Centers of Distinction

PHYS 380: Cosmology Short Course (1hr) - Spring (12) 2014

Instructor: Mark Taylor

Office: Gerstacker 118
Phone: 569-5241
email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office Hours:

MWF 4:15-6:00, Tues. 1:00-4:00, Thurs. 1:00-4:00, Sunday 3:00-6:00.

Also, feel free to stop by at other times, call me, or send me email.

Meeting Times:

Monday 7:00-8:00, Gerstacker 123


An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 2nd ed., by Andrew Liddle  (on library reserve)

Other References: Dark Side of The Universe: Dark matter, Dark Energy, and the Fate of the Cosmos by Iain Nicolson


Course Overview:

Cosmology is the study of the origins and evolution of the universe as a whole. In this short course we will explore the current standard model of cosmology (known as the Lambda-CDM model).  In this model the universe begins with a hot big bang followed by a period of extremely rapid expansion, known as inflation, followed by a much slower expansion and cooling that persists to the present day.  Current observational evidence (including cosmic background radiation, supernova studies, and galaxy rotation curves) strongly suggests that the universe is "flat" and is comprised primarily of dark energy (related to Einstein's cosmological constant Lambda) and cold dark matter (CDM).  Although cosmology is typically studied as an application of general relativity, the fundamental describing equations can be obtained from Newtonian mechanics and thermodynamics at the level of PHYS 213.

Links to pdf files:

Course Information Syllabus  

PreClass Reading Questions:

Class 01  


The Center for Engaged Ethics hosts an annual Campus Day, where students get a day off from classes to perform community service.
In March 2012, the Center for Integrated Entrepreneurship hosted the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium's idealabs 2012 competition. Several area colleges attended.
The Center for Literature and Medicine began a Disease by Performance course for the 2011-2012 academic year, where students wrote a play about autism, and performed it across the state to raise awareness.
The Center for Scientific Engagement regularly conducts research and programming at the James H. Barrow Field Station.
The Garfield Institute for Public Leadership launched a study to gauge the mood of young voters leading up to the 2012 presidential election. Scholar-in-residence Jason Johnson has provided commentary on the study on national media.
The Lindsay-Crane Center for Writing and Literature hosts a Visiting Authors Series each year. In 2012, Thrity Umrigar, author of "The Space Between Us" gave a convocation and book signing on campus.
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