• Length:
    8 Weeks
  • Effort:
    5–6 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
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  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Intermediate
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

  • General physics (electricity and magnetism)
  • Vector calculus

About this course

Skip About this course

Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is by far the most abundant form of known matter in the universe. Its behavior is very different from the other states of matter we are usually familiar with. To understand it, a rigorous formalism is required. This is essential not only to explain important astrophysical phenomena, but also to optimize many industrial and medical applications and for achieving fusion energy on Earth.

This physics course, taught by world-renowned experts of the field, gives you the opportunity to acquire a basic knowledge of plasma physics. A rigorous introduction to the plasma state will be followed by a description of the models, from single particle, to kinetic and fluid, which can be applied to study its dynamics. You will learn about the waves that can exist in a plasma and how to mathematically describe them, how a plasma can be controlled by magnetic fields, and how its complex and fascinating behavior is simulated using today’s most powerful supercomputers.

This course is the first of two courses introducing plasma physics and its applications. After completing this course, you will have the prerequisites to enjoy Plasma Physics: Applications, which deals with plasma applications in astrophysics, industry, medicine, nuclear fusion and laser-plasma interaction.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Basic knowledge of plasma physics and the different models used to describe plasmas
  • An understanding of how to numerically simulate complex plasma dynamics
  • Basic knowledge of MATLAB programming through introduction videos and exercises
  • Week 1: Description of the plasma state
  • Week 2: Kinetic description of plasmas
  • Week 3: Fluid description of plasmas
  • Week 4: Fluid description of plasmas II

Meet your instructors

Ambrogio Fasoli
Director of the Swiss Plasma Center
EPFL
Paolo Ricci
Associate Professor
EPFL
Alan Howling
Senior Scientist, Basic Plasma Physics and Applications
EPFL
Christian Theiler
Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Plasma Physics
EPFL

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Learner testimonials

“This is an extraordinary course. A great opportunity to learn physics. I wish to thank to the professors, to the EPFL and to edX by have offered this interesting MOOC.”

“I found the lectures very informative and clear. I like the "interactive" style which you present, it works the best for beginners who need to be introduced step by step into the topic. I would recommend this course to any student curious of plasma physics.”

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. EdX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.