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Seminar Series on Cutting Edge Astrophysics (S2CEA)


Admission requirements

Knowledge of the following courses:


Get ready to engage in astrophysics research! The universe is full of enigmatic objects and fantastic astrophysical phenomena. In the scientific arena we discuss how to observe, interpret, measure and simulate the astrophysical processes that govern these objects. In this course you learn how to formulate informative and critical questions that are essential for the progress of science. We will engage with specialists in the field and discuss the results from the cutting edge of astrophysics. Next, we contemplate how to make the subsequent steps to advance our knowledge on the subject.
The course will focus on a number of astrophysical topics, covering the breadth of the field. Focus will be on engaging with the experts in the field. Zooming in on specific questions requires making the shift from text book material to the astronomical literature. To enter discussions it will be to required to make quantitative estimates of e.g. energy, timescales, resolution.

The astrophysical topics could include:

  • Pulsars

  • (mega-)masers

  • Fast radio bursts

  • Galactic magnetic fields

  • Globular clusters

  • Supermassive black holes

  • Radio stars

  • Evolved stellar populations

  • Gamma ray bursts

  • White dwarfs, planetary nebulae

  • Gravitational lenses

  • HI from the epoch of re-ionisation

Course objectives

After this course, you are able to zoom in on a specific research topic and understand where to start contributing to cutting edge research. You have gained experience on understanding the current state of advances in a specific field. You will have appreciated the importance to make quantitative estimates relevant for specific astrophysical questions. You will have learned about the astrophysical processes in a number of exotic objects.

At the end of this course, you will have been trained in the following skills:

  • Preparing and engaging in a scientific discussion

  • Compiling quantitative scientific arguments

  • Preparing strategic arguments for future research


See Schedules bachelor Astronomy

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture series, each split between student prepared introduction and guest talks

Assessment method

  • Preparation of a specific topic (20%)

  • Essay on the developments in a specific topic (50%)

  • Test on the breadth of topics covered in the series (30%)

The final grade will be the combined grade of the three components, provided a minimal level is obtained for each component. The retake exam consists of an additional homework assignment.

Reading list



From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. An exemption is the fall semester for 1st year bachelor students, the student administration will enroll this group.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.
Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Lecturer: Prof.dr. H.J. van Langevelde