UST Cosmology lecture series

Course Overview

Lecturer: David Parkinson

This course will give an overview of the physics of the universe as a whole. It will start with a brief derivation of the FRW metric, and how it responds to the presence of matter and energy. It will go through the form of the expansion of the Universe, and the propagation of light and matter through it. It will also cover the physics of the early universe, the creation of the chemical elements during primordial nucleosynthesis, and the accelerated expansion during the period of cosmological inflation. It will end with a derivation of the formation of structure, and the creation of the relic radiation of the Big Bang, the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Course Syllabus

  1. Metric - Curved and flat geometries
  2. Cosmological expansion and redshift
  3. Hubble law - Distances and age
  4. Friedmann equation - curvature and density, dynamics of the Universe
  5. Thermal history of the universe - decoupling
  6. Neutrino heating, and the CMB
  7. Dark Matter as a thermal relic and Big bang nucleosynthesis
  8. Observational cosmology 1 - distances and abundances
  9. Density perturbations
  10. Free-streaming and silk damping
  11. Large-scale structure and CMB
  12. Problems with the standard cosmology - flatness, horizon and relic density
  13. Cosmological inflation with scalar fields
  14. Fluctuations in the scalars - scalar and tensor perturbations
  15. Observational cosmology 2 - power spectra and the CMB
  16. Final project/exam

Course textbooks