Syllabus

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ASTRONOMY 376, Cosmology

Unique No. 48765, Spring 2014

CLASS MEETS: TTh 2-3:30pm in RLM 15.216B

INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Volker Bromm
Office: RLM 16.214
Phone: 512-471-3432
Email: vbromm@astro.as.utexas.edu
Office Hours: W 4-5pm, or by appointment

COURSE WEBSITE:
http://www.as.utexas.edu/astronomy/education/spring14/bromm/376.html

TEACHING ASSISTANT: Aaron Smith

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Cosmology is a fantastic subject! We will apply the laws of physics to address some of the most fundamental questions of humanity: What are our origins? What is our place in the overall cosmic scene? What is time? What is dark energy, and what the dark matter? Cosmology has recently made great strides, primarily driven by novel telescopes and other observational probes. We will trace this great story of discovery, leading us to the current frontier of knowledge. You will learn to look at the physics behind these exciting phenomena, and make things as simple as possible, but still capture the important effects.

TEXTS:

There is one required text, available at the Co-op. In addition, we here suggest some optional books that you may find useful. To cover the course material, we will provide you with detailed lecture notes, available for downloading from the course website. Beyond that, there is a huge universe of cosmology-related online tutorials, many of them are quite good. We will make specific suggestions while we go ahead.

The required text is (available at the Co-op):

The optional texts are (available at the PMA Library):

GRADING: Your final grade will be based on a point system:

In-class Quizzes

10

2 In-class Exams

2x15

Homework

40

1 Group Project

20

We won't have a Final Exam.

The following grading scheme will be used:

A

=

89 - 100

A-

=

85 - 88

B+

=

82 - 84

B

=

72 - 81

B-

=

70 - 71

C+

=

68 - 69

C

=

62 - 67

C-

=

60 - 61

D

=

50 - 59

Any score below 50 is failing (F).

HOMEWORK AND GROUP PROJECT:
The smaller problem sets and the more extended group project will contain analytical and numerical parts. I assume that you know one high-level language (C, Fortran, IDL, Mathematica, ...), enabling you to solve problems numerically. Please ask if you feel you need to catch up on your computer literacy. We will be glad to suggest ways to quickly get up to speed if necessary.

QUIZZES: We will have frequent in-class, unannounced quizzes, where you will work with 1 or 2 of your colleagues to solve small problems (with a duration of about 10 mins each). The quizzes will not test your memory by asking you to remember some fact or another. Instead, the quizzes will often ask you to devise an "order-of-magnitude" (back-of-the-envelope) solution to a problem based on the material that we have introduced in class.

COURSE AND UNIVERSITY POLICIES:

COURSE CONTENT:

abell 1795

Abell 1795 [Chandra]

Professor

Volker Bromm

RLM 16.214 · (512) 471-3432 · email

Office Hours

TBA


TA

Aaron Smith