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.
% of module mark
Special assessment rules
% of module mark
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.
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.