Astronomy 688R: Spring 2006


The evolution of the universe from the "Big Bang" to the formation of stars and galaxies.


    Instructor:  Massimo Ricotti
    Class:       room CSS 0201
    Lectures:    Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00pm to 1:15pm
    First class: Thursday Jan 26 
    Last  class: Thursday May 11

Contact info and Notes

I will produce lecture notes during the semester and will keep them in a folder in the Astronomy Library. If you need help or have questions you can reach me here:

Course Description

Part I: Linear Universe - 19 lectures.

  1. Era of ``non-standard'' particle physics: Friedman-Leimatrie cosmology, Hubble law, redshift, inflation, perturbations from inflation, reheating and baryogenesis
  2. Era of ``standard'' particle physics: Kinetic theory in the expanding universe, equilibrium thermodynamic, neutrino decoupling, non-baryonic matter, thermal history, primordial nucleosynthesis, CMB spectrum, recombination and decoupling, linear growth of cosmological perturbations
  3. CMB anisotropies: linear theory

Part II: Non-linear Universe (extragalactic astronomy) - 9 lectures

  1. CMB: beyond linear theory, measuring cosmological parameters
  2. Large scale structure and galaxy formation: Top-hat collapse, large scale structure formation (simulations and theory), Press-Schechter formalism, first stars and galaxies, Lyman-alpha forest and reionization, density profile of dark matter halos, unsolved problems.


"Cosmology" by Peter Cole and Francesco Lucchin
"Modern Cosmology" by Scott Dodelson

Course Grading

There will be one in-class Midterm exam and an in-class Final. Class participation is strongly encouraged but will not affect the grading. Class attendance is instead required and may affect the grading.

Policies and course

You can download the Syllabus in pdf format here: ASTR7688_Syl.pdf

Lecture homework and project:

During the semester I will hand out 4-5 homework. Each of you will write a review paper or a web page on a cosmology topic of your choice. At the end of the semester you will give a short presentation.