1. Advanced Classical Electromagnetism - Core (PHY-207.5)

    Instructor: Loganayagam R

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: Thursdays & Saturdays: 11:00-2:30 pm (Tutorials on Wednesdays: 2:00-3:30 pm)

    First meeting: Thursday (10:00 - 13:00 Hrs), 11th February 2021

    Course description: Please click here

    The grading policy: will be based on the following weightage

    – Assignments: 35% for PhD students, 40% for I.PhD students

    – Midterm Exam: 30%

    – End term Exam: 30%

    – Term paper (a thorough review of a topic in electromagnetism not covered in textbooks below, see below for suggestions): 5% Extra credit (Compulsory for PhD Students) Note that Assignments form a central part of this course since one of the main aims of this course is to train students to solve problems

  2. Advanced Classical Mechanics - Core (PHY-204.5)

    Instructor: Abhishek Dhar

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: 11 am-12:30 pm on Wednesdays & Fridays

    First meeting: 15th January 2021

    TA: Saurav Pandey, saurav.pandey@icts.res.in

    Course description:

    1. Recap of basic ideas of Newtonian mechanics

    2. Central force problem

    3. Small oscillations

    4. Dynamical systems theory basics

    5. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulation of classical mechanics

    6. Poisson brackets and symplectic structure

    7. Hamilton Jacobi theory

    8. Rigid body motion

    9. Integrability, Chaos, and Nonlinear-dynamics


    First course in classical mechanics; Ability to write simple programs in any language (c, python, fortran, etc.)


    (a) Goldstein: Classical Mechanics (b) Reichl: The Transition to Chaos (c) Saletan and Jose: Classical Dynamics

    Course evaluation: Assignments – 50 %; Mid-term and Final Exam – 50 %


  3. Lab Course - Core (PHY-108.5)


    (i) Vishal Vasan and Amit Apte: Atmospheric sciences module

    (ii) Pallavi Bhat and P. Ajith: Astrophysics module

    Venue: Online

    Course goals:

    Due to the current pandemic, the version of the experimental methods course offered will differ from the traditional one. In this course, you will be introduced to several different areas of physics where experimental data play a key role. In particular, you will be exposed to datasets as gathered by experimentalists working in the lab and from observation studies. You will learn how to do simple analysis & visualisation, investigate the nature and sources of systematic and random errors, and verify theoretical predictions against experimental data.

    Course structure and evaluation:

    The course is split into three modules: Atmospheric science, Active matter and Astrophysics. Each module will be between 2 weeks to 4 weeks long. In each module, you will be introduced to some experimental methods and datasets related to that particular sub-field in physics. All modules will focus on the comparisons of theory and experiment introducing the student to subtle issues of validating a model from data. At the end of each module, students will submit a written report based on their findings. Class participation is crucial. Discussions form an essential part of science and class participation will be part of the final grade. Note: the course involves data analysis and thus a significant part of the course will involve programming in a language (most likely Python). Though prior experience with programming is not necessary, it will certainly be beneficial.


    (i) Atmospheric science: Dispersive waves, Fourier series and the FFT. Waves in the atmosphere and ocean as seen in temperature, pressure, clouds and other similar datasets. Precipitation.

    (ii) Active matter: Brownian motion and detection of such motion experimentally. Active matter and deviation from Brownian motion.

    (iii) Astrophysics: TBA.

    Evaluation: Students will be evaluated on the following basis

    (i) (60%=3×20%) Written report for each module

    (ii) (30%) Homework assignments

    (iii) (10%) Class participation

    Class timings:

    The course will begin with the atmospheric science module and classes will be held twice a week on tue/thur at 2:30-3:30 pm. Note the timings for the remaining modules may change and you will need to check with your instructors!

  4. Research Methodology and Ethics - Core (PHY-200.5)

    Instructor: Loganayagam R

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: Mondays 5:30-6:30 pm & Thursdays 4:00-5:30 pm

    First meeting: Thursday 4:00-5:30 pm, 11th Feb 2021.

    Course description: Please click here

    The grading policy: There will be no drop test for this course.

    The grading policy: will be based on the following weightage

    – Class participation/presentations : 50%

    – Written Assignments: 50%

  5. Geometry and Topology in Physics - Topical (PHY-403.5)

    Instructor: Joseph Samuel

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: 11 am-12:30 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays

    First meeting: 12 January 2021

    Course description:


    Advanced Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, (all at the level of Landau and Lifshitz), complex analysis, group theory.


