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Interstellar Medium



The space between the stars is filled with matter, magnetic fields, and radiation. This course describes this ‘interstellar medium’ as an an integral part of galactic ‘ecosystems’. It provides an overview of the known constituents of the ISM (ionized, atomic, and molecular gas; dust; magnetic fields; cosmic rays; EM radiation), and the different environments in which these are encountered (the 2- and 3-phase models of the ISM) along with the observational diagnostics (atomic and molecular spectroscopy; spectral energy distributions). It discusses the physical processes that govern the interactions within the ISM and with stars (energy balance; shocks). And it highlights the relationships between the ISM and stars and their host galaxies (birth and death of stars; supernovae; nuclei of active galaxies).

Programme form

Lectures and assignments


Obligatory: Physics of the Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium Bruce T. Draine Princeton University Press ISBN 978-0-691-12214-4 (paperback) ISBN 978-0-691-12213-7 (hardback)


See the Master schedule

Form of examination

Oral, by appointment.



Via uSis
More information about signing up for your classes at the Faculty of Science can be found here

More information

Lecturer: Dr. P. (Paul) Werf, van der
Assistent: Kirstin Doney

More information can be found on the lecturer’s website