# Astronomy 340: Fall 2007

#### "Origin of the Universe"

* The course is an introduction to modern Cosmology designed
primarily for non-science majors. A study of our progression of
knowledge about the origin and evolution of the universe as a
whole. Topics include: early cosmological models, geocentric
vs. heliocentric theory, curvature of space, Hubble's Law, Big Bang
Theory, microwave background radiation, evolution of stars and
galaxies, dark matter, active galaxies, quasars and the future of the
universe. Cosmologists typically use known physical laws to construct empirical
models of the universe describing how it evolved from simple initial
conditions. The current cosmological model has been quite successful
in explaining many of the amazing aspects of the Universe around
us. However, in order to do so cosmologist had to introduce mysterious
new physics such as the ``dark matter'' and ``dark energy''. Weather
such "inventions" actually exist and what is their real nature remains
an unsolved mystery.*

#### Course Prerequisite

The course is intended for non-science majors and assumes high-school-level algebra, and either ASTR 100 or 101 as a prerequisite. See also the official UMD info on this course.

#### Schedule

Instructor: Massimo Ricotti Class: room CSS 2400 Lectures: Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00am to 12:15pm First class: Th Aug 30 Last class: Tu Dec 11 Midterm exam: Th Oct 18 from 11:00am to 12:15pm Final exam: Th Dec 13 from 8am to 10am

#### Contact info and Notes

Instructor: Massimo Ricotti

- Office: room CSS 0213
- E-mail: ricotti "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
- Phone: (301) 405 5097
- Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30pm to 1:30pm or by appointment
- Class web page: http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ricotti/NEWWEB/teaching/current.html

Teaching assistant/Grader: Hao Gong

- Office: room CSS 0224
- E-mail: hgong "at" astro "dot" umd "dot" edu
- Phone: (301) 405 1551
- Office hours: Tuesday 4:00-5:00 (Note change of day effective on Oct 3rd) or by appointment

#### Textbooks

- Required Textbook:
*Foundations of Modern Cosmology 2/e*, by John F. Hawley and Katherine A. Holcomb. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-853096-X- Authors' web site for the textbook

#### Course Outline

The Syllabus is available in HTML and PDF format.

Date | Lecture | Reading (Textbook) | Lecture Notes | |
---|---|---|---|---|

## Part I: History of Cosmology | ||||

#1 | Aug 30 | Introduction to the course | Ch.1 | lect01.pdf |

#2 | Sep 04 | Geocentric cosmology and astronomy | Ch.2 | lect02.pdf |

#3 | Sep 06 | Renaissance empiricism and the heliocentric model | Ch.2 | lect03.pdf |

