Oxford Master Course in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics
Centre for Postgraduate Training in Plasma Physics and High Energy Density Science

  Lecturer: Felix I. Parra
Teaching Assistant: Alessandro Geraldini

This is an MMathPhys course which we expect to be of interest to graduate students specialising in the physics (or applied mathematics) of gases and plasmas, and astrophysics.

Trinity Term 2017
Fisher Room (Denys Wilkinson Building)
Mondays 14:00-16:00 weekly


Class 1: Mon 22-May-2017 16.30-18.30 in Fisher Room (DWB)
Class 2: Sat 17-June-2017 11.00-13.00 in room TBC

Course materials, reading suggestions, scheduling notices,
problem sets to appear below shortly.

Syllabus currently given below is subject to revision.

This is a new course, with a new set of notes and problems. There will be typos,
muddy points... Any feedback is welcome!

Lecture I (Mon 24-April-17) Boltzmann collision operator. Coulomb collisions.

Lecture II (Mon 1-May-17) Fokker-Planck collision operator. Conservation properties and H-theorem.

Lecture III (Mon 8-May-17) Electron-ion collisions. Linearized collision operator.

Lecture IV (Mon 15-May-17) Properties of the linearized collision operator.

Notes about the Fokker-Planck collision operator
1. Fokker-Planck collision operator
2. Collisions between electrons and ions
3. The linearized Fokker-Planck collision operator and the Spitzer-Harm problem
Lecture V (Mon 22-May-17) Spitzer-Harm problem. Derivation of plasma fluid equations.

Lecture VI (Mon 29-May-17) Derivation of Braginskii closure for electrons.

Notes about Braginskii equations
Braginskii fluid equations
Lecture VII (Mon 5-June-17) Braginskii closure for ions. MHD and resistive MHD.

Lecture VIII (Mon 12-June-17) Resistive tearing modes.

Notes about resistive MHD
Resistive MHD, reconnection and resistive tearing modes
Problem Set I (Due Mon 15-May-17)
Problem Set II (Due Mon 12-June-17)


  1. P. Helander & D. J. Sigmar, Collisional Transport in Magnetized Plasmas (Cambridge University Press 2002) (Amazon)
  2. R. D. Hazeltine & F. L. Waelbroeck, The Framework of Plasma Physics (Westview Press 2004) (Amazon)
  3. R. D. Hazeltine & J. D. Meiss, Plasma Confinement (Dover Publications 2003) (Amazon)
  4. R. Fitzpatrick, Plasma Physics: An Introduction (CRC Press 2014) (Amazon)
  5. R. J. Goldston & P. H. Rutherford, Introduction to Plasma Physics (CRC Press 1995) (Amazon)