Cosmology, fall 2018

PHYS736, SP.TOP: COSMOLOGY, fall term starting 1.9.2018


Lecturer: Syksy Räsänen, SCI231

The lecturer can be contacted by email at, or you can drop by my office.

Lectures: Saturdays 14.00-16.50 in SCI113.
The first lecture was on Saturday September 8.
There was no lecture on October 20.
The last lecture was on December 8.

Exercise sessions: Thursdays 9.00-10.50 in SCI253.
There were no exercise sessions on October 25, November 1, November 8 or November 15.
There was an exercise session on Wednesday November 14 in SCI007 from 9.00 to 11.00.

The midterm exam was on Saturday October 27 at 13.00-17.00 in room SCI013. The exam covered chapters 1 to 5 of the lecture notes.
The final exam was be on Wednesday December 19 at 9.00-13.00 in room SCI263. The exam covered chapters 6 to 9 of the lecture notes.

The grade is based 20% on the exercises, 40% on the midterm exam and 40% on the final exam. The points from exercises and exams, as well as the final marks, are listed on Ritaj.

Lecture notes

Lecture notes will appear here as the lectures proceed. Reading the lecture notes before attending the lectures is recommended.
The introductory lecture is hera as a Powerpoint file and as a PDF.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Basics of general relativity
Chapter 3: The Friedmann-Robertson-Walker model
Chapter 4: Thermodynamics in an expanding universe
Chapter 5: Thermal history of the early universe
Chapter 6: Big bang nucleosynthesis
Chapter 7: Dark matter
Chapter 8: Inflation: background
Chapter 9: Inflation: perturbations

Homework problem sets

Problem sets are out on Saturdays at the latest on this webpage, and they are due by 12.00 on Wednesday.

Homework 1
Homework 2
Homework 3
Homework 4
Homework 5
Homework 6
Homework 7
Homework 8
Homework 9
Homework 10

Help Sheet

This sheet with information on units and key equations will be handed out in the exams. (Students may not bring books or their own notes to the exam.)

Course description

Cosmology is a vital field enjoying an unprecedented influx of precise data. This course is an introduction to this branch of physics. It will cover the following topics:
Students should be familiar with special relativity, classical mechanics and mathematical methods such as differential equations. Basics of quantum mechanics are useful, but will be only little needed. Previous knowledge of general relativity is helpful but not needed; the necessary concepts will be introduced during the course.

An earlier, more extensive, version of the course can be found here.

Textbook: Lecture notes.


E.W. Kolb, M.S. Turner: The Early Universe (Addison-Wesley 1990).
T. Padmanabhan: Structure formation in the universe (Cambridge University Press 1993).
M. Roos: Introduction to Cosmology, 3rd ed. (Wiley 2003).
L. Bergström and A. Goobar: Cosmology and Particle Astrophysics (Wiley 1999).
J.A. Peacock: Cosmological Physics (Cambridge University Press 1999).
A.R. Liddle and D.H. Lyth: Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure (Cambridge University Press 2000).
S. Dodelson: Modern Cosmology (Academic Press 2003).
V. Mukhanov: Physical Foundations of Cosmology (Cambridge University Press 2005).
S. Weinberg: Cosmology (Oxford University Press 2008).
R. Durrer: The Cosmic Microwave Background (Cambridge University Press 2008).
A.R. Liddle and D.H. Lyth: The Primordial Density Perturbation: Cosmology, Inflation and the Origin of Structure (Cambridge University Press 2009).

It's not necessary to have any of these textbooks, the lecture notes are sufficient.

Last updated: January 9, 2019