of simple atoms, behavior in very strong fields; fundamental tests: time reversal, parity violations, Bell's inequalities; and experimental methods.
Staff

8.422 Atomic and Optical Physics II
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.05
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (32-124)
______
The second of a two-term subject sequence that provides the foundations for contemporary research in selected areas of atomic and optical physics. Non-classical states of light- squeezed states; multi-photon processes, Raman scattering; coherence- level crossings, quantum beats, double resonance, superradiance; trapping and cooling- light forces, laser cooling, atom optics, spectroscopy of trapped atoms and ions; atomic interactions- classical collisions, quantum scattering theory, ultracold collisions; and experimental methods.
M. Zwierlein
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.431[J] Nonlinear Optics
______

Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 6.6340[J])
Prereq: 6.2300 or 8.03
Units: 3-0-9
______
Techniques of nonlinear optics with emphasis on fundamentals for research in optics, photonics, spectroscopy, and ultrafast science. Topics include: electro-optic modulators and devices, sum and difference frequency generation, and parametric conversion. Nonlinear propagation effects in optical fibers including self-phase modulation, pulse compression, solitons, communication, and femtosecond fiber lasers. Review of quantum mechanics, interaction of light with matter, laser gain and operation, density matrix techniques, perturbation theory, diagrammatic methods, nonlinear spectroscopies, ultrafast lasers and measurements. Discussion of research operations and funding and professional development topics. Introduces fundamental methods and techniques needed for independent research in advanced optics and photonics, but useful in many other engineering and physics disciplines.
Staff

8.481, 8.482 Selected Topics in Physics of Atoms and Radiation
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 8.321
Units: 3-0-9
______
Presentation of topics of current interest, with content varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.511 Theory of Solids I
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.231
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (2-105) Recitation: F1-2.30 (4-261) +final
______
First term of a theoretical treatment of the physics of solids. Concept of elementary excitations. Symmetry- translational, rotational, and time-reversal invariances- theory of representations. Energy bands- electrons and phonons. Topological band theory. Survey of electronic structure of metals, semimetals, semiconductors, and insulators, excitons, critical points, response functions, and interactions in the electron gas. Theory of superconductivity.
L. Levitov
No textbook information available

8.512 Theory of Solids II
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.511
Units: 3-0-9
______
Second term of a theoretical treatment of the physics of solids. Interacting electron gas: many-body formulation, Feynman diagrams, random phase approximation and beyond. General theory of linear response: dielectric function; sum rules; plasmons; optical properties; applications to semiconductors, metals, and insulators. Transport properties: non-interacting electron gas with impurities, diffusons. Quantum Hall effect: integral and fractional. Electron-phonon interaction: general theory, applications to metals, semiconductors and insulators, polarons, and field-theory description. Superconductivity: experimental observations, phenomenological theories, and BCS theory.
Staff

8.513 Many-Body Theory for Condensed Matter Systems
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.033, 8.05, 8.08, and 8.231
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR2.30-4 (4-261)
______
Concepts and physical pictures behind various phenomena that appear in interacting many-body systems. Visualization occurs through concentration on path integral, mean-field theories and semiclassical picture of fluctuations around mean-field state. Topics covered: interacting boson/fermion systems, Fermi liquid theory and bosonization, symmetry breaking and nonlinear sigma-model, quantum gauge theory, quantum Hall theory, mean-field theory of spin liquids and quantum order, string-net condensation and emergence of light and fermions.
X-G. Wen
No textbook information available

8.514 Strongly Correlated Systems in Condensed Matter Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.322 and 8.333
Units: 3-0-9
______
Study of condensed matter systems where interactions between electrons play an important role. Topics vary depending on lecturer but may include low-dimension magnetic and electronic systems, disorder and quantum transport, magnetic impurities (the Kondo problem), quantum spin systems, the Hubbard model and high-temperature superconductors. Topics are chosen to illustrate the application of diagrammatic techniques, field-theory approaches, and renormalization group methods in condensed matter physics.
Staff

8.581, 8.582 Selected Topics in Condensed Matter Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Presentation of topics of current interest, with contents varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
W. Oliver