    There are no fixed textbooks for the course. We will be drawing on many sources from the published literature and the internet.

    Structure of the course:

    The course will cover a number of applications of geometry and topology in the context of physical examples. The emphasis will be on the examples rather than on rigour. This course will be complementary to mathematics courses on geometry and topology.

    Exposure to such courses will be helpful, but not a prerequisite to follow the course.

    What students will gain from the course:

    An appreciation of the commonality between different areas of physics; the unifying nature of geometric and topological ideas in physics.

    How the course will achieve its goals:

    We will take specific examples of systems from different areas of physics and analyse them from a geometric perspective. Make connections wherever possible between the different examples. The course will start with simple examples and graduate to more advanced ones. The choice of examples will depend on the feedback I get from the students.


    Some classes will include a twenty-minute quiz, in which students are asked to answer simple questions related to the class discussion. For example, filling in missing steps in the derivation; consideration of special cases etc. This will be 40% of the assessment. There will also be regular assignments, which the students will have to turn in on time. These will count as 30%. The remaining 30% is for the final exam. It is not presently clear if the pandemic will permit in-person classes. We hope that the situation will improve by Jan 2021. If this does not happen, classes will be conducted online. In this case, students taking the course will be required to have a good internet connection. If you need help in this regard, please contact the ICTS and consult your appointment letter for more details.

  6. Introductory Fluid Mechanics - Topical (PHY-402.5)

    Instructor: Rama Govindarajan

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: 9 am-10:30 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

    First meeting: 12th January 2021

    Course description: Following is a course summary but is subject to change depending on students' interests:

    1. Continuum formulation of fluid mechanics, limitations

    2. Lagrangian and Eulerian perspectives

    3. Conservation of mass (the continuity equation)

    4. Similarity transforms

    5. Stream functions, Angular momentum, Velocity gradient tensor – Symmetric and Antisymmetric parts etc.

    6. Conservation of Momentum – Euler and Navier-Stokes Equations

    7. Dynamic similarity – Buckingham Pi theorem

    8. Kelvin’s Circulation theorem

    9. Couette and Poiseuille Flow

    10. Introduction to Turbulence – Scaling laws, and energy budget equation

    11. Fully developed turbulence – K41 hypothesis

    12. Singular Perturbation Theory

    13. Bernoulli’s function and principle

    14. Boundary layer theory

    15. Flow past a plate, Blasius equation

    16. Vortex Dynamics

    17. Use of complex techniques for inviscid, incompressible vortex and mass source induced velocity fields.

    18. Method of images

    19. Potential flow past a cylinder

    20. Blasius theorem – Force and torque on a solid body in a fluid (inviscid, incompressible)

    21. Conformal Mapping

    22. Flow instabilities – Study of Linearized equations for stability

    23. Rayleigh Plateau instability

    24. Orr-Sommerfeld equation

    25. Benard Problem

    26. Taylor problem on centrifugal instability

    27. Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes Equations

    Evaluation: Homeworks, one midterm and one final exam.

  7. Open Quantum Systems - Topical (PHY-405.5)

    Instructor: Manas Kulkarni

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: 4:00 pm-5:30 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays

    First meeting: 15th January 2021

    Course description:

    1. Dissipation in Quantum Mechanics: General setup and various approaches

    2. Damped Quantum Harmonic Oscillator, two time averages and quantum regression

    3. Spin Boson Model (Dephasing) and some generalizations

    4. Dissipative two-level and multi-level systems

    5. Cavity-Quantum Electrodynamics (cavity-QED): Exact solutions of the Jaynes-Cummings Model (JCM)

    6. Dispersive limit of the JCM and its generalizations (reduction to Bose-Hubbard systems)

    7. Dissipative process in cavity-QED systems

    8. Driven-Dissipative Quantum Systems and applications (driven JCM)

    9. Dicke Model and phase transitions


    Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Physics

    Textbooks: Below are some suggested books. I will also be making additional notes.

