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    Over the last two decades, we have witnessed the development of the "Standard Model of Cosmology", which represents a well-defined physical model of the origin and evolution of the Universe and structures therein. The model is characterized by a few parameters, which are now known to high precision thanks to a wealth of new data of different cosmological probes. While there are virtually no cosmological observations that disagree with the model on large scales, there remains some tension on small scales. Those may either signal new physics beyond the standard model of particle physics or point to our incomplete understanding of the underlying astrophysics. The lectures will explain the simple principles of the model that allow a consistent description of cosmic history and show the breathtaking consequences that draw from it - arguably one of the astonishing cultural heritages of mankind. The lectures are complemented by a seminar that discusses the problems of the otherwise so successful standard model and shows how those are addressed by contemporary research.

    The contents of this lecture are coordinated with the lecture "Observing the Big Bang", which displays the model's empirical basis, while here the physics is emphasized. It begins, where modern cosmology branches off General Relativity, but does not require it as a prerequisite. The lecture aims at students who

    • wish to extend and deepen their understanding of theoretical physics;
    • are interested in astronomy and astrophysics; or
    • (intend to) carry out a masters thesis or Ph.D. dissertation on an astronomical or astrophysical subject.

    The lectures will be held in English because they are part of the Masters programme. Advanced Bachelor students are welcome. The lectures take place every Thursday, 14:15pm to 16pm at the "kleiner Hörsaal" at Philosophenweg 12, starting on October 16, 2014. The exercise classes take place every Friday from 11am to 12pm at Philosophenweg 12, room 105. The associated Seminar on "Contemporary Research in Cosmology" is supervised by Dr. Joe Hennawi and Prof. Dr. Björn Malte Schäfer and takes place after the lectures on Thursday, 16pm to 18pm at Philosophenweg 12, room 060.

    The lectures are based on a revised lecture notes originally written by Prof. Dr. Bartelmann and is available as a PDF file. The lectures "Introductory Astronomy", "Observing the Big Bang", and "General Relativity" are useful but not required. Materials for download are offered for all of them.


    • The homogeneous Universe:
      • Geometry and dynamics
      • Parameters, age, and distances
      • Thermal evolution
      • Recombination and nucleosynthesis

    • The inhomogeneous Universe:
      • The growth of perturbations
      • Statistics and non-linear evolution
      • Spherical collapse
      • Halo formation as a random walk

    • The early Universe:
      • Structures in the cosmic microwave background
      • Cosmological inflation
      • Dark energy

    • The late Universe:
      • Galaxies and gas
      • Galaxy clusters
      • Gravitational lensing

    Homework Assignments

    1. Assignment 1 - Due Oct 24 2014.
    2. Assignment 2 - Due Oct 31 2014.
    3. Assignment 3 - Due Nov 7 2014.
    4. Assignment 4 - Due Nov 14 2014.
    5. Assignment 5 - Due Nov 21 2014.
    6. Assignment 6 - Due Nov 28 2014.
    7. Assignment 7 - Due Dec 5 2014.
    8. Assignment 8 - Due Dec 12 2014.
    9. Assignment 9 - Due Dec 19 2014.
    10. Assignment 10 - Due Jan 9 2015.
    11. Assignment 11 - Due Jan 16 2015.
    12. Assignment 12 - Due Jan 23 2015.

    If you want to obtain credit points, please sign up for the exercise classes here.

    Credit Points:

    Grades and credit points are given on the basis of homework assignements, final in-class exam, and the presentation of a scientific paper in the Seminar on "Contemporary Research in Cosmology".


    • Bartelmann, M.: Lectures on Cosmology
    • Peacock, J.: Cosmological physics. Cambridge University Press
    • Peebles, P.J.E.: Principles of physical cosmology. Princeton University Press
    • Padmanabhan, T.: Structure formation in the universe. Cambridge University Press
    • Kolb, E.; Turner, M.: The Early Universe. Westview Press
    • Liddle, A.R.; Lyth, D.H.: Cosmological Inflation and Large Scale Structure. Cambridge University Press