Course Identification

Neutron stars

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Dr. Mikhail Gusakov, Dr. Elena Kantor

Course Schedule and Location

First Semester
Tuesday, 10:15 - 12:00, Drori Auditorium

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Physical Sciences: Lecture; 2.00 points
Chemical Sciences: 2.00 points


Hybrid Format

Course Objective: The aim of this course is to introduce students to the rapidly evolving field of astrophysics?neutron star physics. Topics covered will include the structure of neutron stars, their primary observational manifestations, and an overview of several dynamic models of neutron stars. The course will primarily focus on presenting the elements of neutron star theory at both micro- and macro-scales. Whenever possible, we will follow the principle -- from observations to theoretical interpretation -- using specific remarkable observations as trigger points for theory development. By the end of the course, students are expected to develop an understanding of the key challenges faced by theorists studying neutron stars and gain the ability to navigate the extensive literature on this subject.


It is expected that the student has taken basic university courses in theoretical physics. 



Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation

Expected and Recommended

Grade Type

Pass / Fail

Grade Breakdown (in %)


Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



Preliminary plan:

1. Neutron stars (NSs): Introduction
2. Internal structure of NSs
3. Masses and radii of NSs. Equation of state of superdense matter.
4. Influence of superfluidity on NS dynamics
5. Cooling of isolated NSs
6. Accreting NSs. Equation of state of the crust. Thermal evolution of accreting NSs.
7. Pulsars. Pulsar braking. P-Pdot diagram. Mechanisms of pulsar radiation.
8. Pulsar glitches.
9. Magnetic fields in NSs. Problem formulation on the evolution of the magnetic field in NSs. Magnetars.
10. What is the temperature of the coldest NS? Internal heating sources of NSs.
11. Oscillations and instabilities in NSs
12. Neutron stars as sources of gravitational waves.
13. r-modes
14. Physics of inspiraling and merging NSs.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, it is expected that the student will have an understanding of what neutron stars are, the main methods of studying neutron stars, and the challenges faced by neutron star physics. Additionally, it is expected that upon completing the course, the student will be able to navigate through the extensive literature on neutron star physics.

Reading List

1. Shapiro, Stuart L. ; Teukolsky, Saul A.  Black holes, white dwarfs and neutron stars. The physics of compact objects. A Wiley-Interscience Publication, New York: Wiley, 1983

2. Haensel, P.; Potekhin, A. Y. ; Yakovlev, D. G. Neutron Stars 1 : Equation of State and Structure  Astrophysics and space science library, Vol. 326. New York: Springer, 2007.

3. Glendenning, Norman K. Compact stars : nuclear physics, particle physics, and general relativity. New York : Springer, 2000

4. Andersson, Nils. Gravitational-Wave Astronomy: Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe. Oxford University Press, 2019