Proposal for a One-Year Graduate Cosmology Sequence

We are proposing a two-semester sequence covering modern observational and theoretical cosmology (and cosmogony), designed to provide a sophisticated survey dealing with the production of particles and elements in the Big Bang, the cosmological production and growth of mass perturbations, dark matter and energy, cosmological parameters, the intergalactic medium, heating and reionization, and astronomical sources as cosmological probes and as products of structure formation in cosmology. The course develops succintly the required tools in general relativity, statistical mechanics, field theory and observational techniques so as to limit the number of required prerequisites. One year of quantum mechanics and one year of classical mechanics are required. A course in introductory astronomy or astrophysics is strongly recommended. Mathematics includes integral calculus, tensors, some differential equations and special functions (gamma functions, spherical harmonics, elliptical integrals, etc.)

This sequence will serve as an elective in the astronomy graduate sequence. The current Astro G6005 partially satisfies the physics departments graduate level phenomenology requirement. We propose sequencing the topics into primarily observational topics during one semester and theoretical topics during the other in order to make the additional semester apply to the physics department theory elective. Ideally, perhaps, this course should be shared between Astronomy and Physics, with a theorist from one department and an observer from the other; one might imagine Crotts and Hui (or his replacement), or Haiman and Miller. The two semesters are best taught in temporal order, but could be interrupted by summer or one semester. We envision splitting the semesters roughly as follows, with the first semester dealing with the derivation of the Friedmann equations from General Relativity, the nearby universe up through redshifts of a few, including galaxy evolution, AGN, and quasar absorption lines, terminating in a discussion of large scale structure including development of structure formation in the linear regime, with mention of the CMB in terms of observational constraints. The second semester would briefly review these topics, and deal with non-linear growth of structure, appearance of the first objects, reionization, the "dark ages", recombination in detail, Big Bang entropy and dark matter production, BB nucleosynthesis, electroweak decoupling (and spontaneous symmetry breaking), baryogenesis, Grand Unified theories, inflation, and the quantum gravitational epoch. Below is the proposed syllabus.

- Arlin and Zoltan


The Universe is much bigger than it was 25 years ago; suddenly there is much more room for new questions about the physical nature of the Cosmos. More importantly, some of these questions are being answered. This is due in part to major advances in the technology of astronomical observation, but due as well to new cross-fertilization between astrophysics and particle physics. In addition, there are many clever ideas that have cropped up recently due to neither effect; maybe more people are simply more excited about cosmology these days.

The upshot of all these recent developments is that no textbook exists that covers the whole field. John Peacock's Cosmological Physics (1998) or Thanu Padmanabhan's Galaxies and Cosmology (2002) do a good job of covering cosmological theory, and a satisfactory treatment of the observational side. In truth, much of the material is too recent to be found in any textbook. Much material will only be covered in the lecture notes (photocopies of the lecture viewgraphs).

To accomodate the more recent material, about 10% of the course will consist of a "journal club" where members of the class report (for about 20 minutes at a time) on papers that interest them. These are selected from the list at the back of this course description (or choose your own! - consult with the professor first). Depending on class size, each student will present one or two of these during the semester. The professor will lecture the bulk of the remaining time (expect some guest lecturers for some of special topics); there will be a final which counts for 50% of the course grade, and a short midterm quiz. A few problem sets will also be assigned. Attendance is important!

Course Outline


Cosmological Physics John A. Peacock 1998 (Cambridge Univ. Press; Cambridge), ISBN 0521422701 (paperback - $40 at Barnes and Noble); chapters on general relativity, isotropic universe, gravitational lensing, age and distance scales, hot big bang, matter in the Universe, galaxies and their evolution, active galaxies, structure formation, cosmological density fields, galaxy formation, cosmic background fluctuations, quantum mechanics, quantum fields, inflationary cosmology

Galaxies and Cosmology (Theoretical Astrophysics, Volume III) Thanu Padmanabhan 2002 (Cambridge Univ. Press; Cambridge), ISBN 0521566304 (paperback - $52 at Barnes and Noble)

REQUIRED ARTICLES (To Be Distributed):

R.D. Blandford, R. Narayan 1993, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrop., 30, 311. "Cosmological Applications of Gravitational Lenses"

G.H. Jacoby, D. Branch, R. Ciardullo, R.L. Davies, W.E. Harris, M.J. Pierce, C.J. Pritchet, J.L. Tonry, D.L. Welch 1992, Proc. Astron. Soc. Pac., 104, 570. "A Critical Review of Selected Techniques for Measuring Extragalactic Distances"

Carroll, S.M., Press, W.H., Turner, E.L. 1992, Ann. Rev. Astron. & Astrop., 30, 499. "The Cosmological Constant"

BACKUP TEXTS (On Reserve):

Gravitation and Cosmology: Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity Steven Weinberg 1972 (Wiley: New York)

The Early Universe Edward W. Kolb & Michael Turner 1990 (Addison-Wesley: Redwood City, CA), chapters on Robertson-Walker Metric, Standard Cosmology, Big Bang Nucleosynthesis, Thermodynamics, Baryogenesis, Phase Transition, Inflation, Structure Formation, Planck Epoch, Appendix B

Principles of Physical Cosmology P.J.E. Peebles 1993 (Princeton U. Press: Princeton), sections on Expanding Universe; Thermal Cosmic Background Radiation; Walls, Strings, Monopoles, and Textures; Dark Matter; Young Galaxies and Intergalactic Medium; Galaxy Formation

The Early Universe: Reprints Edward W. Kolb & Michael Turner 1988 (Addison- Wesley: Redwood City, CA)

Large-Scale Structure of the Universe P. J. E. Peebles 1980 (Princeton U. Press: Princeton)


D.N. Schramm: "The First Three Minutes: 1990 Version" and P. J. E. Peebles "General Introduction" in *After* the First Three Minutes eds. Holt, Bennett & Trimble 1990 (Amer. Inst. Physics: New York)

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle John Barrow & Frank Tipler 1986 (Oxford U: New York)

Gravitation Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne & John A. Wheeler 1973 (Freeman: San Francisco)

Plus: the remaining chapters of Kolb & Turner 1990 and Peebles 1993


Man Discovers the Galaxies R. Berendzen, R. Hart & D. Seely 1976 (Science History Publishers: New York)

Darkness at Night: A Riddle of the Cosmos Edward Harrison 1987 (Harvard U: Cambridge)

The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe Steven Weinberg 1982 (Basic Books: New York)

The Fifth Essence: A Search for Dark Matter in the Universe Lawrence Krauss 1990 (Basic Books: New York)

REFERENCES FOR DISCUSSION: (to be distributed later...)