Modern cosmology is a fascinating and fast-developing field, with intense research activity fuelled by major discoveries made in the last decade. These have overturned our understanding of the Universe’s properties and established a new standard cosmological model that, however, poses challenging puzzles for fundamental physics, such as the nature of Dark Matter, the current acceleration of the Universe’s expansion and the occurrence of an inflationary stage in the first moments of the Universe. The course will draw upon a diverse range of core physics material as well as introducing new physics; it will not require specialist astronomical knowledge.
Pre-requisites: PHYS2001 AND PHYS2003 AND PHYS2006 AND PHYS2023 AND PHYS2024.
Aims and Objectives
Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
- Understand and use the Friedmann equations and Fluid equation
- Be able to explain why Einstein introduced the Cosmological constant and describe the current evidence for a non-zero value for this constant
- Be able to explain the main properties of the so called “ΛCDM” model
- Be able to relate the Cosmological principle to Hubble's Law
- Understand the physics of the early universe and of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis
- Understand the physical implications of the cosmological expansion
- Be able to identify the key steps that lead to the recognition of the expanding Universe
- Be able to discuss the physics responsible for the observed cosmic microwave background radiation
- Understand the motivations and the observational evidence for Inflation
- Be able to describe the physics of, and observational evidence for, the Big Bang model
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Be able to critically evaluate technical papers on cosmology
PART 1: COSMOLOGY
- Brief History of Cosmology
- Observational overview
- A Newtonian Cosmology?
- Elements of General Relativity (non examinable in the final examination paper)
- The geometry of the Universe
- Simple cosmological models
- The cosmological constant
- The age of the universe
- Observational parameters and the ΛCDM model
PART 2: BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE EARLY UNIVERSE
- The density of the universe and dark matter
- The cosmic microwave background
- The inflationary universe
- Structure Formation
Learning and Teaching
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||18|
|Completion of assessment task||2|
|Wider reading or practice||66|
|Total study time||150|
There will be 3 problem sheets handed out on a roughly bi-weekly basis. All problem sheets will contribute to the final mark.
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
An internal repeat is where you take all of your modules again, including any you passed. An external repeat is where you only re-take the modules you failed.
Repeat type: Internal & External