PHYS76000 — Cosmology

Course Description:

This course introduces the basic concepts of cosmology – the study of the evolution of the universe on large scales. The course will cover the basic equations governing the expansion of the universe, dark matter and dark energy, the cosmic microwave background, big bang nucleosynthesis, inflation and structure formation. Cosmology is the underlying framework in which all other astrophysics takes place. In addition, it places important constraints on fundamental physics like the number of neutrino species and the neutrino mass. Finally it is our only source of knowledge of the poorly understood forces of dark energy and inflation.

Pre/Co-requisites: PHYS 71100, PHYS 71500

There are no required texts for this course, the following are some recommended options if you want to consult a textbook.

Recommended Texts:

  • Introduction to Cosmology, Ryden – This is an undergraduate textbook, less detailed but easy to read and understand. Good for learning the basic concepts
  • Modern Cosmology, Dodelson – This is the standard graduate textbook. A good reference once you already have some understanding of the topic. Covers topics in depth.
  • Cosmological Physics, Peacock – This textbook is at a level between the top two, but is somewhat older.
  • Galaxy Formation and Evolution, Mo, van den Bosch and White – Primarily a book on galaxy formation, the first few chapters have an overview of cosmology and large scale structure.


  • Homework 20%
  • Midterm 30%
  • Final Project 50%


Topic Ryden Dodelson Mo et al.
Fundamental Observations 2 1 2.1 – 2.3
General Relativity 3 2.1
The Friedman Equation 4 2.1 3.1-3.2
Single Component Universes 5 4 3.2
Multiple Component Universes 6 4 3.2
Cosmological Parameters 7
Dark Matter 8 3.4
Cosmic Microwave Background 9 3.3 3.5
Big Bang Nucleosynthesis 10 3.4
Inflation 6.3 3.6
The Very Early Universe 11
The Formation of Structure 12 7-9 4
The Formation of Galaxies 7-14
Final Presentations