Relativity and Cosmology 2

course ID





14 Weeks

Semester DD


Course details

Gravitational instabilities in the newtonian limit. Jeans wavelength. Diffusion and free-streaming phenomena. Correlation function and power spectrum of density fluctuations. Gaussian statistic and initial conditions. Evolution of the power spectrum in cosmological models dominated by Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Galaxy correlation function. Dipole anisotropy of the cosmic background and the "great attractor". Intensity and polarization anisotropies of the CMB. Sachs-Wolfe effect. Results from the COBE, WMAP, Planck satellites. Forthcoming ground-based and space-borne CMB polarization experiments.


Knowledge of modern theories for the large scale structure formation in the universe. Knowledge of the basic statistic tools, e.g. correlation function and power spectrum, in the framework of Gaussian stochastic processes. Knowledge of the cosmological models dominated by dark matter and dark energy. Skills aimed to characterize primordial density fluctuation, their evolution and their test against observations. Knowledge of the main processes responsible for CMB anisotropies, in the context of general relativity. Skills aimed to the interpretation of the COBE, WMAP, Planck satellites main results on the temperature anisotropy of the Cosmic Microwave Background, and of the most recent redshift surveys.

The course includes activities for mentoring between equals performed weekly in the second half of the semester. The experience of the past years has been quite positive. The formal verification of the learning outcomes carried out at the end of the course with an oral examination. During the exam, it is required that the student has a knowledge of the program carried out during the course, but also the ability to perform logical connections between the different parts of the course and also with elements already acquired in other courses.

The course consists of a theoretical training base, necessary to acquire all the necessary mathematical instruments. In the second half of the course, it pays great attention to the experimental and/or observational aspects that validate the development of the theoretical first part. It is required that the student is capable of handling the mathematical instruments to formulate specific predictions for some observable. This close connection between mathematical tool and observations has demonstrated over the years to help the student to have a full comprehension of the course content, also regarding its more formal parts.

The course provides the use of a certain number of text books, trying to emphasize the complementarity of different approaches to the topics under study. In addition to books, for some more specific topics, the student are provided with scientific articles and/or review to get him use to a less scholastic and more research-oriented reading.

The course is normally held in English. The final exam may be held either in Italian or English. In any case, the aim is also to ensure, in addition to the specific knowledge of the program, the ability to present in a synthetic but also comprehensive way the subject matter of the examination.

The content of the course covers different aspects ranging from General Relativity to statistical mechanics, to nuclear physics and plasma physics. Students are thus forced to become familiar with different techniques easily used also in other fields of physics.