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Cosmological Physics

Credit 0.125 EFTSL
ICRAR Node University of Western Australia
Unit Code Enrol at UWA in PHYS4418
Offering Semester 2
UWA Handbook PHYS4418 for the most up-to-date information
This unit provides an overview of modern cosmology and structure-formation in the universe. Investigating and understanding the formation and evolution of our Universe is arguably one of the most fundamental objectives of science, and certainly has profound implications for mankind’s understanding of our place in the world. Investigations to date have provided strong evidence for, and constraints on, the existence of dark matter and dark energy – two of the great unsolved problem in physics.

Topics covered include: the Einstein and Friedmann equations; the early universe (inflation and the linear growth of structure); cosmological parameters and their impact on expansion history; the cosmic microwave background and transfer functions; dark matter and dark energy; large-scale structure; and structure formation in the non-linear regime – including non-linear collapse; relaxation processes; the Extended Press-Schechter theory; halo mass functions and merger trees; the galaxy–dark-matter–halo connection; and the rudiments of galaxy formation.

Learning Outcomes
Students are able to (1) explain theories of modern cosmology and structure formation; (2) outline the physical evidence supporting our current cosmological and structure-formation theories.; (3) apply appropriate theory and phenomenology to solve problems on cosmology and structure formation; (4) analyse real-world astronomical data to test models of cosmology and structure formation; (5) evaluate current research papers on cosmology and structure formation; and (6) create and evaluate proposals for research-funding in this field.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) proposal; (2) project; and (3) quizzes and exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.
Unit Coordinator(s)
  1. Cosmology: Chris Power
  2. Galaxy-Formation Theory: Aaron Ludlow