Winter 2023-2024

Prof. Michael S. Vogeley

Department of Physics

Office: 811 Disque Hall

Email: vogeley@drexel.edu

Office hours: TBA

Announcements

Course Meetings

Syllabus

Course Description and Philosophy

Course Outline

Course Learning Outcomes

Textbook and Reading Assignments

Grading

Problem Sets

Exams

Course Schedule

Course rules of conduct

Welcome to the home page for Physics 432/532: Cosmology. This web page is also the syllabus for the course. See the Blackboard Learn site for this course for details about assignments and exams. Course materials are provided only to registered students at Drexel University.

Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole and the formation and evolution of its contents. The relevant physics span from quantum mechanics to general relativity. Beginning from the solutions to Einstein's equations that yield the prediction of an expanding universe, we will work toward an astrophysical understanding of the origin of structure in the universe from both theoretical and observational perspectives.

The field of cosmology is truly in a golden age, as we precisely map the distribution of galaxies at the present epoch, study the formation and evolution of stars, galaxies, and other bound objects, and probe fluctuations in matter and radiation when the universe was one thousandth of its current size. Together with theoretical advances that include the ability to simulate the evolution of cosmologically-interesting volumes of the universe, we are now able to make strong tests of proposed cosmological models. The questions of cosmology are central to physics: What is the matter and energy content of the universe? What drives the formation of structure? What were the initial conditions? Observations of the distribution of galaxies, the anistropy of the cosmic microwave background, and supernovae in distant galaxies indicate that a mere 5% of the mass-energy density in the universe is comprised of normal, baryonic matter. Roughly 25% is in the form of weakly-interacting dark matter. The remaining 70% - most of the universe - is in some form of dark energy similar to Einstein's cosmological constant.

The primary goal of this course is to expose advanced undergraduates and first and second year graduate students to the essential elements of astrophysical cosmology at a level that would allow them to read current literature in the field and to work through problems at the level required for beginning research.

- Classical Cosmology
- isotropic universe
- age and distance scales
- Early Universe
- hot big bang
- inflationary cosmology
- Observational Cosmology
- surveys and satellites
- matter in the universe
- Galaxy Formation and Clustering
- dynamics of structure formation
- cosmological density fields
- Tests of Cosmological Models
- cosmic background fluctuations
- more cosmological tests

- Open Questions in Cosmology

- Compute distances and time factors for expanding universes in a wide range of cosmological models.
- Argue for or against various aspects of the standard cosmological model.
- Perform numerical calculations and simple simulations of the dynamics of an expanding universe.
- Describe cosmological calculations and results in layman's terms.
- Describe the astrophysical and lab-based experiments that put constraints on cosmological parameters.
- Read fundamental papers in the field of cosmology.

Other books that I recommend include
*Introduction to Cosmology, 2nd edition* by
Barbara Ryden (Cambridge University Press: Cambridge) and
*Cosmological Physics*, by John A. Peacock, 1999,
(Cambridge University Press: Cambridge), ISBN 0-521-42270-1 (paperback), 0-521-41072-X (hardcover).

Other useful texts include
*The Early Universe*, by
E. W. Kolb and M. S. Turner, 1990, (Addison-Wesley) and
*Principles of Physical Cosmology*, by P.J.E. Peebles, 1993, (Princeton University Press).
Also see chapter 12 of *A First Course in General Relativity*,
by B. F. Schutz (Cambridge University Press).

Please read the assignments before class and prepare to ask questions.

See the Course Schedule below for the weekly reading assignments.

Grades will be based on the following weighting of different
components of the course:

Problem Sets: 30%

Midterm Exam: 25%

Class Participation: 5%

Final Exam: 40%

Final grades will be assigned following the usual correspondence between percentage scores and letters: 90-100 is A- to A+, 80-89 is B- to B+, etc. However, there may be a positive curve, which means that your letter grade could be higher than in the normal grading scheme (e.g., a 90 is at least an A-).

Note that this course includes two sections: Physics 432 for
undergraduates and Physics 532 for graduate students. Grading for these sections will be as appropriate for the different levels of preparation.

There will be five problem sets. You will have a week to a week and a half to complete each. No late homework will be accepted. Please neatly and accurately write up your solutions to these problems, scan, and upload to Learn before the deadline. I will distribute solutions to the problems on or shortly after their due dates, to give you feedback as quickly as possible.

You may discuss the homework with your classmates, but you and you alone are responsible for the work that you turn in. Please write up your own solutions to the problems. Breaches of this policy will result in homework scores being divided by the number of ``participants.'' Second offenses may result in failure (of the class).

Use of solutions to these problems from previous years constitutes plagiarism. You must attribute (by giving the correct reference) any significant help that you receive from outside sources.

The midterm exam will be in class during week 6 and will cover material during the first five weeks or so.

The final exam will be held during exam week (date and location TBA). It will be comprehensive and half closed and half open book. You may bring a calculator to perform numerical calculations only.

Please note the following schedule of readings and assignments. This schedule may be revised, so you should recheck the week by week course pages in Blackboard Learn. Notation of "HW#" indicates that a homework is due by that Friday. Exact due dates for the homework will be announced in class and on Blackboard Learn. You should do the indicated reading before class. Reading list for week 1 is long so get started.

Week |
Class Dates |
Topics |
Reading |
Homework |
Exams |

1 | January 8, 10 | Isotropic Universe | Huterer ch. 1, 2, 3 | ||

2 | January 17 (no class 1/15 MLK day) | Age and Distance Scales | Huterer ch. 12.1 | HW1 | |

3 | January 22, 24 | Hot Big Bang | Huterer ch. 4.1, 4.3, 5.4, 13.1-3, 7, 6.2 | HW2 | |

4 | January 29, 31 | Inflationary Cosmology | Huterer ch. 8 | ||

5 | February 5, 7 | Matter in the Universe | Huterer ch. 11.1-4 | HW3 | |

6 | February 12, 14 | Dynamics of Structure Formation | Huterer ch. 9 | Midterm | |

7 | February 19, 21 | Cosmological Density Fields | HW4 | ||

8 | February 26, 28 | Cosmic Microwave Background | Huterer ch. 13.1-6 | ||

9 | March 4, 6 | More Cosmological Tests | HW5 | ||

10 | March 11, 13 | Outstanding Problems in Cosmology | |||

11 | No Class | Final Exam |

Electronic distractions: Silence your cell phone. Turn off notifications on your phone and computer so that they don't pop up and distract you.

Plagiarism: Use your own very large brain (you're a physicist!) and
don't even think about cheating.
The usual University rules apply. By
stepping into the classroom, you agree to abide by Drexel's policy on
Academic Integrity (www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/academic-integrity/)

Students with disabilities requesting accomodation and services at Drexel University need to present a current accomodation letter (AVL) to faculty before accomodations can be made. This cannot be done retroactively. AVL's are issued by the Office of Disability Services (ODS). For additional information, contact ODS at www.drexel.edu/ods 3201 Arch St., Suite 210, 215-895-1401 (V), or 215-895-2299 (TTY).

Course
Add/Drop Policy (www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/course-add-drop)

Course
Withdrawal Policy (www.drexel.edu/provost/policies/course-withdrawal)

Drexel Student Code of Conduct (www.drexel.edu/studentlife/community_standards/code-of-conduct/)

Course Syllabus Change policy: Details of this syllabus are subject to
change at any time. The Blackboard Learn pages are the official
description of the course requirements.
Please pay attention to announcements during
class and email from the instructor. Significant changes will be announced in
writing by email sent to all registered students.

Last update: December 20, 2023