PHYS 862

Phys 862  The Early Universe & Multimessenger Astrophysics (Winter 2020)

Instructor: Prof. Aaron Vincent
Meeting Times:
Mondays 13:30-14:20
Wednesdays 15:30-17:30
Location: Cyberspace

Course Outline

  1. Intro/overview
  2. The smooth expanding Universe
  3. Thermodynamics and expansion
  4. Beyond equilibrium: Nucleosynthesis, Freeze-out, Recombination
  5. Cosmological perturbations
  6. Inflation
  7. Cosmic rays and neutrinos
  8. Dark matter detection
  9. gravitational waves 


Assignments are on holiday

Grading rubrics for final project

Oral presentation
Written presentation



References I will be drawing from

S. Dodelson, Modern Cosmology

E. Kolb and M. Turner, The Early Universe

V. Mukhanov, Physical Foundations of Cosmology

Sigl, Astroparticle Physics: Theory and Phenomenology

Some online resources

Edmond Bertschinger’s Introduction to Tensor Calculus for GR
Antony Lewis’s Homepage (very nice Cosmology and EU notes)
Julien Lesgourgues’s TASI lectures on perturbations
LCDM Cosmology for Astronomers
Bayesian methods in Cosmology

General Course Information

Required text: You are not required to purchase a textbook, but since I will be drawing most heavily on Dodelson, I recommend having a copy on hand. My handwritten course notes will be posted here semi-regularly.


There are no specific course prerequisites. Since this is a graduate course, you will be expected to have some background experience in special relativity, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics.


  • 3-5 Problem sets (60%)
  • 10% Participation in reading and discussion of selected papers. I’ll ask for a short summary + some questions in advance each time. 
  • 25% Final project + presentation 
  • 5% General participation in class (showing up…)