Lecture Course
February-April 2010
University Groningen

    Rien van de Weygaert,

                      ZG 186,   tel. 3634086,

     Jakob van Betlehem,
                      ZG 153,   tel. 3634063,


The first lecture will be on tuesday morning February 9, 13.7 minutes after 9 !!!!

The tutorial lectures of friday Feb. 26 will be the student presentations on topics of Early Cosmology.

Note that the friday lecture and friday tutorial will also be in room ZG161 (with the exception of friday March 5: ZG257)

Required Knowledge:

There are no real requirements (except the usual basic knowledge of first and second year mathematics, physics and astrophysics. Although some familiarity with General Relativity will facilitate insight into the Universe, the lectures in the first week will provide the necessary background.


The lecture schedule will be:

      Tuesday 09:15-11:00    hoorcollege     ZG 161

      Friday 09:15-11:00      hoorcollege     ZG 161    (except Mar 5: ZG257)

      Friday 11:15-13:00      werkcollege     ZG 161    (except Mar 5: ZG257)


The exam will consist of three/four elements:

      written exam -- tuesday April 13, 14:00-17:15, ZG257


      2 computer tasks

General Information:

Practical information on the course -- literature, provisional schedule, topics presentation -- you may find in:

     General Lecture Information


The course will be based upon

     Lecture notes,
        to be distributed during the course
     Introduction to Cosmology
        Barbara Ryden
        Addison Wesley, 2002

        ISBN 0805389121 (hardcover)

This book entails a really fabulous introduction to the basic concepts of cosmology, nearly entirely up to date. It is one of the few textbooks really fun reading, a marvel of didactic writing. In particular for the later stages of the lecture series -- Cosmic Microwave Background, Cosmic Nucleosynthesis, Inflation -- I will assume you have the book.

In addition, there are three general cosmology books that from time to time you may wish to consult (but which are not obligatory fare for this course !!!). They are somewhat more demanding than the Ryden book, yet contain a lot of useful information,

     Cosmological Physics
        John Peacock
        Cambridge University Press, 1998

        ISBN 0521422701 (paper)

      Cosmology, The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure
        P. Coles, F. Lucchin
        Wiley, 2n edition, 2002

        ISBN 0471489093

     Principles of Physical Cosmology
        P.J.E. Peebles
        Princeton Univ. Press

        ISBN 0691074283

Lecture Notes:

Below you find a listing which will gradually be updated. You may download the pdf and ppt files.

      Introduction & Overview                                     ppt
         Introduction & Overview                                     pdf
      General Relativity                                                pdf
      The Cosmological Principle: Evidence                   ppt
                  (still some modifications needed, on cosmic dipole)
      Robertson-Walker metric                                     pdf
      Cosmological Principle &                                    handout
                     Robertson-Walker metric
                     Observational Cosmology
      Cosmic Dynamics: &                                           handout
                     FRW Cosmology
      Cosmic Constituents                                            ppt
                  (still needs substantial extension on dark energy)
      FRW Universe: Solutions                                     handout
      Evolution Hubble Parameter H(t)                          handout
                   and: Cosmic Time
      Evolution Omega & Flatness Problem                   handout
                   and: Horizons & Horizon Problem
                   and: Inflationary Universe
      The Hot Big Bang                                                handout
                   & Thermal History of the Universe
                   and: Cosmic Microwave Background
      The Hot Big Bang and the Early Universe             ppt
                   Thermal History of the Universe
                   Big Bang Nucleosynthesis
      Cosmic Microwave Background                            ppt

For the exam you should also study Ryden chapter 9, 10 and 11 !!!!!!!!!!

Tentamen/Written Exam

The written exam is on:

      Wednesday April 7, 14:00-17:15; room ZG161

Presentation: Early Cosmology

Attached you find the files with topics for your presentation on "Early Cosmology".

Choose the topic of your choice, subsequently inform me about your choice. Alternatively you may choose a topic not mentioned in the list. In that case consult lecturer. After approval you can set to work on the subject.

      Early Cosmology

You are expected to prepare a 10-15 minute presentation (with ppt or pdf notes) !

Werkcollege (tutorials)

Attached you find the files with the werkcollege assignments.

Important: the assignments that were not completed during the werkcollege/tutorial class, you are expected to solve yourself at home. Completed tasks should be turned in to the tutorial assistent J. van Betlehem. Completed and approved tasks are required for completion of the course.