8.590[J] Topics in Biophysics and Physical Biology
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 7.74[J], 20.416[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-4 [P/D/F]
______
Provides broad exposure to research in biophysics and physical biology, with emphasis on the critical evaluation of scientific literature. Weekly meetings include in-depth discussion of scientific literature led by distinct faculty on active research topics. Each session also includes brief discussion of non-research topics including effective presentation skills, writing papers and fellowship proposals, choosing scientific and technical research topics, time management, and scientific ethics.
J. Gore, N. Fakhri

8.591[J] Systems Biology
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 7.81[J])
(Subject meets with 7.32)
Prereq: (18.03 and 18.05) or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR1-2.30 (4-159) Recitation: W EVE (4.30-6 PM) (2-147) +final
______
Introduction to cellular and population-level systems biology with an emphasis on synthetic biology, modeling of genetic networks, cell-cell interactions, and evolutionary dynamics. Cellular systems include genetic switches and oscillators, network motifs, genetic network evolution, and cellular decision-making. Population-level systems include models of pattern formation, cell-cell communication, and evolutionary systems biology. Students taking graduate version explore the subject in more depth.
J. Gore
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.592[J] Statistical Physics in Biology
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as HST.452[J])
Prereq: 8.333 or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9.30-11 (26-314)
______
A survey of problems at the interface of statistical physics and modern biology: bioinformatic methods for extracting information content of DNA; gene finding, sequence comparison, phylogenetic trees. Physical interactions responsible for structure of biopolymers; DNA double helix, secondary structure of RNA, elements of protein folding. Considerations of force, motion, and packaging; protein motors, membranes. Collective behavior of biological elements; cellular networks, neural networks, and evolution.
M. Kardar
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.593[J] Biological Physics
______

Graduate (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as HST.450[J])
Prereq: 8.044 recommended but not necessary
Units: 4-0-8
______
Designed to provide seniors and first-year graduate students with a quantitative, analytical understanding of selected biological phenomena. Topics include experimental and theoretical basis for the phase boundaries and equation of state of concentrated protein solutions, with application to diseases such as sickle cell anemia and cataract. Protein-ligand binding and linkage and the theory of allosteric regulation of protein function, with application to proteins as stores as transporters in respiration, enzymes in metabolic pathways, membrane receptors, regulators of gene expression, and self-assembling scaffolds. The physics of locomotion and chemoreception in bacteria and the biophysics of vision, including the theory of transparency of the eye, molecular basis of photo reception, and the detection of light as a signal-to-noise discrimination.
Staff

8.613[J] Introduction to Plasma Physics I
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 22.611[J])
Prereq: (6.2300 or 8.07) and (18.04 or Coreq: 18.075)
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR3-4.30 (NW14-1112) +final
______
Introduces plasma phenomena relevant to energy generation by controlled thermonuclear fusion and to astrophysics. Elementary plasma concepts, plasma characterization. Motion of charged particles in magnetic fields. Coulomb collisions, relaxation times, transport processes. Two-fluid hydrodynamic and MHD descriptions. Plasma confinement by magnetic fields, simple equilibrium and stability analysis. Wave propagation in a magnetic field; application to RF plasma heating. Introduction to kinetic theory; Vlasov, Boltzmann and Fokker-Planck equations; relation of fluid and kinetic descriptions. Electron and ion acoustic plasma waves, Landau damping.
J. Hare
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.614[J] Introduction to Plasma Physics II
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 22.612[J])
Prereq: 22.611
Units: 3-0-9
______
Follow-up to 22.611 provides in-depth coverage of several fundamental topics in plasma physics, selected for their wide relevance and applicability, from fusion to space- and astro-physics. Covers both kinetic and fluid instabilities: two-stream, Weibel, magnetorotational, parametric, ion-temperature-gradient, and pressure-anisotropy-driven instabilities (mirror, firehose). Also covers advanced fluid models, and drift-kinetic and gyrokinetic equations. Special attention to dynamo theory, magnetic reconnection, MHD turbulence, kinetic turbulence, and shocks.
Staff

8.624 Plasma Waves
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 22.611
Units: 3-0-9
______
Comprehensive theory of electromagnetic waves in a magnetized plasma. Wave propagation in cold and hot plasmas. Energy flow. Absorption by Landau and cyclotron damping and by transit time magnetic pumping (TTMP). Wave propagation in inhomogeneous plasma: accessibility, WKB theory, mode conversion, connection formulae, and Budden tunneling. Applications to RF plasma heating, wave propagation in the ionosphere and laser-plasma interactions. Wave propagation in toroidal plasmas, and applications to ion cyclotron (ICRF), electron cyclotron (ECRH), and lower hybrid (LHH) wave heating. Quasi-linear theory and applications to RF current drive in tokamaks. Extensive discussion of relevant experimental observations.
Staff

