ECE 598IW Fall 2017

Fundamental Electrodynamic Processes in the Space Environment

Artist's conception of Earth's magnetosphereSchematic of combined Field-Aligned Currents and ionospheric current system

Calendar          Homework          Exams          Final Project

This course is intended to engage graduate students interested in electrodynamics, space remote sensing, or satellite operations by presenting advanced topics and new areas of research regarding the fundamental electrodynamic processes that take place in the solar-terrestrial environment.  The course will begin with an overview of fundamental plasma physics (single particle motion, kinetic theory, basic plasma phenomena, and magnetohydrodynamics) and then use that foundation to explore the interaction between currents and magnetic fields in the inner solar system.  From from the sun and interplanetary medium to the earth’s magnetosphere and ionosphere, we will examine electrodynamic processes such as plasma waves, shocks, instabilities, and dynamos.  Contemporary numerical models of the solar-terrestrial environment will be used to illustrate various electrodynamic phenomena and reveal the challenges of sensing and operating in this dynamic environment.

This course web page will always have the most up-to-date information for the course. Any changes made, especially to the due dates, will be reflected in the course website, announced in class, and notified via email. Therefore, it is the students' responsibility to attend lectures, check their email, or check the website for the most up-to-date information.

INSTRUCTORS:  Lara Waldrop (lwaldrop) and Raluca Ilie (rilie)

LECTURES: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00-3:20 PM in ECEB 4070

REQUIRED TEXT: Physics of the Space Environment, Gombosi, 1998

The following supplemental texts are available electronically via Grainger Library:

Reading assignments from your textbook, including optional material from supplemental sources, will be shown in the course calendar at the link above. 

OFFICE HOURS:  Prof. Ilie or Prof. Waldrop will hold one weekly office hour to address your questions regarding the weekly homework.   The office hours will be held in a location 3020 ECEB on Mondays from 3-4 PM before Exam 1 and on Wednesdays from 3-4 PM after Exam 1. If you are unable to attend office hours due to an academic conflict, or if you have any other questions or concerns, you may schedule an appointment.

HOMEWORK:  Eleven written assignments will be posted on the course website under the Homework link above. They will be due in class by the end of lecture on the due date (noted on the HW itself and posted in the course calendar).  Late HW will receive no credit without prior approval from an instructor.  Solutions will be posted on the course website on the HW due date, and graded HW will be returned in class.  All HW grades will count toward your final grade; no HW grades will be dropped.  If you want to request a regrade, you should submit your graded HW to your instructor within one week of receiving your grade, with a detailed description of why you think you should receive more credit stapled to the assignment as a cover page.

EXAMS: Two in-class midterms will be held on Oct. 5 and Nov. 28.   All midterm exams will be closed book, closed notes.  Electronic devices of any kind are not permitted.  Graded exams will be returned in class the following week and solutions will be posted on the course website under the Exams link above.  If you want to request an exam regrade, you should submit your graded exam to your instructor within three days of receiving your grade, with a detailed description of why you think you should receive more credit stapled to the assignment as a cover page.   Students with documented disabilities requiring extra time on exams must notify the instructor at least one week prior to Exam 1.   There are no scheduled make-up exams.  If you have an unavoidable medical or personal emergency, an exception might be granted.  In that case, you must notify your instructor before the scheduled start time of the exam and you must fully document the reason for your absence.  Make-up exams will be conducted orally by both instructors. 

FINAL PROJECT: In lieu of a final written exam, each student is expected to prepare a written report on a topic of your choice and give a 10-minute presentation during the scheduled final exam.  Details regarding possible topics and required report content will be provided under the Final Project link above.

GRADING POLICY:  Your final numerical grade will be determined as follows:

Homework 50%
Two mid-term exams 30%
Final project 20%

Due to the small class size, we will not be using Compass2G to post grades.  Toward the end of the semester, we will provide you with our record of your grades for you to inspect for accuracy.  If you find an error, you must bring it to our attention before 12/7.

TOPICAL PREREQUISITES:  Students are expected to have a solid foundation in electromagnetics (e.g., ECE 329, 350, 420) and vector calculus (MA 241), as well as some familiarity with complex variables, statistics, and classical mechanics.