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PHY3042 : Cosmology

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Danielle Leonard
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To enable students to gain an understanding of the standard cosmological model (describing the constituents, history, and large-scale physical laws of the Universe), as well as how astronomical observations inform our understanding of this model.

Outline Of Syllabus

Describing an expanding Universe:
The Friedmann, acceleration & fluid equations,
Spatial curvature,
Radiation and matter in the Universe,
The cosmological constant,
Distances in an expanding Universe.

The early Universe:
Cosmic microwave background radiation,
Big-bang nucleosynthesis,

Our standard cosmological model and modern observational cosmology:
The LCDM (Lambda – Cold Dark Matter) Model,
Cosmic microwave background anisotropies,
The matter power spectrum.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Problem classes – Present in Person
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion28:0016:00Completion of in course assignments
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials201:0020:00Structured and guided content
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study421:0042:00Practice problems and exam revision
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time111:0011:00Problem classes – Synchronous online
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module uses a “flipped classroom” mode of delivery: structured and guided content (consisting of short videos and readings) are used for the initial delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples. These materials are to be engaged with asynchronously with clear milestones to be achieved each week. In-person and synchronous online classes following the same timeline are used to identify and correct stumbling blocks in asynchronous material, explore challenging topics in more depth, answer questions, and develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. This flipped classroom model allows contact time to be used most efficiently, focussing on practicing and exploring more challenging material in the interactive environment.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M10Problem-solving exercises
Prob solv exercises2M10Problem-solving exercises
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework assignments allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

In the event of on-campus examinations not being possible, an on-line alternative assessment will be used for written examination 1.

Reading Lists