The CMB and Cosmology

Astro 448


This course will have a heavy emphasis on the theory of cosmic microwave background anisotropies.

Its goal is to provide the student with a sufficient knowledge of their calculation in the standard cosmological model that they will be able to make custom modifications to the calculations with the help of CMBfast.

I will be using Scott Dodelson's book as a reference source. Copies can be printed from this pdf and additional ones will be made available to registered students.


Requirements for this course are the 300 level cosmology series in the Astronomy and Astrophysics department (or suitable graduate level introduction to cosmology).

There will be approximately 1 problem per lecture as homework with perhaps a longer final problem set or optional oral presentation (to be decided).


M: 1:30-3:00
W: 1:30-3:00

I will be away Jan 8 and Jan 10.  I will try to reschedule these lectures to accomodate everyone's schedules.


The syllabus is divided into pairs of lectures labelled weeks.  The actual correspondence to given days will vary and topics in the 9th and 10th weeks may fall off the edge of the course.

Week 1

1.1  Overview

1.2  FRW Cosmology

Week 2

2.1  Thermal History

2.2  Linear Perturbation Theory: General Aspects

Week 3

3.1  Linear Perturbation Theory: Specifics

3.2  Initial Conditions & Inflation

Week 4

4.1  Acoustic Oscillations: Kinematic Effects

4.2  Acoustic Oscillations: Dynamical Effects

Week 5

5.1  The Boltzmann Equation: Normal Modes

5.2  The Boltzmann Equation: Scattering

Week 6

6.1  The Boltzmann Equation: Solutions

6.2  Polarization

Week 7

7.1  Parameter Estimation

7.2  Relation to Large Scale Structure

Week 8

8.1  Secondary Anisotropies: General Structure

8.2  Secondary Gravitational Effects

Week 9

9.1  Secondary Scattering Effects

9.2  Thermal SZ Effect

Week 10

10.1  Non-Gaussianity

10.2  Review and Data Update



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