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MPhys Physics / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||Department of Physics & Astronomy|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
|Quantum Physics and Relativity||PHYS10121||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
|Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology||PHYS10191||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
|Vibrations & Waves||PHYS10302||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
|Properties of Matter||PHYS10352||Pre-Requisite||Compulsory|
1. To provide a broad overview of modern physical cosmology.
2. To make clear the connections between basic physical ideas and modern cosmology.
This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 21/22 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact. Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates
On completion of the course, students should be able to:
1. Explain the concepts of the expansion and curvature of space.
2. Summarize the main evidence in favour of the Big Bang, inflation, dark matter and dark energy.
3. Relate the density of the universe to its rate of expansion and understand how this relation is modified by a cosmological constant.
4. Solve for the scale factor a(t) in different epochs of the Universe’s history.
5. Make quantative calculations of physical processes in the early universe.
6. Relate observed to physical properties of distant objects given the luminosity and angular size distances.
7. Describe the main events of the universe's history and locate them approximately in time and redshift.
1. Basic observations of the Universe (6 lectures)
1.1 What is cosmology?
1.2 Olber’s paradox
1.3 Expansion and acceleration of the Universe
1.4 Cosmic Microwave Background
1.5 Large-scale structure
1.6 Dark matter in galaxies and clusters of galaxies
2. FRW Universe Model (8 lectures)
2.1 Review of Newtonian gravity
2.2 Geometry of the spacetime
2.3 Dynamical equations
2.4 Solutions for the scale factor
2.5 Distances measures in the FRW Universe
2.6 Cosmological puzzles and inflation
3. Thermal History of the Universe (6 lectures)
3.1 Review of statistical mechanics and natural units
3.2 Cosmological freeze-out
3.4 Neutrino decoupling – relativistic freeze-out
3.5 WIMP decoupling – non-relativistic freeze-out
3.8 Brief history of time!
4. Precision Cosmology (2 lectures)
4.1 Standard model of cosmology
4.2 Measurement of parameters using the CMB & P(k)
4.3 Beyond the standard model : curvature, dark energy & massive neutrinos
Feedback will be offered by examples class tutors based on examples sheets, and model answers will be issued.
Liddle, A., An Introduction to Modern Cosmology 2nd ed. (Wiley)
Ryden, B., Introduction to Cosmology (Addison Wesley)
Harrison, E., Cosmology: the Science of the Universe, 2nd ed. (CUP)
Hawley, J.F and Holcomb, K.A., Foundations of Modern Cosmology (Oxford)
Peacock, J.A., Cosmological Physics, (CUP)
Serjeant, S., Observational Cosmology (CUP)
Weinberg, S., The First Three Minutes, Updated ed. (Basic Books)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||1.5|
|Independent study hours|
|Scott Kay||Unit coordinator|