Current Topics:
Cosmic Microwave Background

Astro 280

MTh 3:00-4:20 AAC 123

Office Hours: After Class; First Meeting: 3/25


This course will introduce topics of current interest in Cosmic Microwave Background research: acoustic peaks in the primary anisotropy power spectrum, CMB polarization, origin and evolution of large-scale structure in the universe, gravitational lensing and Sunyaev-Zel'dovich secondary anisotropies.

Reading Material

Cosmic Microwave Background : an Annual Reviews by myself and S. Dodelson

On line CMB tutorials

Requirements (Revised)

Problem sets.  This is 60% of your grade
Final projects:     Oral Component: in class 25 min. presentations and
                        Written component: a write up of the presentation with references OR a web page with graphics.  This is 40% of your grade.
                        Decide on your topic by May 9.

Problem Sets

Problem Set 1 Due April 4.
Problem Set 2 Due April 11.
Problem Set 3 Due April 18.
Helper reference
Problem Set 4 Due April 25.
Problem Set 5 Due May 3.
Problem Set 6 Due May 9.
Problem Set 7 Due May 16. Note: for the extra credit the set of models has been changed to be Omega_c h2=0.23 to put the minimum in range.
Revised Syllabus

Overview lectures will be in laptop-colloquium style mode.  Full PDF files are available below; movies require Acrobat 5 and a Quicktime plug in, available for Mac and Windows (sorry, I don't know of a Linux solution).
Blackboard discussions will be more free-form.
On Web days, I will try to use the internet in real time.

Week 1: Mar 25, 28

    Overview: CDM/Inflationary paradigm of structure formation

Week 2: Apr 1, Apr 4

    Blackboard: Cosmology review 

Week 3: Apr 8, Apr 11

    Blackboard: power spectra
    Overview: acoustic peaks.

Week 4: Apr 15, Apr 18

    Blackboard: recombination, conservation laws

Week 5: Apr 22, Apr 25

    Blackboard: Acoustic oscillations w/o gravity

Week 7: Apr 29, May 2

   Blackboard: inflationary origin of fluctuations
   Blackboard: Acoustic oscillations with gravity
Week 8: May 6, May 9

    Blackboard: Driven and damped acoustic oscillations
    Web: Computation of anisotropies (CMBfast), data analysis pipeline.
Week 9: May 13, May 16

    Overview: CMB polarization
    Overview: Secondary Anisotropies


Week 10: May 20, May 23

   Blackboard: secondaries and the future
   Web: Final Project presentations

Week 11: May 30?

    Web: Final Project presentations

Final Project Topics


    Thermalization (Particle constraints)
    Inflationary models
    Dark energy

Specific aspects:

    Gravitational Waves
    Galaxy clusters

Theoretical Exotica:

    Large extra dimensions
    Time varying fine structure constant
    Parity violation


    Data analysis techniques (map making, power spectrum estimation)
    CMB satellite missions (MAP & Planck)
    CMB interferometry (DASI, CBI, etc...)

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