Familiarity with basic concepts of cosmology is assumed. The student is assumed to have basic knowledge of the thermal history of the universe, recombination, the cosmic microwave background, cosmic distances, horizons, and to be able to work with the Friedmann equation. In terms of the Leiden curriculum, the Astronomy master's course Origin and Evolution of the Universe provides the ideal preparation.
How galaxies and the large-scale structures in which they are embedded form is a fundamental question in extra-galactic astronomy. It is an area that has seen tremendous progress, but is still constantly challenged by ever-improving observational data. This course introduces you to this fascinating subject and the underlying physics, starting from how small density perturbations grow into dark matter haloes, to how baryons cool and form the galaxy population we observe today. It will cover the main theoretical treatment of perturbations, as well as how to interpret the main observational probes of large-scale structure.
Physical concepts are derived from basic principles where possible. The emphasis is on intuitive rather than mathematically rigorous derivations.
Topics that will be covered include:
Linear growth of density perturbations
Transfer functions and the matter power spectrum
Non-linear spherical collapse
Statistical cosmological principle
Clustering and biasing
Halo mass functions and Press-Schechter theory
Scaling laws and virial relations
Radiative cooling and its importance
Angular momentum and its influence
The Gunn-Peterson effect
The thermal history of the intergalactic medium
Halo models, semi-empirical models, and simulations
Upon completion of this course you will be able to explain how (we think that) large-scale structures and galaxies form and evolve and you will be able to carry out calculations of the formation of structures in the universe.
Upon completion of the course you will be able to:
Compute the growth of density fluctuations
Compute the shape of the matter power spectrum
Explain the morphology of the cosmic web
Explain redshift-space distortions
Explain galaxy biasing and clustering
Compute halo mass functions using Press-Schechter theory
Compute galaxy and halo scaling relations
Understand radiative cooling processes
Estimate the effect of radiative cooling on galaxy formation
Estimate the effect of angular momentum on galaxy formation
Model the process of reionization
Compute the thermal history of the intergalactic medium
Compute Gunn-Peterson absorption
Understand the basics of feedback processes in galaxy formation
Understand the basics of halo models, semi-empirical models and simulations of galaxy formation
This course is not intended to develop soft skills per se.
Mode of instruction
Written exam, see the Astronomy master examination schedules.
Mo, van den Bosch and White, "Galaxy Formation and Evolution", ISBN 978-0521857932. Available from Cambridge University Press, strongly recommended.