#4 | Sep 11 | The Universe of physical law | Ch.3 | lect04.pdf |

#5 | Sep 13 | The age of the Earth and the Cosmos | Ch.3 | lect05.pdf |

## Part II: Relativity | ||||

#6 | Sep 18 | Principles of space and time | Ch.6 | lect06.pdf |

#7 | Sep 20 | Special relativity | Ch.7 | lect07.pdf |

#8 | Sep 25 | Special relativity | Ch.7 | lect08.pdf |

#9 | Sep 27 | Special relativity | Ch.7 | lect09.pdf |

#10 | Oct 02 | General relativity | Ch.8 | lect10.pdf |

#11 | Oct 04 | General relativity | Ch.8 | lect11.pdf |

#12 | Oct 09 | Black Holes | Ch.9 | lect12.pdf |

## Part III: Modern Cosmology | ||||

#13 | Oct 11 | The Universe beyond our Galaxy | Ch.10 | lect13.pdf |

#14 | Oct 16 | Cosmological expansion | Ch.10 | lect14.pdf |

- | Oct 18 | Midterm Exam | - | - |

#15 | Oct 23 | Geometry and evolution of the Universe | Ch.11 | lect15.pdf |

#16 | Oct 25 | Geometry and evolution of the Universe | Ch.11 | lect16.pdf |

#17 | Oct 30 | The Big Bang and early Universe | Ch.12 | lect17.pdf |

#18 | Nov 01 | The Big Bang and early Universe | Ch.12 | lect18.pdf |

#19 | Nov 06 | The Big Bang and early Universe | Ch.12 | lect18.pdf |

## Part IV: Contemporary Cosmology | ||||

#20 | Nov 08 | Measurement of cosmological parameters | Ch.13 | lect19.pdf |

#21 | Nov 13 | Measurement of cosmological parameters | Ch.13 | lect20.pdf |

#22 | Nov 15 | Cosmic background radiation | Ch.14 | lect21.pdf |

#23 | Nov 20 | Cosmic background radiation | Ch.14 | lect22.pdf |

- | Nov 22 | No lect: Thanksgiving | - | - |

#24 | Nov 27 | Dark matter and cosmic structure formation | Ch.15 | lect23.pdf |

#25 | Nov 29 | Dark matter and cosmic structure formation | Ch.15 | lect24.pdf |

#26 | Dec 04 | Cosmological inflation | Ch.16 | lect25.pdf |

#27 | Dec 06 | Cosmological inflation | Ch.16 | lect26.pdf |

#28 | Dec 11 | Last class/review | - | - |

- | Dec 13 | Final Exam: 8am-10am | - | - |

#### Course Grading

Final grades for this course will be computed based on cumulative points (out of 100 total) in the areas below, according to the weights listed:- Homework 30%
- Midterm exam 30%
- Final exam 40%

- A: more than 90 points (over a total of 100 points)
- B: between 80 and 90 points
- C: between 70 and 80 points
- D: between 60 and 70 points
- F: less than 60 points

**Homework** will typically be assigned once a week, due the
following week, and must be turned in at the beginning of class. You
should expect about 10 assignments during the semester.

**Midterm exam:** There will be one in-class examination on the
18th October 2007. This exam will be closed book. The exam will
consist of a section of short answer questions, followed by longer
essay and problem solving questions.

**Final exam:** As per the University rules, the final exam for
this course will be held on Thursday the 13th December 2007 between
8.00am-10.00am in CSS2400. The final exam will cover all material
discussed in this course. The format of the final exam will be the
same as the midterm exam, with a section of short answer questions and
a section of longer essay or problem solving questions.

Points will not be given for any ``extra credit projects.'' It is important to complete all the regular assignments to get the most you can out of the class!

#### Students with Special Needs

Students with a documented disability who wish to discuss academic accommodations should contact the professor as soon as possible.#### Academic Integrity and excused absence

University regulations will apply regarding academic honesty and excused absences.

Students who are ill or have another valid excuse must explain the circumstances to the instructor before the due date of an assignment or exam, and then complete the work within the following week, in order to get full credit. Any illnesses or emergencies need to be properly documented.

The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. University standards regarding academic integrity apply to all work performed for credit in this course, and as a student you are responsible for upholding these standards. Particulars of the University's Code are printed in the Undergraduate Catalog, and a description of what constitutes academic dishonesty is also given in the on-line Schedule of Classes. In brief, the Code requires that you must never engage in acts of academic dishonesty at any time. Acts of academic dishonesty include cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or helping another person to do any of these things. Violation of the Code carries very serious consequences; for more information, please visit the Student Honor Council web site.

The rules regarding academic integrity apply to homework as well as to exams. As a part of these rules, you must give credit to any book, published article, or web page that you have used to help you with a particular assignment. These rules also apply to unpublished sources of information. In particular, students are encouraged to discuss assignments and other class material with each other, but every student must personally think through and write up his or her own answers to the homework questions. To further exhibit your commitment to academic integrity, remember to sign the Honor Pledge on all examinations and assignments:

"I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination."

#### Homework

Homework will typically be assigned once a week, due the following week, and must be turned in at the beginning of class. You should expect about 10 assignments during the semester.

Homework will be considered late by the end of class and will no longer be accepted. If for some reason you cannot make it to class, you should either ask a friend/classmate to hand in your assignment for you, or make sure that it gets to the instructor beforehand.

If, for whatever reason, the University is officially closed on the due date for an assignment, the due date will be moved to the next lecture.

- Homework#1 (Solution)
- Homework#2 (Solution)
- Homework#3 (Solution)
- Homework#4 (Solution)
- Homework#5 (Solution)
- Homework#6 (Solution)
- Homework#7 (Solution)
- Homework#8 (Solution)
- Example of final exam The final will be 2h long (8-10am on Thu Dec 13th)