Physical Cosmology

Subject PHYC90009 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours comprising 3 one-hour lectures/week
Total Time Commitment:


Prerequisites: This subject will assume a general familiarity with Physics at third year level.
Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Dr Nicole Bell



Subject Overview: This subject provides an advanced introduction to physical cosmology. Specific topics may include the isotropic homogeneous Universe, the Robertson Walker metric, the Friedmann equations, baryogenesis, inflation, big-bang nucleosynthesis, the recombination era, density fluctuations as the origin of galaxies, the cosmic microwave background, linear and non-linear growth of structure, the Press-Schechter mass function, reionization of the IGM and gravitational lensing. Examples are drawn from past and current cosmological observations.

The objectives of this subject are:

  • to challenge the students to develop knowledge of fundamental physical principles governing the formation and evolution of structure in the Universe;
  • to understand the connection between the microscopic properties of particles and the macroscopic evolution of the Universe;
  • to introduce students to the problems facing contemporary research in cosmology;
  • to appreciate the distinction between the evolution of baryonic and non-baryonic matter;
  • to develop the skills required to interpret cosmological data.
Assessment: Three assignments totalling up to 36 pages (20%), spaced equally throughout the semester, plus one end-of-semester oral examination lasting up to an hour or one end-of-semester written examination lasting up to four hours (80%).
Prescribed Texts: Nil.
Recommended Texts: Nil.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of this subject, students should have gained skills in:

  • analysing how to solve a problem by applying simple fundamental laws to more complicated situations;
  • applying abstract concepts to real-world situations;
  • solving relatively complicated problems using approximations;
  • participating as an effective member of a group in discussions and collaborative assignments;
  • managing time effectively in order to be prepared for group discussions and undertake the assignments and exam.
Related Course(s): Master of Science (Physics)

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