Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Introduction to Cosmology
Ph 444 --- Fall 2012

This is an advanced undergraduate-level course on the origin and evolution of the Universe. This is a big and exciting topic, employing a wide range of physics, both theoretical and experimental. Cosmology has deep ties both to astrophysics, as many cosmologically important observations of celestial objects must be interpreted through the prism of astrophysics, and to fundamental physics, since the form our Universe displays is determined by gravitation, particle physics, nuclear physics, and thermodynamics. These various physical processes have come together into a simple ``concordance (or standard) model'' of cosmology which predicts a wide and rich array of observable phenomena.  Yet problems remain, some quite challenging, which keeps research in cosmological areas vibrant and stimulating.

This is a thrilling time in cosmology. Technological advances over the past decade have made possible an array of observations which strongly constrains the properties of the Universe. The current job of cosmologists is to determine if the deluge of observational data is consistent with the standard cosmological model. In this class we will  develop an understanding of the standard model and  show how much of the observational data are consistent with that model.  We will also examine lingering trouble spots (some possibly quite significant) and explore how cosmology can be used as a tool for probing fundamental physics and astrophysics.

Professor: Terry Matilsky , Serin 304W, 732-445-5500 x3876,
Lectures: Tuesday and Friday, period 2 (10:20 – 11:40 AM for Busch Campus)
Location: ARC 207, Busch Campus
Office Hours: Wednesday: 3:30 - 4:30 Also feel free to contact me by email or phone to set up a time to drop by my office.
Text: Introduction to Cosmology, Barbara Ryden, 2003, Addison Wesley (ISBN 0-8053-8912-1)

For more details on the course, see the syllabus .

Figures -- Above Left: Intensity fluctuations on the sky as measured by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe. Red is higher intensity and blue is lower. Emission due to galactic foregrounds and a dipole variation due to the Earth's peculiar velocity have been subtracted. Above Right: The results of a simulation of the formation of our Milky Way Galaxy. White denotes the highest density of dark matter. Note the much larger amount of substructure than we actually observe in the form of satellite galaxies. This image is from the Astrophysics Group at the University of Zurich.


Assorted Links

Back to Rutgers Physics Home Page

Please send any comments on this page to

Revised December 10, 2012

Background image: Byakko, the white tiger of the West (Autumn), one of the talismanic animals that marked the four seasons and cardinal directions in Japanese astronomy.