When we observe the universe as a whole, galaxies appear as the primary constituent of large-scale structure. Stars and their planetary systems are sub-structures of galaxies which actually play no role in explaining the structure and evolution of the universe. Galaxies are formed in a setting where space and time, and the galaxies themselves, are woven according to the principles of general relativity. The origin of structure formation has been one of the main challenges for astrophysicists and cosmologists in the second half of the 20th century. Recent developments in observational cosmology, only possible due to the joint efforts of astrophysicists and cosmologists, brought cosmology closer to an observational science.
In this course, several aspects of these exciting developments are covered and an introduction to the physics involved is provided. The course begins with a `physics first' approach to general relativity with an introduction to the structure of space-time. Relevant astrophysical and cosmological examples on the space-time structure and the development of structure in the universe are then studied. The course concludes with an overview of some challenging mysteries of astrophysics and cosmology including dark matter, cosmic rays and gamma-ray bursts, and lastly, the most puzzling of them all, the misnamed ‘dark energy’.
After completing this course students are able to:
- explain how general relativity answers the long quest for a universal standard of inertial reference frame,
- describe the geometrical Einsteinian view of gravity and explain its conceptual difference from the Newtonian view;
- assess the Schwarzchild metric and determine distances along geodesics, gravitational redshifts, and distinguish intrinsic from coordinate singularities;
- review the expansion and cooling of the evolution of the universe, covering phase transitions, decoupling of particles, and fields from thermal equilibrium, distinguishing radiation and matter dominated epochs and synthesis of light elements, among others,
- indicate the general properties that a cosmological model must predict in order to account for current observations (homogeneity and isotropy of the universe at large-scales), and recall possible solutions for the fulfillment of these requirements;
- discuss the link between the temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background and the origin of large-scale structure in the universe and galaxy formation,
- identify the existence of many open mysteries, old and new, that continue to challenge astrophysicists and cosmologists and tell how these communities are attempting to unravel them.
The course consists of interactive lectures with question and discussion periods. The students are given weekly assignments/problems on the subject presented previously in the lecture. Emphasis is given to learning by solving problems. The students also deliver group oral presentations of 30 minutes. Each student should participate in at least two presentations. The oral presentations are more frequent in the last third of the course with students investigating the status of exciting active areas of research.
|Je moet voldoen aan de volgende eisen|
- Alle onderstaande cursussen zijn behaald
- Classical Electrodynamics (UCSCIPHY21)
- Astrophysics & Cosmology (UCSCIPHY23)
|Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology, Ta-Pei Cheng, Oxford U.P. ISBN 0-19-852956-2|
|An introduction to modern cosmology (2nd edition), A. Liddle, 2003, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0470848357|
|assignments part 1|
|assignments part 2|