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Theoretical Cosmology

Theoretical Cosmology

Course Outline: 

Cosmology is the study of the origin, current state, and future of our universe. Although this task is far from complete, the last decade has seen remarkable progress towards answering many of the fundamental questions about the nature and evolution of the universe. It is a uniquely stimulating discipline, drawing on just about every branch of physics and astronomy. This course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to modern cosmology giving an account of the key topics which shape the subject today. The course will provide students with a physical and intuitive understanding of the subject, together with the basic tools needed to enter a research programme in cosmology.


  • Standard-cosmology and the Robertson Walker model.
    Basic equations of cosmology. Dynamics of the expansion. Observations in cosmology.
  • Age and distance scales.
    The distance scale and age of the universe, Methods for age determination, Direct distance determination. Large scale distance measurement: Type Ia Supernovae. Is the universe accelerating?
  • The early universe and inflation.
    Relics of the Big Bang. Phase transitions and topological defects. General arguments for inflation: what inflation solves and does not solve. Inflationary dynamics and models. Origin of primordial fluctuations.
  • Dynamics of structure formation.
    Overview, Linear perturbation theory and the gauge problem, Density, velocity and gravitational wave perturbations. Coupled perturbations: matter and radiation. Transfer functions. Nonlinear models: the Zeldovich approximation.
  • Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) fluctuations.
    Basic theory and the EGS theorem. Mechanisms for primary fluctuations. Characteristics of CMB anisotropies. Observation of CMB anisotropies. Polarization.
  • Conclusions and outlook for the future.


  • J A Peacock, Cosmological Physics, Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • A R Liddle and D H Lyth, Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure, Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Programmes | by Dr. Radut