Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of Chicago

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Astro 321
WF 1:30-3:00 AAC 123
First Meeting: 1/5

This course will have its focus on the inhomogeneous universe.

I expect that you are comfortable with programming in your language of choice. Some rudimentary general relativity background would be helpful but not strictly necessary.

There is no required texbook for the course but here are a few suggestions:

In the syllabus below, I give a cross reference to Peacock's book for further reading.


There will be weekly problem sets (50%) and a final project (50%).

For a final project you may work in groups of 5 (or fewer) people on any of the following

You may also come up with your own comparable numerical project or be creative and develop a webApp or iApp. If you are truly computation averse see me for permission to do a reading project.

You will present your project to the class at the end of the quarter and submit the PDF of the presentation for linkage here. Extra credit if you make your code publically available.

Problem Sets

Final Project Preparation

Each project has a core set of things that I expect you to accomplish. I encourage you to develop your codes further in ways of your choosing to develop a more extensive toolbox.

N-body Group

Follow Andrey Kravtsov's Notes

Halo Model Group

Read Cooray & Sheth [Phys.Rept. 372 (2002) 1-129 e-Print: astro-ph/0206508] and construct the halo model nonlinear matter power spectrum out the 1 halo + 2 halo terms, halo bias, and the NFW profile. You may find these excersises helpful
Problem Set 1
Problem Set 2
Problem Set 3
Problem Set 4
but you do not need to turn these in.

MCMC Group

Code up a MCMC analysis of your favorite cosmological data set (e.g. UNION2 SN) and extract the posterior probability distributions of the cosmological parameters you include. Compare them with known results in the literature. You may find COSMOMC and Lewis and Bridle Phys.Rev. D66 (2002) 103511 e-Print: astro-ph/0205436 useful.

Final Project Presentations


Rough outline of the course:

Lecture Notes

Lecture notes will be posted as we go through the course: