astr/atoc 5400 Home Page

ASTR 5400 Introduction to Fluid Dynamics

Spring 2016 MWF 11:00-11:50am Duane E126 + optional video/demo sessions


Instructor: Prof. Juri Toomre , JILA, and Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder


Phone: (303) 492-7854 (office, JILA A606); (303) 907-9316 (cell)

Office Hours: Mon, Fri Noon-1:00pm either in JILA A606 or Duane G328 (LCD), or readily by appointment

Course Contents:

This course focuses on the fundamentals of fluid dynamics as applied to astrophysical and geophysical systems. We will deal with: the continuum hypothesis; Eulerian and Lagrangian formulations; basic conservation laws; vorticity and potential vorticity theorems; dynamic similarity and scale analysis; inviscid potential flows; gravity waves; exact solutions of Navier-Stokes equations; boundary layer formulations; numerical nonlinear simulation approaches; and compressible flows and shock conditions. There will be introductory discussions of fluid instabilities, waves, chaos, nonlinear equilibration, and turbulence. Details are provided in syllabus.

Considerable emphasis is placed throughout the course on scaling procedures to develop simplified model problems tractable to solution, yet which are of relevance to many real research problems. Course is augmented by extensive video presentations, plus flow demonstrations.


Kundu, P.K., Cohen, I.M. & Dowling, D.R. Fluid Mechanics (2016, 6th ed.), Academic Press (Required)

Batchelor, G.K. An Introduction to Fluid Dynamics (1970), Cambridge UP (Excellent reference)

Currie, I.G. Fundamental Mechanics of Fluids (2002, 3rd ed.), CRC Press (Very useful reference)

Vallis, G.K. Atmospheric & Ocean Science: Fundamentals and Large-Scale Circulations (2006), Cambridge UP (Excellent reference)