8.641 Physics of High-Energy Plasmas I
______

Graduate (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 22.611
Units: 3-0-9
______
Physics of High-Energy Plasmas I and II address basic concepts of plasmas, with temperatures of thermonuclear interest, relevant to fusion research and astrophysics. Microscopic transport processes due to interparticle collisions and collective modes (e.g., microinstabilities). Relevant macroscopic transport coefficients (electrical resistivity, thermal conductivities, particle "diffusion"). Runaway and slide-away regimes. Magnetic reconnection processes and their relevance to experimental observations. Radiation emission from inhomogeneous plasmas. Conditions for thermonuclear burning and ignition (D-T and "advanced" fusion reactions, plasmas with polarized nuclei). Role of "impurity" nuclei. "Finite-β" (pressure) regimes and ballooning modes. Convective modes in configuration and velocity space. Trapped particle regimes. Nonlinear and explosive instabilities. Interaction of positive and negative energy modes. Each subject can be taken independently.
Staff

8.642 Physics of High-Energy Plasmas II
______

Graduate (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 22.611
Units: 3-0-9
______
Physics of High-Energy Plasmas I and II address basic concepts of plasmas, with temperatures of thermonuclear interest, relevant to fusion research and astrophysics. Microscopic transport processes due to interparticle collisions and collective modes (e.g., microinstabilities). Relevant macroscopic transport coefficients (electrical resistivity, thermal conductivities, particle "diffusion"). Runaway and slide-away regimes. Magnetic reconnection processes and their relevance to experimental observations. Radiation emission from inhomogeneous plasmas. Conditions for thermonuclear burning and ignition (D-T and "advanced" fusion reactions, plasmas with polarized nuclei). Role of "impurity" nuclei. "Finite-β" (pressure) regimes and ballooning modes. Convective modes in configuration and velocity space. Trapped particle regimes. Nonlinear and explosive instabilities. Interaction of positive and negative energy modes. Each subject can be taken independently.
Staff

8.670[J] Principles of Plasma Diagnostics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 22.67[J])
Prereq: 22.611
Units: 4-4-4
______
Introduction to the physical processes used to measure the properties of plasmas, especially fusion plasmas. Measurements of magnetic and electric fields, particle flux, refractive index, emission and scattering of electromagnetic waves and heavy particles; their use to deduce plasma parameters such as particle density, pressure, temperature, and velocity, and hence the plasma confinement properties. Discussion of practical examples and assessments of the accuracy and reliability of different techniques.
Staff

8.681, 8.682 Selected Topics in Fluid and Plasma Physics
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 22.611
Units: 3-0-9
______
Presentation of topics of current interest, with content varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when interest is indicated.
Staff

Nuclear and Particle Physics

8.701 Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None. Coreq: 8.321
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: TR1.30-3 (8-205) +final
______
The phenomenology and experimental foundations of particle and nuclear physics; the fundamental forces and particles, composites. Interactions of particles with matter, and detectors. SU(2), SU(3), models of mesons and baryons. QED, weak interactions, parity violation, lepton-nucleon scattering, and structure functions. QCD, gluon field and color. W and Z fields, electro-weak unification, the CKM matrix. Nucleon-nucleon interactions, properties of nuclei, single- and collective- particle models. Electron and hadron interactions with nuclei. Relativistic heavy ion collisions, and transition to quark-gluon plasma.
M. Williams
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.711 Nuclear Physics
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.321 and 8.701
Units: 4-0-8
______
Modern, advanced study in the experimental foundations and theoretical understanding of the structure of nuclei, beginning with the two- and three-nucleon problems. Basic nuclear properties, collective and single-particle motion, giant resonances, mean field models, interacting boson model. Nuclei far from stability, nuclear astrophysics, big-bang and stellar nucleosynthesis. Electron scattering: nucleon momentum distributions, scaling, olarization observables. Parity-violating electron scattering. Neutrino physics. Current results in relativistic heavy ion physics and hadronic physics. Frontiers and future facilities.
Staff

