# Astronomy 340: Fall 2008

## "Origin of the Universe"

*
The course is an introduction to modern Cosmology intended primarily
for non-science majors. We will study the progression of our knowledge
about the origin and evolution of the universe through history, with
particular emphasis on modern cosmological results. Topics include:
early cosmological models, geocentric vs. heliocentric theory,
curvature of space, Hubble's Law, Big Bang Theory, microwave
background radiation, evolution of stars and galaxies, dark matter,
active galaxies, quasars and the future of the universe. Modern
Cosmology uses the laws of Physics to construct models of the universe
that describe how it evolved from simple initial conditions. The
current cosmological paradigm has been quite successful at explaining
many of the amazing aspects of the Universe around us. In order to do
so, however, cosmologists introduced new concepts such as ``dark
matter'' and ``dark energy''. What physics are behind these concepts,
and whether such hypotheses will stand the test of time, is the
subject of much current research.
*

#### Course Prerequisite

The course is intended for non-science majors and assumes high-school-level algebra, and either ASTR 100 or 101 as a prerequisite. However, expect the homework and exams to be challenging if you have little practice or you are rusty at problem solving. See also the official UMD info on this course.

#### Schedule

Instructor: Massimo Ricotti Class: room CSS 2400 Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00am to 12:15pm First class: Tu Sept 2 Last class: Th Dec 11 Midterm exam: Th Oct 23 from 11:00am to 12:15pm Final exam: Monday Dec 15th from 8:00am to 10:00am

#### Contact info and Notes

Instructor: Massimo Ricotti

- Office: room CSS 0213
- E-mail: ricotti "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
- Phone: (301) 405 5097
- Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30pm to 4:30pm or by appointment
- Class web page: http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ricotti/NEWWEB/teaching/current.html

Teaching assistant/Grader: Che-Yu Chen

- Office: room 0224
- E-mail: cychen "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
- Phone: (301) 405 1551
- Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00am to 11:00am, or by appointment

#### Textbooks

- Required Textbook:
*Foundations of Modern Cosmology 2/e*, by John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-853096-X- Authors' web site for the textbook

#### Course Outline

The Syllabus is available in HTML and PDF format.

Date | Lecture | Reading (Textbook) | Lecture Notes | |
---|---|---|---|---|

## Part I: History of Cosmology | ||||

#1 | Sept 02 | Introduction to the course | Ch.1 | lect01.pdf |

#2 | Sep 04 | Geocentric cosmology and astronomy | Ch.2 | lect02.pdf |

#3 | Sep 09 | Renaissance empiricism and the heliocentric model | Ch.2 | lect03.pdf |

