PHYS4418 Cosmological Physics

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
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)
Dr Matthew Young
Unit rules
completion of the core and complementary units for the Physics 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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.