8.712 Advanced Topics in Nuclear Physics
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 8.711 or permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Subject for experimentalists and theorists with rotation of the following topics: (1) Nuclear chromodynamics-- introduction to QCD, structure of nucleons, lattice QCD, phases of hadronic matter; and relativistic heavy ion collisions. (2) Medium-energy physics-- nuclear and nucleon structure and dynamics studied with medium- and high-energy probes (neutrinos, photons, electrons, nucleons, pions, and kaons). Studies of weak and strong interactions.
Staff

8.751[J] Quantum Technology and Devices
______

Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 22.51[J])
(Subject meets with 22.022)
Prereq: 22.11
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the unique features of quantum theory to generate technologies with capabilities beyond any classical device. Introduces fundamental concepts in applied quantum mechanics, tools and applications of quantum technology, with a focus on quantum information processing beyond quantum computation. Includes discussion of quantum devices and experimental platforms drawn from active research in academia and industry. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
Staff

8.781, 8.782 Selected Topics in Nuclear Theory
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 8.323
Units: 3-0-9
______
Presents topics of current interest in nuclear structure and reaction theory, with content varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.811 Particle Physics
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.701
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (8-205)
______
Modern review of particles, interactions, and recent experiments. Experimental and analytical methods. QED, electroweak theory, and the Standard Model as tested in recent key experiments at ee and pp colliders. Mass generation, W, Z, and Higgs physics. Weak decays of mesons, including heavy flavors with QCD corrections. Mixing phenomena for K, D, B mesons and neutrinos. CP violation with results from B-factories. Future physics expectations: Higgs, SUSY, sub-structure as addressed by new experiments at the LHC collider.
E. Smith
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.812 Graduate Experimental Physics
______

Graduate (IAP)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 8.701
Units: 1-8-3
______
Provides practical experience in particle detection with verification by (Feynman) calculations. Students perform three experiments; at least one requires actual construction following design. Topics include Compton effect, Fermi constant in muon decay, particle identification by time-of-flight, Cerenkov light, calorimeter response, tunnel effect in radioactive decays, angular distribution of cosmic rays, scattering, gamma-gamma nuclear correlations, and modern particle localization.
Staff

8.821 String Theory
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.324
Units: 3-0-9
Credit cannot also be received for 8.251
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: MW EVE (4.30-6 PM) (4-265)
______
An introduction to string theory. Basics of conformal field theory; light-cone and covariant quantization of the relativistic bosonic string; quantization and spectrum of supersymmetric 10-dimensional string theories; T-duality and D-branes; toroidal compactification and orbifolds; 11-dimensional supergravity and M-theory. Meets with 8.251 when offered concurrently.
H. Liu
No textbook information available

8.831 Supersymmetric Quantum Field Theories
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR10.30-12 (36-112)
______
Topics selected from the following: SUSY algebras and their particle representations; Weyl and Majorana spinors; Lagrangians of basic four-dimensional SUSY theories, both rigid SUSY and supergravity; supermultiplets of fields and superspace methods; renormalization properties, and the non-renormalization theorem; spontaneous breakdown of SUSY; and phenomenological SUSY theories. Some prior knowledge of Noether's theorem, derivation and use of Feynman rules, l-loop renormalization, and gauge theories is essential.
J. Thaler
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.851 Effective Field Theory
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.324
Units: 3-0-9
Credit cannot also be received for 8.S851
______
Covers the framework and tools of effective field theory, including: identifying degrees of freedom and symmetries; power counting expansions (dimensional and otherwise); field redefinitions, bottom-up and top-down effective theories; fine-tuned effective theories; matching and Wilson coefficients; reparameterization invariance; and advanced renormalization group techniques. Main examples are taken from particle and nuclear physics, including the Soft-Collinear Effective Theory.
I. Stewart

8.871 Selected Topics in Theoretical Particle Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: 8.323
Units: 3-0-9
______
Presents topics of current interest in theoretical particle physics, with content varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.872 Selected Topics in Theoretical Particle Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: 8.323
Units: 3-0-9
Subject Cancelled Subject Cancelled
______
Presents topics of current interest in theoretical particle physics, with content varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.881, 8.882 Selected Topics in Experimental Particle Physics
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: 8.811
Units: 3-0-9
______
Presents topics of current interest in experimental particle physics, with content varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

