Institute of Astronomy

Part III Lecture Courses - 2016-17

On line timetable

Maths Lecture List

A typical lecture load consists of an average of nine lectures per week during the Michaelmas and Lent terms.  It is usual to give more courses than this at the start of each term and then cut down to those of greatest interest.  This equates to about 18 examinable units over the year.  The compulsory project accounts for a further 6 units so that a typical total examination entry of 18 units requires that you prepare fully for examination only about two-thirds of the courses for which you have attended lectures.

Courses recommended by the Institute of Astronomy

Michaelmas 2016 Lent 2017

Prof. G. I. Ogilvie
Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics
M.W.F. 9 MR13 [3 units] [M]


Prof. R. Maiolino
Formation of Structure in the Universe †
M..F. 9 Small Lecture Theatre [1 unit] [P]


Dr J Rudge and Dr David Al-Attar
Physics of the Earth as a Planet †
M.W.F. 9 Small Lecture Theatre [2 units] [P]


Prof. M.R.E. Proctor
Convection and Magnetoconvection
Tu.Th. 9, MR13 [2units] [M]

Dr M. Dunajski, Prof H.S. Reall
General Relativity
M.W.F. 10 MR2  [3 units] [M]


Dynamics of Astrophysical Discs
Dr H. Latter
Tu. Th. 10, MR9 [2 units] [M]


Prof. A.C. Fabian and Prof. A. N. Lasenby
Relativistic Astrophysics and Cosmology †
M.W F. 10 MR11 Small Lecture Theatre  [2 units] [P]


Dr A. D. Challinor and Dr T. Baldauf
Advanced Cosmology
M.W.F. 10 MR12  [3 units] [M]

Dr M. C. Wyatt
Planetary System Dynamics
M.W F. 11 MR11  [3 units] [M]



Prof. N.W. Evans
Galactic Astronomy and Dynamics
M.W.F. 9 MR12  [3 units] [M] Time/venue tbc



Dr C. G. Lester
Particle Physics †
M.F. 11 and F 3pm for 2 weeks, then M. W .F. 11 Small Lecture Theatre [2 units] [P]



Prof. R. D. E. Saunders
Frontiers of Observational Astrophysics †
M.F. 10  Ryle Seminar Room [1 unit] [P]

Dr A. Zytkow
Structure and Evolution of Stars
M.W.F. 12 MR13 [3 units] [M]



Dr N. Madhusudhan
Extrasolar Planets - Atmospheres and Interiors
M.W.F. 11, MR12 [3 units] [M]



Dr J. R. Fergusson, Dr C M Marsh
Tu.Th.S. 11 MR2 [3 units] [M]


Dr J.E. Santos
Black Holes
M.W.F.12 MR3 [3 units] [M]


Prof. B. Allanach
Quantum Field Theory
Tu.Th.S. 12,  [3 units] MR2

Dr C.A. Tout
Binary Stars
Tu.Th. 11 MR12 [2 units] [M]



Dr I.R. Parry
Optical and Infrared Astronomical Telescopes and Instruments
Tu.Th. 12, MR12 [2 units] [M]

In addition, attendance at a short orientation course, covering practical aspects of Unix and use of the Institute of Astronomy Science Cluster is required.
Dr R M Johnstone* Introduction to Unix & Computing -

All lectures will be held in the Centre for Mathematical Sciences meeting rooms (MR) Clarkson Road except * which will be held at the IoA, Madingley Road and in the Cavendish Laboratory (West Cambridge). [Mathematics [M], Physics [P]].

The majority of courses you choose for examination must be drawn from the above list.  You may also choose to be examined in courses, amounting to a maximum of three units, chosen from any of the full suite of Part III Mathematics courses or from the Part III Physics courses except "Exoplanets and Planetary Systems", which has too much overlap with our recommended courses.  You may not choose the interdisciplinary courses or "Nuclear Power Engineering" from Part III Engineering. All mathematics courses are examined in June. Those of 24 lectures have a 3-hour exam and count 3 units while those of 16 lectures have a 2-hour exam and count 2 units. Physics major options have a 2-hour exam at the beginning of the Lent term and count 2 units. Physics minor options have a 1.5-hour exam at the start of the Easter term and count 1 unit. The courses offered in Part III vary from year to year and students should consult the Part III Coordinator for guidance in choosing.

[NB students are not allowed to offer  1/RAC (Physics) with either Cosmology or Advanced Cosmology  (Maths) for examination credit.]

The compulsory project accounts for a further 6 units so that a typical  total examination entry of 18 units requires that you prepare fully for examination only about two-thirds of the courses for which you have attended lectures.

The lecture courses are supported by Examples Classes organised by the lecturer.

Part III Examples and some Lecture Notes are here:


There are a number of seminars of astronomical interest within various Cambridge departments. Students are encouraged to attend seminars, although the large number of possibilities implies that students need to be selective in those they attend. The Institute of Astronomy has two regular series of talks, the Wednesday lunchtime talks at 1.15 pm (which are preceded by bread and cheese lunch from 12.30 and which usually constitute 2 half-hour talks on specialised research topics) and the Colloquia (Thursdays at 4.00 pm during Michaelmas Full Term) which are preceded by tea at 3:30 pm and followed by wine at 5.00 pm. The Colloquia are hour-long talks that generally contain a larger review element, as well as presenting latest scientific results.

In addition, the Cavendish Astrophysics Seminar takes place at 4.30 pm on Tuesdays and informal lunchtime talks are held at DAMTP (Monday 1.00 pm for the Cambridge Cosmology and Astrophysics Lunch and Tuesday 1.00 pm for Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics and Nonlinear Patterns).

Commitments to lecture courses and project work mean that it is essential to be selective about which talks to attend. However, in addition to the benefits of attending a talk containing relevant subject matter, critical assessment of a number of talks offers the opportunity to gain direct experience of what does and does not, work when presenting material to a non-specialist audience. Such experience is likely to be of direct benefit when preparing the project oral presentation to the Examiners in the Easter Term.

The schedule of talks for the forthcoming week can be found on the IoA website.

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