Physics 608: Cosmology

Spring 2012

inflation to galaxies bolshoi simulation
CLASH cluster
Image credits -- left: from NASA's "WMAP Introduction to Cosmology" website; center: cluster resimulation from the Multidark database (Kristin Riebe); right: lensing cluster imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope (Hubble Heritage).

    professor:  rachel somerville
    office: Serin 317W
    somerville [at]
    phone: 445-5500 x6978
    office hours: by appointment

    lectures:  Tuesday and Friday, 10:20-11:40
    location: ARC 108

    primary textbook: "Modern Cosmology" by Scott Dodelson
    ISBN 0-12-219141-2
    (available from Rutgers bookstore or Amazon)

    I will maintain a Sakai site where I will post announcements, handouts,  and assignments.

Course Description:

      Physical Cosmology is the study of the evolution of the Universe from shortly after the Big Bang until the present. It is an exciting topic because we now have both a well-developed theory (the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model) and an ever-growing wealth of observations with which to confront it. Classical cosmology courses cover the smooth, expanding Universe, with linear perturbations generated by inflation,  the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, and the production of the light elements. We will cover these topics as well, but will also learn about aspects of cosmology that are active topics of current research: the observational evidence for the existence of dark matter and dark energy, the formation and properties of dark matter halos, and the formation and evolution of non-linear structures such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies.

Course Requirements:

    The grade in this course will be based on performance in the following areas: class participation, homework assignments, a written term paper, and an oral presentation on the term paper at the end of the semester (percentages TBD).

Students with Disabilities:

    Information is available here.

Supplementary Textbooks:

There are many textbooks on cosmology. Here are some that I like, in no particular order:

Mo, van den Bosch & White: Galaxy Formation and Evolution
Peacock: Cosmological Physics
Padmanabhan: Structure Formation in the Universe
Kolb & Turner: The Early Universe
Liddle & Lyth: Cosmological Inflation and Large Scale Structure
Coles & Lucchin: Cosmology: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure (2nd edition)
Weinberg: Cosmology
Weinberg: Gravitation and Cosmology
Peebles: Principles of Physical Cosmology
Peebles: The Large Scale Structure of the Universe
Durrer: The Cosmic Microwave Background
Ryden: Introduction to Cosmology
Longair: Galaxy Formation
Schneider: Extragalactic Astronomy & Cosmology

Useful links:

Rutgers Astronomy Group
Astrophysics Data System (ADS)
NASA/IPAC Extragalactic database (NED)
Millennium Simulation Database
Ned Wright's Cosmology Tutorial (and News)