Space Physics and Astrophysics

8.901 Astrophysics I
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Size and time scales. Historical astronomy. Astronomical instrumentation. Stars: spectra and classification. Stellar structure equations and survey of stellar evolution. Stellar oscillations. Degenerate and collapsed stars; radio pulsars. Interacting binary systems; accretion disks, x-ray sources. Gravitational lenses; dark matter. Interstellar medium: HII regions, supernova remnants, molecular clouds, dust; radiative transfer; Jeans' mass; star formation. High-energy astrophysics: Compton scattering, bremsstrahlung, synchrotron radiation, cosmic rays. Galactic stellar distributions and populations; Oort constants; Oort limit; and globular clusters.
Staff

8.902 Astrophysics II
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: 8.901
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (4-261) +final
______
Galactic dynamics: potential theory, orbits, collisionless Boltzmann equation, etc. Galaxy interactions. Groups and clusters; dark matter. Intergalactic medium; x-ray clusters. Active galactic nuclei: unified models, black hole accretion, radio and optical jets, etc. Homogeneity and isotropy, redshift, galaxy distance ladder. Newtonian cosmology. Roberston-Walker models and cosmography. Early universe, primordial nucleosynthesis, recombination. Cosmic microwave background radiation. Large-scale structure, galaxy formation.
M. Vogelsberger
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.913 Plasma Astrophysics I
______

Graduate (Fall)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
For students interested in space physics, astrophysics, and plasma physics in general. Magnetospheres of rotating magnetized planets, ordinary stars, neutron stars, and black holes. Pulsar models: processes for slowing down, particle acceleration, and radiation emission; accreting plasmas and x-ray stars; stellar winds; heliosphere and solar wind- relevant magnetic field configuration, measured particle distribution in velocity space and induced collective modes; stability of the current sheet and collisionless processes for magnetic reconnection; theory of collisionless shocks; solitons; Ferroaro-Rosenbluth sheet; solar flare models; heating processes of the solar corona; Earth's magnetosphere (auroral phenomena and their interpretation, bowshock, magnetotail, trapped particle effects); relationship between gravitational (galactic) plasmas and electromagnetic plasmas. 8.913 deals with heliospheric, 8.914 with extra-heliospheric plasmas.
Staff

8.914 Plasma Astrophysics II
______

Graduate (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
For students interested in space physics, astrophysics, and plasma physics in general. Magnetospheres of rotating magnetized planets, ordinary stars, neutron stars, and black holes. Pulsar models: processes for slowing down, particle acceleration, and radiation emission; accreting plasmas and x-ray stars; stellar winds; heliosphere and solar wind- relevant magnetic field configuration, measured particle distribution in velocity space and induced collective modes; stability of the current sheet and collisionless processes for magnetic reconnection; theory of collisionless shocks; solitons; Ferroaro-Rosenbluth sheet; solar flare models; heating processes of the solar corona; Earth's magnetosphere (auroral phenomena and their interpretation, bowshock, magnetotail, trapped particle effects); relationship between gravitational (galactic) plasmas and electromagnetic plasmas. 8.913 deals with heliospheric, 8.914 with extra-heliospheric plasmas.
Staff

8.921 Stellar Structure and Evolution
______

Graduate (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Observable stellar characteristics; overview of observational information. Principles underlying calculations of stellar structure. Physical processes in stellar interiors; properties of matter and radiation; radiative, conductive, and convective heat transport; nuclear energy generation; nucleosynthesis; and neutrino emission. Protostars; the main sequence, and the solar neutrino flux; advanced evolutionary stages; variable stars; planetary nebulae, supernovae, white dwarfs, and neutron stars; close binary systems; and abundance of chemical elements.
Staff

8.942 Cosmology
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://web.mit.edu/physics/subjects/index.html
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (4-159)
______
Thermal backgrounds in space. Cosmological principle and its consequences: Newtonian cosmology and types of "universes"; survey of relativistic cosmology; horizons. Overview of evolution in cosmology; radiation and element synthesis; physical models of the "early stages." Formation of large-scale structure to variability of physical laws. First and last states. Some knowledge of relativity expected. 8.962 recommended though not required.
K. Masui
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

