Institute of Astronomy

Part II Introduction to Cosmology

Introduction to Cosmology 

Lent Term, 24 Lectures – Professor G. Efstathiou 

  1. Is Cosmology Science?: Causal structure of space-time: our past light cone. Technology horizon, particle horizon and the `size' of the Universe. Importance of symmetry principles in cosmology. Big problems in cosmology. [1] 

  1. The Background Cosmology: Symmetric spaces. The Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric. Energy Momentum Tensor for Perfect Fluid. Friedman equations and geometry of the Universe. Cosmological redshift. Newtonian cosmology. Cosmological constant. de-Sitter space and time-slicing. Horizons. Distances and age of the Universe.[6] 

  1. Thermal History: The cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. Thermal equilibrium: bosons and fermions. Particle content at early times. Neutrinos and neutrino decoupling. Big-bang nucleosynthesis. Relic particles. Dark matter. Baryon asymmetry. Recombination. [5] 

  1. Fluctuations: Newtonian perturbation theory. Fluctuations in the CMB – Silk Damping. Inflation and the origin of fluctuations. Gravitational waves and tests of inflation. What can we learn from the CMB? The LCDM model. The multiverse. Unanswered questions. [5] 

  1. Observational Probes: Standard candles – Type 1a supernovae. Standard ruler – Baryon Acoustic Oscillations. Inverse distance ladder and H0. Forward distance ladder and H0. Gravitational lensing. Redshift space distortions. Is LCDM consistent with observations? [4] 

  1. Non-Linear Evolution of Structure: Spherical collapse model. The mass function. Galaxy formation. [4] 

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