Graduate Block Lecture Course

March 27 – April 4, 2008

Lecturers: Eric Bell ( and Hans-Walter Rix ( 

Location: ARI Seminarraum


This lecture course is the compact equivalent of the semester-long course on galaxies that is established part of the Astronomy/Physics graduate curriculum. The course will convey a broad and up-to date perspective on the current state of knowledge and on the physical principles that shape the properties and evolution of the galaxy population, both at the present epoch and at high redshift. While the cosmological context will be stressed throughout, this class is not a cosmology course, nor has its main focus on modelling galaxy formation. Emphasis will be given to viewing galaxies as 'baryon condensates' in the cosmic dark matter web, to recent quantitative approaches for characterizing the galaxy population properties; there will be focus on the Milky Way and the Local Group - to understand galaxies, when resolved into individual stars; on galaxy dynamics, the role of dark matter in galaxy formation and on black holes at the center; on the various gas phases (and dust) in galaxies. To prepare students for research, the lectures will also discuss the most actively pursued open questions in this field.


Introduction to Astronomy I and II (or equivalent); basic knowledge of cosmology.


There will be four lectures each day, 9:00-9:50, 10:00-10:50, 11:00-11:50 amd 13:30-14:20. One lecture each day (usually 11:00-11:50) will particularly foster active student discussion and participation, often on the basis of discussion assignments from the previous day. 


March 27

1+2: Introduction to Galaxies: concepts, history and basic approaches to doing Galaxy Research

3+4: Brief review of cosmology and the basics of structure formation in cosmology



March 28

5+6: Research Tools I

  • spectral energy distributions
  • interpretation of spectra and colors; masses, SFRs/SFHs, metallicities

7+8: Research Tools I

  • diagnostics of high z galaxy properties
  • diagnostics of IGM properties (via absorption line spectroscopy)



March 31

9+10: Research Tools II

  • chemical evolution modeling
  • resolved stellar pops/CMDs
  • diagnostics of ISM and dust

11+12: Research Tools II

  • dynamics - collisionless/stellar dynamics
  • dynamics - gas



April 1

13+14 and 21+22: Cooling, Star Formation and Feedback; Merging and Environment


April 2

15+16: Supermassive black holes, AGN, and AGN feedback

17+18: Galaxy structures and scaling relations


April 3

19+20: Galaxy Evolution at z < 1

23+24: The Milky Way and the Local Group as a cosmological testbed



April 4

25+26: High redshift galaxy evolution

Final session: discussions, open questions and what new tools will be available soon


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