8.952 Particle Physics of the Early Universe
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.323; Coreq: 8.324
Units: 3-0-9
______
Basics of general relativity, standard big bang cosmology, thermodynamics of the early universe, cosmic background radiation, primordial nucleosynthesis, basics of the standard model of particle physics, electroweak and QCD phase transition, basics of group theory, grand unified theories, baryon asymmetry, monopoles, cosmic strings, domain walls, axions, inflationary universe, and structure formation.
Staff

8.962 General Relativity
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: 8.07, 18.03, and 18.06
Units: 4-0-8
______
The basic principles of Einstein's general theory of relativity, differential geometry, experimental tests of general relativity, black holes, and cosmology.
Staff

8.971 Astrophysics Seminar
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-4 [P/D/F]
______
Advanced seminar on current topics, with a different focus each term. Typical topics: astronomical instrumentation, numerical and statistical methods in astrophysics, gravitational lenses, neutron stars and pulsars.
Staff

8.972 Astrophysics Seminar
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 2-0-4 [P/D/F]
______
Advanced seminar on current topics, with a different focus each term. Typical topics: gravitational lenses, active galactic nuclei, neutron stars and pulsars, galaxy formation, supernovae and supernova remnants, brown dwarfs, and extrasolar planetary systems. The presenter at each session is selected by drawing names from a hat containing those of all attendees. Offered if sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.981, 8.982 Selected Topics in Astrophysics
______

Graduate (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9 [P/D/F]
______
Topics of current interest, varying from year to year. Subject not routinely offered; given when sufficient interest is indicated.
Staff

8.995 Practical Experience in Physics
______

Graduate (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
For Course 8 students participating in off-campus experiences in physics. Before registering for this subject, students must have an internship offer from a company or organization, must identify a Physics advisor, and must receive prior approval from the Physics Department. Upon completion of the project, student must submit a letter from the company or organization describing the work accomplished, along with a substantive final report from the student approved by the MIT advisor. Consult departmental academic office.
Fall: Detmold, William
IAP: Detmold, William
Spring: Detmold, William
Summer: Detmold, William
No textbook information available

8.998 Teaching and Mentoring MIT Students
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-1 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule Lecture: M11 (26-168) or T1 (66-154) Lab: R1 (66-154) or F11 (4-257) or F1 (26-328)
______
Designed for first-time physics mentors and others interested in improving their knowledge and skills in teaching one-on-one and in small groups, particularly TEAL TAs and graduate student TAs. Topics include: cognition, metacognition, and the role of affect; communication skills (practice listening, questioning, and eliciting student ideas); the roles of motivation and mindset in learning; fostering belonging and self-efficacy through peer mentorship; facilitating small-group interactions to enhance peer instruction and learning; physics-specific learning strategies, such as how to teach/learn problem solving; research-based techniques for effective mentorship in STEM. Includes a one-hour class on pedagogy topics, a one-hour weekly Physics Mentoring Community of Practice meeting, and weekly assignments to read or watch material in preparation for class discussions, and written reflections before class.
E. Bertschinger
No textbook information available

8.S301 Special Subject: Physics
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Covers topics in Physics that are not offered in the regular curriculum. Limited enrollment; preference to Physics graduate students.
T. Smidt

8.S308 Special Subject: Physics
(New)
______

Graduate (IAP)
Prereq: None
Units arranged
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.S372 Special Subject: Physics
______

Graduate (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Covers topics in Physics that are not offered in the regular curriculum.
Staff

8.S373 Special Subject: Physics
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Covers topics in Physics that are not offered in the regular curriculum.
Staff

8.S421 Special Subject: Physics
______

Graduate (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
J. Tailleur

8.S50 Special Subject: Physics
______

Undergrad (IAP) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.S998 Special Subject: Physics
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
Opportunity for group study of subjects in physics not otherwise included in the curriculum.
Staff

8.THG Graduate Physics Thesis
______

Graduate (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Program of research leading to the writing of an SM, PhD, or ScD thesis; to be arranged by the student and an appropriate MIT faculty member.
Fall: L. Winslow
IAP: Winslow, Lindley
Spring: Winslow, Lindley
Summer: Winslow, Lindley
Textbooks arranged individually


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Produced: 22-JUL-2024 05:10 PM