    1. Howard Carmichael, Statistical Methods in Quantum Optics 1. Master Equations and Fokker-Planck Equations (Springer)

    2. Girish S. Agarwal, Quantum Optics (Cambridge University Press)

    3. Heinz-Peter Breuer and Francesco Petruccione, The theory of open quantum systems (Oxford University Press)

    Term paper topics: Below are suggested topics for the term paper (report + presentation). The suggested references for each of them will be updated. Students will need to pick a topic (latest by February 15, 2021) and make a report and then give a presentation (at the end of the semester).

    1. Non-Hermitian Random Matrices

    2. Quantum Dot circuit-QED systems

    3. Optomechanical Systems

    4. Self-trapping, localization in Non-Hermitian Systems

    5. Parity-Time Symmetric Systems

    Grading Policy:

    Homework – 40 %

    Term paper (report and presentation) – 30 %

    Final Exam – 30 %

  8. Physics of Compact Objects - Topical (PHY-404.5)

    Instructor: Parameswaran Ajith & Bala Iyer

    Tutor: Shasvath Kapadia

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: Wednesdays from 3:30 pm-5:00 pm & Fridays from 2:15pm-3:45pm

    First meeting: 13th January 2021

    Plan: 15 lectures + 15 tutorials (each 90 mins; 45 contact hrs)

    Course description:

    This course aims to provide a general introduction to the physics and astrophysics of compact objects, and compact-object binaries. We will start with introductory topics and will end by surveying some of the current research. We will draw content from several textbooks and review articles.

    Stellar structure, evolution and collapse - 3 lectures

    • Hydrostatic equilibrium, Equations of stellar structure, Solutions to equations of stellar structure, Stellar evolution, Gravitational collapse and supernovae.

    White dwarfs - 3 lectures

    • Electron degeneracy pressure, Structure of white dwarfs, Chandrasekhar limit, Mass-radius relation of white dwarfs.

    Neutron stars - 3 lectures

    • Equation of state at higher densities, Structure of neutron stars, Mass limit of neutron stars, Mass-radius relation of neutron stars, Pulsars.

    Black holes - 3 lectures

    • Schwarzschild solution, Particle and photon orbits in Schwarzschild geometry, Kerr solution, Astrophysical black holes, x-ray binaries, galactic nuclei.

    Exotic compact objects - 1 lecture

    • Exotic objects and their possible observational signatures.

    Compact object binaries - 2 lectures

    • Compact binary evolution, Binary pulsars, Compact binary coalescence, their gravitational-wave signatures.

    References (not exclusive):

    1. Saul Teukolsky and Stuart L. Shapiro. Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars: The Physics of Compact Objects (Wiley-VCH; 1983).

    2. T. Padmanabhan, Theoretical Astrophysics: Volume 2, Stars and Stellar Systems (Cambridge 2001).

    3. Bernard F. Schutz, A First Course in General Relativity (Cambridge, 2009).

    Evaluation: 70% based on assignments and homework. 30% based on final term paper.

  9. The Black Hole Information Paradox - Topical (PHY-412.5)

    Instructor: Suvrat Raju

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: 6:30 pm -8 pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays

    First meeting: 13th January 2021

    Course description:

    This is an advanced elective course covering recent developments in our understanding of the black-hole information paradox. We will emphasize the broader lessons that puzzles about black-hole evaporation and the black-hole interior hold for theories of quantum gravity. The topics that we plan to cover include the following:

    1. Hawking's original formulation of the information paradox.

    2. Paradoxes involving the black-hole interior and the monogamy of entanglement.

    3. The principle of holography of information.

    4. Quantum extremal Islands.

    5. Paradoxes involving large AdS black holes

    6. Construction of the black-hole interior in AdS/CFT

    7. State dependence

    8. Fuzzballs, firewalls and other proposals for horizon structure

    We will use the recent review "Lessons from the Information Paradox" as a guide for the lectures.

    Click here


    Quantum field theory, general relativity, familiarity with black-hole thermodynamics and quantum fields in curved spacetime.

    Lecture details:

    The course will be entirely virtual.

    We will have 2 virtual lectures per week starting the week of 11 January and continuing till mid-April. Each lecture will be 1.5 hours. In addition, we will have office-hours/tutorials each week for questions and discussion.

    Lecture timings will be fixed later based on the convenience of the students attending.

  10. Introduction to Coherent States - Reading (PHY-430.5)

    Instructor: Rukmini Dey

    Venue: Online

    Class timings: TBA

    First meeting: TBA

    Course description: TBA