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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Physics and Astronomy : Undergraduate (School of Physics and Astronomy)

Undergraduate Course: Cosmology (PHYS10101)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Physics and Astronomy CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis self-contained 10pt Level 10 Semester 2 course is mandatory for Astrophysics students on both BSc and MPhys programmes, and is available as an option to students on other degree programmes. No prior Astrophysics knowledge is required, although it is intended to link naturally with the 20pt Level-10 Astrophysics course in S1. Taken together, these two courses should provide students with a solid, balanced, physics-based understanding of the structure of our Universe, and our place within space and time.

The course introduces the fundamental concepts of modern cosmology. The meaning of time and space in an expanding universe are discussed, and the dynamics of the expansion, starting from a hot Big Bang. Observational evidence includes the abundance of light elements, the microwave background, and large-scale structure. The initial conditions for the expansion require careful tuning, leading to the theory of inflation. The standard model of cosmology is introduced and elements such as dark matter and dark energy are explained.

* History and basic concepts
* The Robertson-Walker metric
* Light propagation and redshifts
* Dynamics of the Universe
* Observational cosmology; distances and ages in the Univese
* The distance ladder
* Thermal history of the Universe. Freeze-out.
* Primordial nucleosynthesis
* Recombination and the microwave background
* Dark Matter: observational evidence for its existence and candidates
* Formation of structure
* Problems with the Big Bang. Inflation. Accelerated expansion and dark eneergy.
* Status and future observations.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Astrophysics (PHYS10102)
Students MUST have passed: ( Modern Physics (PHYS08045) OR Classical and Modern Physics (PHYS08044)) AND Thermal Physics (PHYS09061) AND Fourier Analysis and Statistics (PHYS09055)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 59 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% exam
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Cosmology2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply knowledge of core concepts in physics and astrophysics to understand cosmology
  2. Formulate solutions to problems in cosmology involving new concepts with limited guidance
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the frontiers of the discipline, for example, through cases where current theories fail to explain a set of observational data
  4. Locate and make use of detailed information on current topics in cosmology in the primary research literature
  5. Summarise current thinking in cosmology in a variety of written and oral forms, both alone and in collaboration with others
Reading List
Ryden: Introduction to Cosmology (Addison Wesley) ISBN: 978-0805389128
Liddle: An Introduction to Modern Cosmology [2nd edn] (Wiley) ISBN: 978-0-470-84834-0
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Bob Mann
Tel: (0131) 668 8338
Course secretaryMrs Catriona Mowatt
Tel: (0131 6)68 8403
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