#4 | Sep 11 | The Universe of physical law | Ch.3 | lect04.pdf |

#5 | Sep 16 | The age of the Earth and the Cosmos | Ch.3 | lect05.pdf |

## Part II: Relativity | ||||

#6 | Sep 18 | Principles of space and time | Ch.6 | lect06.pdf |

#7 | Sep 23 | Special relativity | Ch.7 | lect07.pdf |

#8 | Sep 25 | Special relativity | Ch.7 | lect08.pdf |

#9 | Sep 30 | Special relativity | Ch.7 | lect09.pdf |

#10 | Oct 02 | General relativity | Ch.8 | lect10.pdf |

#11 | Oct 07 | General relativity | Ch.8 | lect11.pdf |

#12 | Oct 09 | Black Holes | Ch.9 | lect12.pdf |

## Part III: Modern Cosmology | ||||

#13 | Oct 14 | The Universe beyond our Galaxy | Ch.10 | lect13.pdf |

#14 | Oct 16 | Cosmological expansion | Ch.10 | lect14.pdf |

#15 | Oct 21 | Geometry and evolution of the Universe | Ch.11 | lect15.pdf |

- | Oct 23 | Midterm Exam | - | - |

#16 | Oct 28 | Geometry and evolution of the Universe | Ch.11 | lect16.pdf |

#17 | Oct 30 | The Big Bang and early Universe | Ch.12 | lect17.pdf |

#18 | Nov 04 | The Big Bang and early Universe | Ch.12 | lect18.pdf |

#19 | Nov 06 | The Big Bang and early Universe | Ch.12 | lect18.pdf |

## Part IV: Contemporary Cosmology | ||||

#20 | Nov 11 | Measurement of cosmological parameters | Ch.13 | lect19.pdf |

#21 | Nov 13 | Measurement of cosmological parameters | Ch.13 | lect20.pdf |

#22 | Nov 18 | Cosmic background radiation | Ch.14 | lect21.pdf |

#23 | Nov 20 | Cosmic background radiation | Ch.14 | lect21.pdf |

#24 | Nov 25 | Dark matter and cosmic structure formation | Ch.15 | lect22.pdf |

- | Nov 27 | No lect: Thanksgiving | - | - |

#25 | Dec 02 | Cosmic structure: observations | Ch.15 | lect23.pdf |

#26 | Dec 04 | Cosmic structure: simulations | Ch.15 | lect24.pdf |

#27 | Dec 09 | FAQs and review | - | - |

#28 | Dec 11 | Cosmological inflation | Ch.16 | lect25.pdf |

- | Dec 15 | Final Exam: 8am-10am | - | - |

#### Course Grading

Final grades for this course will be computed based on cumulative points (out of 100 total) in the areas below, according to the weights listed:- Class attendance and participation 10%
- Homework 40%
- Midterm exam 20%
- Final exam 30%

- A: more than 85 points (over a total of 100 points)
- B: more than 70 and less than 85 points
- C: more than 55 and less than 70 points
- D: more than 40 and less than 55 points
- F: less than 40 points

**Homework** will typically be assigned once a week, due the
following week, and must be turned in at the beginning of class. You
should expect about 10 assignments during the semester.

**Midterm exam:** There will be one in-class examination on the
23rd October 2008. This exam will be closed book. The exam will
consist of a section of short answer questions, followed by longer
essay and problem solving questions.

**Final exam:** As per the University rules, the final exam for
this course will be held on Monday the 15th December 2008 between
8.00am-10.00am in CSS2400. The final exam will cover all material
discussed in this course. The format of the final exam will be the
same as the midterm exam, with a section of short answer questions and
a section of longer essay or problem solving questions.

Points will not be given for any ``extra credit projects.'' It is important to complete all the regular assignments to get the most you can out of the class!

#### Students with Special Needs

Students with a documented disability who wish to discuss academic accommodations should contact the professor as soon as possible.#### Academic Integrity and excused absence

University regulations will apply regarding academic honesty and excused absences.

Students who are ill or have another valid excuse must explain the circumstances to the instructor before the due date of an assignment or exam, and then complete the work within the following week, in order to get full credit. Any illnesses or emergencies need to be properly documented.

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. University standards regarding academic integrity apply to all work performed for credit in this course, and as a student you are responsible for upholding these standards. Particulars of the University's Code are printed in the Undergraduate Catalog, and a description of what constitutes academic dishonesty is also given in the on-line Schedule of Classes. In brief, the Code requires that you must never engage in acts of academic dishonesty at any time. Acts of academic dishonesty include cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or helping another person to do any of these things. Violation of the Code carries very serious consequences; for more information, please visit the Student Honor Council web site.

The rules regarding academic integrity apply to homework as well as to exams. As a part of these rules, you must give credit to any book, published article, or web page that you have used to help you with a particular assignment. These rules also apply to unpublished sources of information. In particular, students are encouraged to discuss assignments and other class material with each other, but every student must personally think through and write up his or her own answers to the homework questions. To further exhibit your commitment to academic integrity, remember to sign the Honor Pledge on all examinations and assignments:

"I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination."

#### Homework

Homework will typically be assigned once a week, due the following week, and must be turned in at the beginning of class. You should expect about 10 assignments during the semester.

Homework will be considered late by the end of class and will no longer be accepted. If for some reason you cannot make it to class, you should either ask a friend/classmate to hand in your assignment for you, or make sure that it gets to the instructor beforehand.

If, for whatever reason, the University is officially closed on the due date for an assignment, the due date will be moved to the next lecture.

- Sep 11:Homework#1(due Sep 18) (Solution)
- Sep 23:Homework#2(due Oct 2) (Solution)
- Oct 07:Homework#3(due Oct 15) (Solution)
- Oct 21:Homework#4(due Oct 28) (Solution)
- REMINDER: Oct 23rd Midterm Exam in class
- Study Guide for Midterm
- Oct 30:Homework#5(due Nov 06) (Solution)
- Nov 13:Homework#6(due Nov 20) (Solution)
- Nov 26:Homework#7(due Dec 4) (Solution)
- REMINDER: Dec 15th Final Exam in class
- Study Guide for Final