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Astrophysical Recipes

The art of AMUSE
Simon Portegies Zwart, Professor Steve McMillan


Computational astrophysics is a new and quickly-growing discipline. This book outlines the fundamentals for computational astrophysics, focusing on the use of the Astronomical Multipurpose Software Environment (AMUSE), which is a general-purpose simulation environment in astrophysics written in Python. AMUSE allows you to combine existing solvers to build new applications that can be combined again to study gradually more complex situations. This enables the growth of multi-physics and multi-scale application software in a hierarchical fashion, testing each intermediate step, as the complexity of the software continues to increase. All examples in the book are associated with codes that run on a simple laptop or workstation. All figures are reproducible with a simple script and all scripts are available online to be downloaded and run accordingly.

About Editors

Simon Portegies Zwart is currently a professor of numerical star dynamics at Leiden University, and he has research interests in computational gravitational dynamics, stellar and binary evolution and related topics. His ongoing work has been the development and building of the Astronomical Multipurpose Software Environment (AMUSE). He has published more than 300 papers and received numerous citations in relevant works.

Steve McMillan is currently the head of the department of physics at Drexel University and his research interests lie in stellar dynamics and computations of stellar systems.

Both authors have dedicated extensive amounts of time to this book and continue to work on AMUSE as an ongoing project.

Table of Contents


Hardback ISBN: 9780750313216

Ebook ISBN: 9780750313209

DOI: 10.1088/978-0-7503-1320-9

Publisher: Institute of Physics Publishing

Series: AAS-IOP Astronomy


This attractive and useful book is an introduction to the amuse software which provides a framework for linking together existing simulation codes in the astrophysical domains of gravitational dynamics, stellar evolution, hydrodynamics, and radiative transfer. The book is well written and pleasant to read (even amusing!). The many full-colour plots showing output-simulation results add to the attractiveness of the book.

Astronomical software is not always well documented and the authors are to be commended for investing the time required to create this book. The type of documentation given here (what the code is good for, how to do the simplest thing, an example of how to do something complicated, where to get more information, where the pitfalls are) is the type of documentation that the user really needs. 

Lorne Whiteway 2020 The Observatory Magazine

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