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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Cosmology and Relativity

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION Cosmology endeavours to use the scientific method to understand the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the Universe as a whole.

This study-unit will lay the foundations for advanced study and research in Astrophysics in general and theoretical physics in particular. There will be an introduction to the modern mathematical framework of General Relativity which is the cornerstone of current research in all of cosmology. This will be followed by an introduction into the foundations of the modern cosmology.

This is not a basic study-unit in physics but is specifically designed to allow for the easy access of Standard Cosmology in a clear and presentable manner. It is strongly recommended that the student also take MAT3513 'Tensors and Relativity' (5 Credits), but this is not necessary, the course will be self-contained.

A more detailed breakdown of the study-unit is given below:

- Special Relativity: Tensor Formalism and Notation, Introduce the Concept of a Metric, the Nature of Physical Laws in Tensor Forms;
- Equivalence Principles: The Weak and Strong Equivalence Principles and their Applications in Gravitational Experiments;
- Introduce General Relativity: Introduce to Curved Spacetime, The Schwarzschild Solution, Classical Tests of General Relativity;
- Cosmology: The Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric, Concept of the Big Bang, The Hubble Parameter and The Constituents that make up the Universe, The Deceleration Parameter, Basic Calculations on the CMB Pattern, Inflation.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to give students a general background in the field of cosmology through the prism of general relativity. This will involve starting from the bedrock of special relativity which will lead to general relativity. By investigating Einstein’s theory and its solutions the study-unit aims to then expand on the modern description of the Universe with a look at some of the main epoch of its history. The study-unit will close with a description of some of the contemporary topics modern cosmology investigates.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this study-unit, the student will be able to:

- Describe the general features of Einstein’s theory of general relativity;
- Predict some of general relativity’s standard tests;
- Describe in its mathematical detail some of the basic elements of modern cosmology;
- Explain some long standing problems in modern cosmology and their potential solutions;
- Connect observation with the need of a cosmological constant and describe dark energy.

Main Texts:

- Carroll S.M., Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, 1st Edition, Addison Wesley, New York, 2003.
- Cheng T.P., Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology: A Basic Introduction, 2nd Edition, Oxford Master Series in Physics, 2010.

Supplementary Reading:

- Taylor E.F., Wheeler J.A. and Bertschinger E., Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity, 2nd Edition, Addison Wesley, New York, 2000.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Jackson Said

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
MSc (Research) and PhD application deadlines
Application Deadlines for Academic Year 2017/18 
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