N-body Groups: Zhaoming Ma
Special thanks to Andrey Kravtsov for defining the project methods and goals. Daisuke Nagai
Eduardo Rozo
Iro Tasitsiomi
CMB-Boltzmann Groups: Jennifer Chen
Eugene Lim

Astro 321

MW 1:30-2:50 AAC 107

First Meeting: 1/7


The main textbook for this course is Peacock: Cosmological Physics, Cambridge 1999 and is generally available in any good book store.

Other books that will be good reference for various portions of the course are Liddle & Lyth: Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure and Padmanabhan:  Structure Formation in the Universe as well as the harder to find Coles & Luchin: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structures.


I will assume that you have taken Ast 304 or are otherwise comfortable with (or don't care about!) extragalactic and low-z cosmological observations (distance ladder, age, light element abundance determinations...).  Aside from brief reviews from the relevant chapters of Peacock, this course will have its focus on structure formation in cosmology.  I also expect that you are comfortable with programming.  Several problem sets (including the final) will involve coding up some standard tools in cosmology which should serve you well if you decide to continue on into research.


There will be weekly problem sets that will taper off toward the end so that you have time to do the final project.  Working in teams of no more than 5, you will build from scratch one of two codes: (a) a Boltzmann code for CMB power spectrum predictions; (b) a Particle-Mesh N-body code for simulating Large-Scale Structure.  I am not expecting either to be complete research level codes, but your code must produce certain baseline results: (a) For CMB power spectra, solve the tight coupling fluid equations to recombination and perform a one-to-one projection of spatial to angular fluctuations to obtain a rudimentary power spectrum - explore its dependence on a few key cosmological parameters. (b) Test your PM code with a simple sine-wave initial condition and show that it reproduces the Zel'dovich approximation before crossing. For extra credit, make your code more realistic by including in (a) Recombination and/or higher order moments, spherical-bessel projection. (b) Cosmological initial conditions, dark energy. The goal is to write the baseline code in a "modern" way so that it well suited to these upgrades either within or outside the scope of the class.

Problem Sets

Problem Set 1 Due Jan 16

Problem Set 2 Due Jan 23

Problem Set 3 Due Jan 30: caveat - beginning of a series of inter dependent coding exercises.

Problem Set 4 Due Feb 6

Problem Set 5 Due Feb 13

Problem Set 6 Due Feb 20; Last required problem set.

Problem Set 7 Mass function and Bias

Boltzmann Helper Problem Sets

Runge Kutta integration Optional

Spline interpolation Optional

Initial conditions Optional

Evolution of a k-mode Optional; but you should consider the 3 code checks themselves as part of the project you will turn in.

Additional Reading

Relativistic Boltzmann Eqn.: from my own graduate thesis

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

Guest lecture on PM N-body codes by Andrey Kravtsov: Feb 20


Week 1:

    The Isotropic Universe: P-Ch-3 & 5

Week 2:

    Matter in the Universe: P-Ch-12
    Hot Big-Bang: P-Ch-9

Week 3:

    Cosmological density fields: P-Ch-16.1-16.3

Week 4:

    Linear Perturbation Theory: P-Ch-15.1-15.6

Week 5:

    Inflationary Cosmology: P-Ch-11

Week 6:

    Cosmic Microwave Background: P-Ch-18

Week 7:

    Non-Linear Regime:  P-Ch-15.7-8;  16.4; 17.2

Week 8-9:

    Cosmological Probes: P-Ch-15.3, 16.5-8; 12.2; 17.3-5; 4
    (As much as time allows)

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