PHYS 862: The Early Universe & Multimessenger Astrophysics

Instructor: Prof. Aaron Vincent

Meeting Times:

School's out (but not forever)

Location: Registered students should contact me for the course location

Course Outline

  1. Intro/overview
  2. The smooth expanding Universe
  3. Thermodynamics and expansion
  4. Beyond equilibrium: Nucleosynthesis, Freeze-out, Recombination
  5. Cosmological perturbations
  6. Inflation
  7. Cosmic rays and neutrinos
  8. Dark matter detection
  9. gravitational waves (?)


Assignments are on holiday




Lecture 1 slides

Part 1: Expansion, Thermodynamics 
(high-contrast version)

Part 2: Boltzmann Equation, BBN 
(high-contrast version)

Cosmic Rays

Direct detection of Dark matter

Indirect detection of dark matter

Part 3: Cosmological perturbations I  (high-contrast version)

Part 4: Perturbations II 
 (high-contrast version)

Part 5: Perturbations III

Part 6: Inflation


References I will be drawing from

S. Dodelson, Modern Cosmology

E. Kolb and M. Turner, The Early Universe

V. Mukhanov, Physical Foundations of Cosmology

Sigl, Astroparticle Physics: Theory and Phenomenology

Some online resources

Edmond Bertschinger’s Introduction to Tensor Calculus for GR

Antony Lewis’s Homepage (very nice Cosmology and EU notes)

Julien Lesgourgues’s TASI lectures on perturbations

LCDM Cosmology for Astronomers

Bayesian methods in Cosmology

General Course Information

Required text: You are not required to purchase a textbook, but since I will be drawing most heavily on Dodelson, I recommend having a copy on hand. My handwritten course notes will be posted here semi-regularly.


There are no specific course prerequisites. Since this is a graduate course, you will be expected to have some background experience in special relativity, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics.


  • 4-5 Problem sets (65%)
  • 10% Participation in class + reading and discussion of selected papers. I’ll ask for a short summary + some questions in advance each time. 
  • 25% Final project + presentation