Homepage for 171.697 (Spring 2017): Astro-particle physics (focussed on relativistic cosmological perturbations)

Instructor:      Marc Kamionkowski    
                        Bloomberg 439
                        kamion AT pha.jhu.edu

Class times:    Mon,Wed,  3:00-4:15pm   in  Bloomberg 278 (Mondays) and 259 (Wednesdays)

Class description:  
This will be a class focused primarily on the theory of cosmological perturbations.  The goal will be understand how we quantify departures from the pure homogeneity assumed in the standard cosmological model, how they evolve, how they are used for cosmological tests, and what their possible origins in the early Universe may be.

Prerequisites:  Basic undergraduate physics and curiosity.  It is assumed that students have had some introduction to general relativity and also some introduction to the standard cosmological model. 

Homework: There will be problem sets assigned every week.  It is important for you to work through these problem sets if you aim to be a professional cosmologist.  Some of the problem sets may be long and/or difficult.  I make them that way so that those who plan to make a living working in cosmology have plenty to keep them busy.  If you find that the problem sets are too long and/or that you have other classes or research that are a higher priority for you, then try to work through at least a few problems each week.  Completion of all the homeworks will be required to pass this class.

Grade:     75% homework and 25% final exam.

Some possibly useful books: 

          Note:  There are lots of good books on cosmology or various aspects, but this class will not follow any individual book.  I am therefore reluctant to "require" any particular book or to suggest that you buy any in particular.  These are all books worth owning, although which of these you choose to buy may depend on your particular interests.  My guess is that the presentation will follow Weinberg more closely than other books.

           Principles of Physical Cosmology (P. J. E. Peebles):  The discussion of classical cosmological tests is particularly nice.  The second half of the book has excellent plain-English discussions of a variety of subjects in physical cosmology (where I first learned a lot of these subjects).

           Galaxy Formation (M. S. Longair):  This book works well as a textbook that focuses primarily on large-scale structure and galaxy formation

           Cosmological Physics (J. Peacock):  This book is also particularly strong in large-scale structure and galaxy formation

           The Early Universe (E. W. Kolb and M. S. Turner):  This is a classic, although a bit out of date.  The discussions of relic particles and big-bang nucleosynthesis are particularly nice (and where I learned much of the subject!)           

           Modern Cosmology (S. Dodelson):   This is an excellent book that focuses primarily on the physics of cosmic microwave background fluctuations.

          Cosmology (Weinberg):  This is a great book that goes into great detail in a number of areas.  It can get dense, but no steps are skipped.

           Physical Foundations of Cosmology (Mukhanov):  Many students like the discussion of inflation and primordial perturbations.

        Inflation and String Theory (Baumann and McAllister) is recommended very highly by a number of recent cosmology students, although the string aspects covered in the book are probably not going to be discussed much in this class.  The earlier TASI lectures (https://arxiv.org/pdf/0907.5424v2.pdf) by Baumann are also recommended.


NOTES (Note that these are provided with no guarantees; they are not proofread very carefully, and mistakes have certainly crept in, there may be omissions, etc.  Use at your own risk!):

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7 (will use Lecture 2 and Appendix B in arXiv:0907.5424)

Week 8 (follows Ch. 6 in Weinberg's cosmology book)

Weeks 9-10  (updated/corrected 12 April '17)   and Yacine's CMB polarization notes

Weeks 11-12


Problem Set 1 (due first class of week 2)

Problem Set 2 (due first class of week 3)

Problem Set 3 (due first class of week 4)

Problem Set 4 (due first class of week 5)

Problem Set 5 (due first class of week 6)

Problem Set 6 (due first class of week 7)

Problem Set 7 (due first class of week 8)

Problem Set 8 (due first class of week 9)

Problem Set 9 (due first class of week 10)

Problem Set 10 (due first class of week 11)

Problem Set 11 (due first class of week 12)

Problem Set 12 (due first class of week 13)

Last updated 4/26/2017