
Course unit
THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE
SCP7081677, A.A. 2019/20
Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20
ECTS: details
Type 
ScientificDisciplinary Sector 
Credits allocated 
Core courses 
FIS/05 
Astronomy and Astrophysics 
6.0 
Course unit organization
Period 
First semester 
Year 
1st Year 
Teaching method 
frontal 
Type of hours 
Credits 
Teaching hours 
Hours of Individual study 
Shifts 
Lecture 
6.0 
48 
102.0 
No turn 
Examination board
Examination board not defined
Prerequisites:

Fundamental concepts of quantum mechanics and special relativity 
Target skills and knowledge:

The ability to deal with a class of physical and astronomical phenomena whose interpretation requires an approach based on largely interdisciplinary tools.
The ability to pass from the abstract formulation of a set of physical principles and mathematical tools  acquired from the bachelor courses  to their implementation in a different context w.r.t. that of fundamental classes of the bachelor degree. 
Examination methods:

Oral interview. 
Assessment criteria:

The oral interview is aimed at testing the ability of the student to elaborate on the various subjects covered by the course, starting from a few basic principles. 
Course unit contents:

Fundamental concepts of galactic and extragalactic astrophysics
• The classification of galaxies
• Statistical properties of the galaxy population
• Groups and clusters of galaxies
Fundamental concepts of Cosmology
* Main components of the Universe. Observational evidence for the existence of dark matter and dark energy.
* Expanding Universe and Cosmological Principle.
* RobertsonWalker lineelement. Geometrical properties.
* Hubble constant and deceleration parameter.
* Distances in Cosmology; redshift and Hubble law (lowredshift approximation).
* Derivation of Friedmann equations (dust case); Newtonian and relativistic contributions
* Friedmann models.
* Cosmological constant: Einstein's static solution and de Sitter solution. Dynamical dark energy
* Cosmological solutions for the spatially flat case. Universe models with non zero spatial curvature.
• Exact treatment of the Hubble law.
Thermal history and early Universe
* Number density, energy density and pressure of a system of particles in thermodynamic equilibrium.
* Entropy conservation in a comoving volume.
* Timetemperature relation in the Early Universe.
* Shortcomings of the standard cosmological model: horizon, flatness problems, etc.
* Inflation in the Early Universe: solution of the horizon and flatness problems.
• Kinematics and dynamics of inflation; the "inflaton".
• Old, new and chaotic inflation; slowroll dynamics (basic account).
* Baryon asymmetry in the Universe (basic account)
• Primordial nucleosynthesis of light elements.
* Hydrogen recombination: Saha equation. Matterradiation decoupling. Cosmic Microwave background.
* General definition of decoupling.
Dark matter: general properties
* Boltzmann equation in Cosmology and cosmic relics.
* Hot/Cold/Warm Dark matter: definition, present abundance and general cosmological properties.
Elements of stellar astrophysics
* Gravitational contraction and conditions for hydrostatic equilibrium.
* Adiabatic index and equilibrium.
* Conditions for gravitational collapse.
* Jeans theory of gravitational instability.
* Contraction of a protostar.
* Star formation and degenerate electron gas.
* The Sun: general properties, radiative diffusion, thermonuclear fusion.
* Stellar nucleosynthesis.
* Stellar cycles.
* HertzsprungRussell diagram.
* Basics of stellar structure. Clayton model: Minimum mass of a star; maximum mass for a MainSequence star.
* Endpoints of stellar evolution: white dwarfs, neutron stars, Chandrasekhar mass, black holes.
The formation of cosmic structures
* Linear evolution of perturbations in the expanding Universe (basic principles).
* Spherical collapse of a cosmic protostructure.
* Massfunction of cosmic structures: PressSchechter theory. 
Planned learning activities and teaching methods:

Classrooms. 
Additional notes about suggested reading:

Besides the relevant chapters of the indicated textbooks (which will be further specified during the classes), professor's notes on many subjects covered during the course will be provided as online material. 
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings) 

Coles P., Lucchin F., Cosmology, The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure.. Chichester: Wiley and Sons, 2002.

Kolb E.W., Turner M., The Early Universe. Redwood City: AddisonWesley, 1990.

Mo H., van den Bosch F. White S., Galaxy Formation and Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Phillips A.C., The Physics of Stars. Chichester: Wiley and Sons, 1994.


