PHYS4418 Cosmological Physics

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Physics [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
This unit provides an overview of modern cosmology and structure-formation in the universe. Investigating and understanding the formation and evolution of our Universe is arguably one of the most fundamental objectives of science, and certainly has profound implications for mankind's understanding of our place in the world. Investigations to date have provided strong evidence for, and constraints on, the existence of dark matter and dark energy – two of the great unsolved problem in physics.

Topics covered include: the Einstein and Friedmann equations; the early universe (inflation and the linear growth of structure); cosmological parameters and their impact on expansion history; the cosmic microwave background and transfer functions; dark matter and dark energy; large-scale structure; and structure formation in the non-linear regime - including non-linear collapse; relaxation processes; the Extended Press-Schechter theory; halo mass functions and merger trees; the galaxy–dark-matter–halo connection; and the rudiments of galaxy formation.
Students are able to (1) explain theories of modern cosmology and structure formation; (2) outline the physical evidence supporting our current cosmological and structure-formation theories.; (3) apply appropriate theory and phenomenology to solve problems on cosmology and structure formation; (4) analyse real-world astronomical data to test models of cosmology and structure formation; (5) evaluate current research papers on cosmology and structure formation; and (6) create and evaluate proposals for research-funding in this field.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) proposal; (2) project; and (3) quizzes and exam. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Mr Matthew Young
Unit rules
completion of the core units in the Physics major or Frontier Physics extended major or equivalent.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.