Thus: please turn them in to your tutor (ie. me) !

For questions and advice on the tasks you are of course welcome to contact your "werkcollegedocent", drs. J. van Betlehem ! Room 153 !

For searching the astronomical literature the two most important website to consult are those of

     ADS:       NASA Astrophysics Data System
     astro-ph:   astrophysics e-print server

Notice that ADS allows you to expand your literature search via the references of the paper under consideration, as well as the links to the papers that refer to it. While using this possibility wisely you may quickly find most relevant studies. Also notice that the links of ADS to the journals in which the papers are published may need you to use your student number + password for the University library, or you have registered with the University Library, when working from outside the university (e.g. from home). Otherwise you will not be able to use the university subscription to these journals.

Interesting Literature

During the course several papers relating to the lecture content will be handed out.
Here you may download them (will be updated during the course).

      Discovery Hubble Expansion
         Hubble E., 1929, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 15 (5 pp.)
      Observational Tests World Models
         Sandage A., 1988, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 26, 561
      Discovery Cosmic Microwave Background
         Penzias A.A. & Wilson R.W., 1965, Astrophys. J. 142, 419
      Discovery & Explanation Cosmic Microwave Background
         Dick R.H., Peebles P.J.E., Roll P.G., Wilkinson D.T., 1965, Astrophys. J. 142, 414
      SNIa discovery Lambda: High-z Supernova Search Team
         Riess et al., 1998, Astron. J., 116, 1009
      SNIa discovery Lambda: Supernova Cosmology Project
         Perlmutter et al., 1999, Astrophys. J., 517, 565
      Scale Factors & critical values Lambda in Friedmann universes
         Felten J.E., 1986, Rev. Mod. Phys. 58, 689
      Rindler: visual horizons in world models
         Rindler W., 1956, MNRAS, 116, 662
      Harrison: Hubble spheres and Particle horizons
         Harrison, E., 1991, Astrophys. J., 383, 60
      Guth: Inflationary Universe
         Guth, A.H., 1981, Phys.Rev.D., 23, 347

Lecture Schedule:
(provisional, changes possible)

Subject HoorcollegeDates
Subject Werkcollege

Feb. 9 (c)
Feb. 12 (c)
a Review and Introduction

The metric Universe:
General Relativity, basics and essentials
Feb. 12 (w)Werkcollege set 1
2 Feb. 16 (c)
Feb. 19 (c)
The Cosmological Principle
Cosmic Time and Weyl's Postulate

Observational Evidence Cosmological Principle
Observational Evidence Isotropic Universe
Observational Evidence Homogeneous Universe
Feb. 19 (w)
3 Feb. 23 (c)
Feb. 26 (c)
Robertson-Walker metric

Cosmological Redshift
Hubble Expansion
Cosmological Observables in a Geometric Universe

Observational Cosmology
Feb. 26 (w)Presentations:
4 Mar. 2 (c)
Mar. 5 (c)
Friedman Equations
Cosmological Parameters:
     Hubble parameter, Omega, q and curvature

Mar. 5 (w)Werkcollege set 2
5 Mar. 9 (c)
Mar. 12 (c)

Cosmic Components:
     Radiation, (Dark) Matter and Dark Energy

Mar. 12 (w)Werkcollege set 3
6 Mar. 16 (c)
Mar. 19 (c)

Cosmological FRW Solutions:
     Radiation- and Matter-dominated Universes, Radiation-Matter Equivalence
     Dark Energy and Cosmic Acceleration
     General FRW solutions, Matter-Dominated Universes, Flat Universes, ...

Mar. 19 (w)Werkcollege set 3
7 Mar. 23 (c)
Mar. 26 (c)
Cosmic Horizons

The problems of standard cosmology:
     Flatness Problem, Horizon Problem,
     Structure Problem, Monopole Problem

Inflation & the Inflationary Universe
Mar. 26 (w)Werkcollege set 4
8 Mar. 30 (c)
Apr. 2 (c)
The Early Universe:
     Thermal History of the Universe
     Primordial Nucleosynthesis

The Cosmic Microwave Background:
     Recombination, Decoupling and Freeze-out
     Thermalization and Blackbody Spectrum of the CMB
     Anisotropries of the CMB
Apr. 2 (w)Werkcollege set 5