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PAP324 Numerical Space Physics, 5 cr 
Code PAP324  Validity 01.01.2017 -
Name Numerical Space Physics  Abbreviation Numerical Space 
Scope5 cr   
TypeAdvanced studies
  GradingGeneral scale 
    Can be taken more than onceYes
Unit Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences 

Target group 

Master’s Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences is responsible for the course.

Module where the course belongs to:

  • PAP300 Advanced Studies in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences
    Optional for:
    1. Study Track in Astrophysical Sciences

The course is available to students from other degree programmes.


Given every second year (odd years) in the spring term, IV period.

Learning outcomes 
  • You will learn about the various simulation methods that are used in space physics, why they are used and how they are used, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

  • You will learn hands-on what running a simulation entails and how the data can be analysed.

  • You will understand the principles behind the numerical methods of the simulations, in particular magnetohydrodynamics.

  • You will be able to study space physics problems using advanced numerical simulations.

Completion methods 
  • Exercises and final project. Exercises are mostly small programming tasks, derivations or literature reviews. The final project consists of a larger problem in which the student independently applies a simulation method to study a specific system.
  • Focus on contact teaching, can also be taken as a distance learning course
Recommended optional studies   

The course consists of three thematic packages.

  1. To begin with, the role of simulation methods in space physics is reviewed in which the how, what and why of simulations are presented on a general level. More focused topics such as methods for visualisation and analysis of simulation data are also discussed. 
  2. The second theme focuses on individual algorithms, in particular the numerical methods of hyperbolic conservation laws, magnetohydrodynamics, and PIC simulations.
  3. A major part of the course is the final hands-on project assignment in which the students individually apply a simulation method to study a particular problem in space physics.
Study materials and literature 
  • Lecture notes
  • Handout (on-line) supplementary material
  • Basic textbooks on plasma physics
Activities and teaching methods in support of learning 
  • Lectures

  • Exercises (discussed during lectures)

  • Interactive demo sessions
  • Discussions and problem solving in groups
  • Final project with accompanying report/presentation
Assessment practices and criteria 

Final grade is based on exercises (20 %) and final project (80 %).


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