Astronomy 627: COSMOLOGY

Bob Joseph -- Spring 2002

Textbook: M. S. Longair, Galaxy Formation, Springer, 1998.

Useful references:

J. E. Gunn, M. S. Longair, M. J. Rees, Observational Cosmology, Saas-Fee Lectures, 1978.
E. W. Kolb & M. S. Turner, The Early Universe, Addison-Wesley, 1990.
J. V. Narlikar, Introduction to Cosmology, Cambridge Univ Press, 2002.
J. D. North, The Measure of the Universe, Dover paperback reprint 1990 of the original 1965 edition from Oxford Univ Press.
J. A. Peacock, Cosmological Physics, Cambridge Univ Press, 1999.
P. J. E. Peebles, Physical Cosmology, Princeton Univ Press, 1971.
P. J. E. Peebles, The Large-Scale Structure of the Universe, Princeton Univ Press, 1980.
P. J. E. Peebles, Principles of Physical Cosmology, Princeton Univ Press, 1993.
M. Rowan-Robinson, Cosmology, 3rd edn., Oxford Univ Press, 1996.
There are several good articles in the current issue of Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 39, 2001, as well as in past issues.  Some which are particularly relevant include:
S. E. Carroll, W. H. Press, & E. L. Turner, 1992. "The Cosmological Constant," Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys., 30, 499.
J. V. Narlikar & T. Padmanabhan, "Standard Cosmology and Alternatives: A Critical Appraisal," Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys., 39, 211.
J. V. Narlikar & T. Padmanabhan, "Inflation for Astronomers," Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys., 29, 325.
M. White, D. Scott, & J. Silk, "Anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background," Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys., 32, 319.

Course grading scheme.

There will be one homework a week, and these will count for about 60% of the total mark.  There will be one mid-term and one final exam, and each will count 20% of the total mark.

Style of the course

My major aim in the course is that students understand the material we cover.  How much material is covered and to what depth is secondary to a secure level of comprehension. This is a course in astrophysical cosmology in the sense that we are interested in the physics that takes place in the large-scale Universe, and we are not restricting merely to development of the classical world models.  This is one of the most exciting subjects in natural science, a study in which we investigate some of the most profound questions one can ask in physical science.  It is a subject in which the physics of the very small, particle physics at >1015 GeV, is intimately connected with the physics of the largest scales in the Universe.  However, we will not develop GR or quantum field theory but we will attempt to give a physical sense of where ideas from these subjects impinge on cosmology.  I hope to have organized a course which provides a fundamental understanding of cosmological issues for working astronomers.
 Course Outline

Introduction and historical review

1 The observational context

The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)
Hubble expansion
Dark matter
Clustering properties of galaxies and large-scale structure
Peculiar velocities and deviations from isotropic Hubble flow
Light element abundances

2 The theory of gravitation

Difficulties with Newtonian gravitation
Mach's Principle
Isotropic curved spaces
Review of Special relativity, 4-vectors, covariant formulation of electrodynamics
The fundamental assumptions of General Relativity (GR)
Outline of the program of GR
The Einstein field equations

3 The "standard" cosmological models

Cosmological "Principles"
The Robertson-Walker metric
Measurements of distances, luminosities, angular sizes, etc. in the cosmological context
The Friedman models of classical cosmology
Observational tests of the Friedman models
The Anthropic Principle and Dirac's large numbers

4 Thermal history of the Universe.

Radiation-dominated expansion
The epoch of "recombination"
Fluctuations in the surface of last scattering

5 Big-Bang Nucleosynthesis

Nuclear statistical equilibrium in the early Universe
Synthesis of the light elements
Measurements of primordial light element abundances
Baryon and lepton asymmetry in the early Universe

 6 Inflationary cosmology

Puzzles of expansion, flatness, horizon
Equation of state for inflation
Inflation scenario
Fluctuation spectrum emerging from the inflationary epoch
Critique of inflationary models

7 Galaxy formation

Jeans' instability
Growth of density perturbations in Friedman models
Dissipation processes
Adiabatic and isothermal fluctuations in baryonic matter
Growth of fluctuations and damping processes in non-baryonic matter
Hot dark matter models
Cold dark matter models
Comparison of measured clustering spectra with model predictions
Peculiar velocity fields

8 The Post-Recombination Universe

8a Fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

Gravitational, adiabatic, and Doppler perturbations
Multipole expansion of temperature fluctuations
Interpretation of angular structure in the CMBR
Re-heating of the intergalactic gas
Sunyaev-Zeldovich Effect
Observations of CMBR anisotropies

8b Evolution of galaxies

Non-linear collapse of density perturbations
Press-Schechter description of hierarchical clustering
Source counts for various classes of galaxies
Background radiation due to various classes of galaxies

8c Evolution of star formation rates and element abundances

Lyman-alpha clouds
Counts of star-forming galaxies out to large redshifts
Cosmic chemical evolution

Joshua E. Barnes (
Last modified: April 23, 2002