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Particles & Cosmology - CED00013M

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  • Department: Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Ben Johnstone-Bray
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2021-22

Module aims

The module will introduce the standard model of particles of physics, the cosmological principle, the cosmic distance ladder and the geometry of the universe. Cosmological models will be treated in Newtonian gravity and general relativity. Theories of dark matter and dark energy will be developed. The module will discuss the cosmic microwave background and the information it provides about the early universe. The module will cover the origin of nucleons and baryons and the role of neutrinos and cosmology. Inflationary theory and its relation to the origin of structure in the universe will be considered. The module will conclude with a review of the Lambda-CDM model of cosmology and a discussion of the possible (and most probable) futures for the universe. Skills in scientific communication and essay writing will be developed.

Module learning outcomes

At the conclusion of the module students will be able to:

  • Outline the standard model of particle physics
  • Explain the cosmological principle, the cosmic distance ladder and basic models of the universe
  • Explain why theories of dark energy and dark matter were developed and discuss different candidate dark matter particles
  • Discuss the information that can be gained about the early universe from the study of the cosmic microwave background
  • Demonstrate understanding of the origin of baryons and nucelons
  • Describe the physics of neutrinos and their role in cosmology
  • Discuss the problems in big bang cosmology that led to the development of inflationary theory and contemporary criticisms of inflation
  • Describe the origin of structure in the universe and the standard cosmological model
  • Outline the chronology of the universe, including possible futures, and the Lambda-CDM model of cosmology
  • Develop a coherent scientific essay on a contemporary debate in cosmology.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.

The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.

Indicative reading

  • Liddle, A. R.: An introduction to Modern Cosmology, Wiley, 2003
  • Liddle, A. R., & Loveday, J.: The Oxford companion to cosmology, Oxford University Press, 2008
  • Morison, I.: Introduction to astronomy and cosmology, Wiley, 2008.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.