In Part II (3rd year undergraduate), I chose to study Astrophysics rather than Physics. Cambridge Astrophysics consists of 8 compulsory lecture courses and the CATAM (computational coursework shared with maths students).

For all of the courses except Cosmology and Topics in Astrophysics, I made handwritten notes based on the lectures. Closer to the exams, I typed up the notes into RemNote, which automatically generates spaced-repetition flashcards.

The RemNote documents (which can be viewed as flashcards by clicking “Test yourself on these rem”) are linked here.

- Stellar Structure and Evolution
- Stellar measurements: distances, spectra, binary systems
- Stellar atmospheres: temperature, opacity, curve of growth
- Stellar radiation: virial theorem, nuclear energy generation, nucleosynthesis
- Energy transport: Eddington equation for radiative equilibrium, Schwarzschild criterion
- Stellar models: structure equations and homology
- Star formation: protostars, pre-main sequence
- Evolution on the main sequence
- Post-MS evolution of solar-mass stars
- White Dwarfs: degeneracy pressure, ageing
- Post-MS evolution of Massive Stars: winds, supernovae
- Close binary systems

- Principles of Quantum Mechanics
- Hilbert space: properties, continuum states, operators, postulates of QM
- Transformations: generators, translations, rotations, parity, time evolution
- Angular momentum: ladders, spin, orbital angular momentum, addition
- Harmonic oscillator: ladders, time evolution, radial Hamiltonian
- Identical particles
- Time-independent perturbation theory: degenerate case, fine structure of hydrogen/helium, Stark effect
- Time-dependent perturbation theory: interaction picture, ionisation
- Interpreting QM: density operator, Von Neumann entropy, entanglement, Bell’s inequalities

- Statistical Physics
- Fundamentals of statistical physics: partition functions etc
- Classical gases: Maxwell distribution, interacting gases
- Quantum gases: photon and phonon gas
- Bose-Einstein distribution
- Fermi-Dirac distribution
- Classical thermodynamics: laws of thermodynamics, Carnot engines
- Phase transitions: van der Waals liquids, Clausius-Clapeyron, critical exponents
- Ising model: mean field theory, Landau theory

- Topics in Astrophysics
- Timescales and distributions
- Tides: tidal capture, tidal disruption, the origin of the moon, evolution of clusters.
- Planets: the solar system, exoplanets, exoplanet detection,
- Protoplanetary disks: disk dynamics, disk heating, disk evolution
- Planet formation: planetesimals from dust, planets from planetesimals

- Stellar Dynamics and the Structure of Galaxies
- Orbits: dynamics, Keplerian orbits, general radial orbits,
- Poisson’s equation: Gauss’ theorem, galaxy profiles, near-circular orbits
- Axisymmetric potentials: near-circular orbits, spherical coordinates (Legendre polynomials), cylindrical coordinates (Bessel functions), Oort constants, rotation curves.
- Collisionless systems: gravitational drag, the collisionless Boltzmann equation, Jeans equations, virial theorem
- Jeans theorem and self-consistent models
- Clusters: isothermal sphere, anisotropic velocity distributions, cluster evolution

- Relativity
- Special relativity: Lorentz boosts, spacetime diagrams, velocity and acceleration
- Manifolds and coordinates: Riemannian manifolds, local Cartesian coordinates, vector algebra
- Tensor calculus: metric tensor, covariant derivatives, intrinsic derivatives
- Minkowski spacetime: 4-vectors, dynamics
- Electromagnetism: Maxwell tensor, coordinate-free Maxwell equations
- Spacetime curvature: weak-field limit, intrinsic curvature, Riemann curvature tensor, geodesics
- Einstein field equations: energy-momentum tensor, weak-field limit, Schwarzschild solution, geodesics in Schwarzschild spacetime
- Orbits: Lagrangian, orbit equation under the Schwarzschild metric, deflection of light
- Schwarzschild black holes: causal structure, Eddington-Finkelstein coordinates
- Cosmology

- Astrophysical fluid dynamics
- Fluid equations: fluid element, Eulerian vs Lagrangian pictures, conservation laws, gravitation
- Equations of state: barotropic fluid, adiabatic fluid, the energy equation, astrophysical heating/cooling
- Stellar fluids: hydrostatic equilibrium, polytropes, scaling relations
- Sound waves: linear perturbation analysis, shocks, Rankine-Hugoniot conditions, supernova blastwaves
- Bernoulli’s equation: Bernoulli’s principle, Helmholtz equation, Kelvin vorticity, De Laval nozzle, spherical accretion
- Fluid instability: convective instability, Jeans instability, interface instability (Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz), Thermal instability
- Viscous flows: shear viscosity, Navier-Stokes equation, energy dissipation
- Accretion disks: rotating frames, evolution, steady-state
- Plasmas: ideal MHD, magnetorotational instability

- Cosmology
- FRW cosmology: Friedman equations, particular cosmologies, the CMB
- Age and size of the universe: redshift, distances, horizons
- Thermal history: statistical weight, neutrino temperature, Big Bang nucleosynthesis, recombination
- Dark matter: evidence for dark matter, MACHOs
- Dark energy
- Fluctuations: power spectra, sound horizon, baryon acoustic oscillations
- Inflation: horizon problem, scalar fields, e-foldings, slow-roll
- Testing cosmological models: lensing, BAOs, Lyman alpha forest
- Nonlinear evolution