Astro 321

MW 1:30-2:50 AAC 123

First Meeting: 1/6

This course will have its focus on structure formation in cosmology.  I also expect that you are comfortable with programming in your language of choice.  

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

Peacock is a very, sometimes frustratingly, broad book and so for more detail on the various subjects the following references may be helpful

  • Weinberg: Gravitation and Cosmology (GR and believe it or not, distance measures)
  • Kolb & Turner: Early Universe (kinetic theory)
  • Liddle & Lyth: Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure (inflationary perturbation theory),
  • Dodelson: Modern Cosmology (CMB and large scale structure)
  • Padmanabhan:  Structure Formation in the Universe. (non-linear collapse)


    There will be weekly problem sets and a final project

    For a final project you may choose between 2 team effort (<5 people) projects or 1 individual effort:

    Team Effort:

        (a) Core of a Particle Mesh N-Body code.
        (b) Core of a Einstein-Boltzmann (linear theory) code.

    Individual Effort:

        (a) Core of a halo model (dark matter power spectrum) code.

    The preferred method of submission of the final project is to present it as a web page.  Last year's examples

    Problem Sets

    Problem Set 1: Due Jan 15
    Problem Set 2: Due Jan 22
    Problem Set 3: Due Jan 29
    Problem Set 4: Due Feb 5
    Problem Set 5: Due Feb 12
    Problem Set 6: Due Feb 19
    Problem Set 7: Due Feb 26
    Problem Set 8: Due Mar 5
    Problem Set 9 / Final Project 1: Due Mar 21
    Problem Set 10 / Final Project 2: Due Mar 21
    Code to generate spherical bessel functions by Arthur Kosowsky Fortran; C

    Rough Syllabus

    Week 1:

        Friedmann Robertson Walker (FRW) Cosmology: P-Ch-3 & 5
        Lecture Notes 1

    Week 2:

        Matter in the Universe: P-Ch-12
        Kinetic theory in an expanding universe: P-Ch-9
        Lecture Notes 2

    Week 3:

        Inhomogeneous fields and linear perturbation theory: P-Ch-15.1-15.6; P-Ch-16.1-16.3
        Lecture Notes 3

    Week 4:

        Inflationary Cosmology: P-Ch-11
        Lecture Notes 4

    Week 5:

        Cosmic Microwave Background: P-Ch-18
        Lecture Notes 5

    Week 6:

        Large Scale Structure  P-Ch-15.X
        Lecture Notes 6

    Week 7:

        Spherical collapse and mass functions:  P-Ch-15.7-8;  16.4; 17.2

    Week 8:

        Bias and the halo model:  P-Ch-15.7-8;  16.4; 17.2
        Lecture Notes 7