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Unit information: Cosmology 201 in 2020/21

Unit name Cosmology 201
Unit code PHYS24010
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Bremer
Open unit status Not open

A2 Physics or equivalent.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit outlines an augmented Newtonian model for discussing the structure and evolution of the Universe, and the Universe on the largest scales.

In addition to Newtonian gravity and orbits, it introduces the cosmological principle, Hubble's law, the Big Bang and subsequent expansion.

Descriptions of the geometry of space, baryogenesis at the start of the Universe, the cosmological constant and dark matter, and the end of the Universe are also given.


To introduce the basic ideas of Cosmology through the use of the Newtonian model augmented by the cosmological constant.

To introduce the concept of an equation of state for the Universe and its components, and show how the geometry of the Universe is related to its energy, and thereby create a framework to understand the history and future of the Universe.

Intended learning outcomes

Understand how conservation laws in orbital motion arise from a central inverse-square law of force.

Be able to derive and understand the meaning of the Friedmann and fluid equations, and appreciate the significance of the Hubble law and the kinematic parameters of the Universe.

Appreciate the connection between the geometry and energy content of the Universe, the need for inflation, and the implications of dark energy.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples
  • synchronous group problems classes, workshops, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative exercises and other exercises
  • guided, structured reading

Assessment Details

Unit assessed 100% by coursework.

  • Element 1: Essay 33%
  • Element 2: Worksheet 33%
  • Element 3: Worksheet 34%

Reading and References

  • A.R. Liddle 'An Introduction to Modern Cosmology'
  • D.J. Raine & E.G. Thomas 'An Introduction to the Science of Cosmology'