Introduction to Physical Cosmology

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The course is suitable to IV and V year students of the Physics Laurea Course. No specific prerequisites are necessary as the Course will start from the basic cosmological foundations. If required by even a single student, the course will be taught in Englidh.


Starting from the basic principles of cosmology we will introduce the key kinematic and dynamical properties of the Friedmann cosmological model. We will discuss the treatment of the cosmic recombination process, the linear theory of perturbations and their statistical properties, followed by the study of the non-linear phases of their evoltuion. These issues will be preliminary to the study of galaxy formation and of the large scale structure of the early universe. We will treat in detail the fundamental physical processes governing these cosmic phases, as e.g. radiative processes, the formation and the role of molecules, the radiative transport, shock waves and others. In addition we will devote some attention to the effects of galaxy formation on cosmological scales as cosmic reionization, heavy element enrichment of the intergalactic medium and varioud feedback processes. These topics will be treated with particular focus on their theoretical aspects, but ample space will be given to the implications and critical analysis of the available experimental data. The last part of the course will bring students in close contact with the open problems in the context of current research in the field; in particular the physics of cosmic microwave background and cosmic inflation will be discussed in detail. These issues will be further explored during the seminar proposed as a final test.

Educational aims

Provide the physical basis for understanding cosmology, with particular regard to the formation of cosmic structures over a wide range of spacial and temporal scales. The preparation and the typology of the final exam will make it possible to get in touch with the advanced and open problems in the field, thus favoring students who are interested in rapidly enable frontier research on related research topics.

Bibliographical references

  • Peebles, J., 1993, Principles of Physical Cosmology, Princeton Univ. Press
  • Padmanabhan, T., 1993, Structure Formation in the Universe, Cambridge Univ. Press
  • Ferrara, A., 2006, First Light in the Universe, Saas-Fee Lectures 2006, Springer
  • Mo et al., 2010, Galaxy Formation and Evolution, Cambridge Univ. Press