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MPhys Physics with Astrophysics / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
|Unit level||Level 4|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Early Universe (M)
|Unit title||Unit code||Requirement type||Description|
Development of the cosmological model, its problems and their possible resolution within the framework of relativistic gravity and modern particle physics.
On completion successful students will be able to:
1. formulate the linear theory of structure formation in the CDM model, obtain solutions in simple model cases of a one component universe.
2. explain the problems of big bang cosmology and the way to solve them in inflationary theory.
3. calculate basic cosmological parameters in inflationary slow roll models.
4. indicate the relations of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation and cosmological parameters.
5. discuss the evidence for an accelerating universe and the possible role of dark energy.
1. Standard model of cosmology: Review
Review of FRW universe; Natural units; Distance measures in FRW and conformal time; Basic observational facts; Neutrino decoupling and the radiation density; A brief history of time.
2. Structure formation
Overview of structure formation; Relativistic perturbation theory; Synchronous and Conformal Newtonian gauges; Evolution of vector and tensor perturbations; Scalar perturbations in one component universe; Adiabatic and isocurvature perturbations; Power spectra; Suppression of power on small scales due to baryons and neutrinos.
3. Cosmic microwave background
Basic features of the angular power spectrum; Recombination and photon decoupling; Density and velocity fluctuations; Sachs-Wolfe effects.
Horizon and Flatness puzzles, primordial perturbations; Definition of inflation and its solution of the horizon and flatness puzzles; Potential formulation and slow roll dynamics; reheating and the transition to radiation domination; Klein-Gordon field as a simple worked example; Fluctuations generated during inflation; Model zoo: large field, small field and hybrid models; Connecting observations with theory; Preheating and the transition to radiation domination.
Will be available on students’ individual written solutions to examples sheets, model answers will be issued. Several review sessions will be suggested during the semester.
Gorbunov D.S. & Rubakov V.A. Introduction to the Theory of the Early Universe: Cosmological Perturbations and Inflationary Theory, (World Scientific, 2011)
Mukhanov, V.F. Physical Foundations of Cosmology, (CUP, 2005)
Weinberg, S. Cosmology (OUP)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Assessment written exam||1.5|
|Independent study hours|
|Jeffrey Forshaw||Unit coordinator|