Institute of Astronomy

Part II Physical Cosmology

Michaelmas Term, 24 Lectures  – Dr I R Parry

The course is intended to provide a sound physical foundation to modern cosmology and the formation and evolution of the Universe. The Lecturer will introduce the principles of geometrical and astrophysical cosmology and will emphasise the direct confrontation of observational data with contemporary theories.

Standard cosmological model.Cosmological principle, role of galaxies and microwave background in the standard model, Hubble expansion, brief introduction to modern cosmology. [3]

Relativistic cosmology.Curvature, Robertson-Walker metric, Friedmann models and cosmological parameters including Λ, redshift, particle horizon. [5]

Observational tests.Olbers' paradox, source counts, Hubble constant and deceleration, luminosity and angular diameter vs. redshift, angular power spectra. [2]

Thermal history.Hot big bang, thermodynamics of the early Universe, cosmic inflation, primordial nucleosynthesis, relic neutrinos, matter and radiation dominated-eras, recombination and the microwave background spectrum. [6]

Growth of structure.Gravitational instability theory, linear and non-linear (spherical) collapse, effect of Λ on late-time growth of structure, CMB anisotropies, variants of dark matter. [4]

Observational probes of structure.Galaxy surveys and weak gravitational lensing, primeval galaxies, quasars and the intergalactic medium, WMAP, the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect, baryonic acoustic oscillations. [3]

Recent developments and controversies[1]


Coles, P. & Lucchin, F. Cosmology, The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure (Wiley) 2nd Edition (2002).

Liddle, A. An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, (Wiley) 2nd edition 2003.
Peebles, P.J.E. Principles of Physical Cosmology (Princeton) 1993.
Peacock, J.A. Cosmological Physics (CUP) 1998.
Kolb, E.W. & Turner, M.S. Early Universe (Addison-Wesley) 1994.

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