Since the end of the 1990s, cosmology has experienced one of the most impressive advances among all scientific disciplines. This happened mainly because of astonishing progress in the precision and accuracy of astronomical and cosmological observations resulting in a breathtaking sequence of major scientific discoveries as witnessed by two Nobel Prizes in Physics awarded in this period for discoveries in cosmology: in 2006 to G.F.Smoot and J.C.Mather for the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation anisotropy and in 2011 to S.Perlmutter, B.S.Schmidt and A.G.Riess for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae.
It is now established that the universe experienced an early hot stage where particle physics greatly influenced the properties of the universe and its evolution: this is the early universe stage. This allows to use the universe as a special laboratory of particle physics, double checking results that we found in ground laboratories but even more importantly probing new physics, i.e., physics beyond the Standard Model. Even more excitingly we arrived to the conclusion that today cosmological observations can be only explained extending the Standard Model and, therefore, cosmology represents today one of the greats motivations for beyond the standard model physics. In the module established results, such as recombination and big bang nucleosynthesis, will be discussed together with the solutions to these challenging cosmological puzzles that require new physics.
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Understand the main processes during recombination and how these lead to the formation of CMB with the properties we observe
- Understand the physics of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis
- Understand how kinetic theory is applied in the early universe
- Be able to discuss main features of Friedmann cosmology.
- Understand the motivations for inflation and how this solves horizon and flatness problems
- Understanding interplay of cosmological constant and standard fluids in Lemaitre cosmological models
- Be able to relate matter antimatter asymmetry of the universe to particle physics with baryogenesis models
- Calculate the number of radiation degrees of freedom in the Standard Model
- Understand main models of Dark Matter
- Understand the main physical processes that lad to the formation of perturbations during inflation and how these evolve forming the large scale structure of the universe we observe
- Understand how particle physics influence the properties of radiation dominated regime
- Understand key features in models of dark energy
- Friedmann Cosmology
- Lemaitre cosmological models and the Lambda-CDM model
- Recombination and Cosmic Microwave Background radiation
- The radiation dominated regime
- Thermodynamics of the expanding universe
- Neutrino decoupling and electron-positron annihilations
- Big Bang Nucleosynthesis
- Origin of perturbations and structure formation
- Kinetic theory in the early universe
- Models of Dark Matter
- Dark Energy
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
The module will be based on lectures in class with deviation of main results on black board with auxiliary slides to show plots, pictures , summarise results. There will be 3 hours of lectures per week for a total of 36 hours.
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||18|
|Completion of assessment task||2|
|Wider reading or practice||66|
|Total study time||152|
There will be 11 problem sheets handed out on weekly basis. Although these do not count towards the final mark, they should provide useful feedback to students since detailed model answers will be posted the subsequent week. Some of the problems will be discussed in class. Notice also that a test will take place during the second hour of week 9. Though it will not contribute to the final mark, it will be marked. Results will be made available in week 11 and will provide a useful individual feedback before the final exam.
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