Institute of Astronomy

Part II Introduction to Cosmology

Michaelmas Term, 24 Lectures  – Prof. M Pettini

1. Introductory Concepts [1]

  •  The Cosmological Principle
  •  Galaxies; Redshifts;  Universal Expansion
  •  Components of the Universe; The `Standard' Model of Particle Physics and Cosmology 

2. Newtonian and Relativistic Cosmologies [5]

  •  The Robertson-Walker Metric
  •   Friedmann Equations
  •   Different World Models
  •   Cosmological Redshifts; the Horizon; Angular Diameter and Luminosity Distances

3.  The Cosmological Constant [ 2]

  •   Galaxy Luminosity Function
  •   Hubble Diagram of Type Ia Supernovae; Derivation of Cosmological Parameters
  •   Dark Energy

4. The Early Universe [3]

  •   The Hot Big Bang; Thermal History: Major Milestones
  •    Primordial Nucleosynthesis
  •    Experimental Verification of BBN, Evidence for Dark Matter

5. The Cosmic Microwave Background [3]

  •   Recombination and Decoupling of Matter and Radiation
  •   Analysis of Temperature Anisotropies of the CMB; Cosmological Parameters
  •   Primary Fluctuations; Sachs-Wolfe Effect
  •   Secondary Fluctuations; Sunyaev-Zeld\'ovich Effect

6. The Intergalactic Medium [3]

  •  Quasar Absorption Line Spectroscopy; the Lyman alpha Forest
  •   Physical Properties of Ly α Clouds
  •   Column Density Distributions; Census of Baryons
  •   The Proximity Effect and the Metagalactic Ionising Background

7. Large Scale Structure in the Distribution of Galaxies [3]

  •   Primordial Fluctuations; the Transfer Function
  •   The Galaxy Correlation Function; Harrison-Zeldovich Spectrum of Fluctuations
  •   Galaxy Surveys; Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations; Cosmological Parameters from BAO

8. Dark Matter [3]

  •   Mass-to-Light Ratio
  •   Galaxy Rotation Curves, Dark Matter in Galaxy Clusters
  •   Gravitational Lensing, Strong and Weak
  •   Dark Matter Candidates

9. Measurements of the Hubble Parameter [1]


  1. Coles,  P. & Lucchin,  F. Cosmology – the Origin and Evolution of Structure (Wiley)
  2. Liddle, A. An Introduction to Modern Cosmology (Wiley)
  3. Ryden, B. An Introduction to Cosmology (Pearson)
  4. Schneider, P. Extragalactic Astronomy and Cosmology (Springer)
  5. Serjeant, S. Observational Cosmology (Cambridge University Press)


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