29:98: Undergraduate Seminar:

 Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology

  Fall Semester 2004

Coordinator: Prof. Yannick Meurice

The WMAP full sky picture

                                       The microwave sky image from the WMAP mission

The WMAP full sky picture

                                          The gamma-ray sky image from EGRET


The general theme of the seminar will be the interface between astrophysics and particle physics with emphasis on recent progress in cosmology.



The seminar will meet once a week 8:30-9:20 on Tuesdays in Room 301 VAN.


 Prof. Yannick Meurice


The talks will be given in part by faculty, in part by undergraduate students and in part by external
speakers. During some weeks of the semester (see below) external speakers will give
a colloquium on Monday at 3:30 that the students taking the undergraduate seminar should attend if possible.
Students who are not able to attend the colloquium will have to read some introductory article on a related

Aug. 31: Prof. Philip Kaaret
Black Holes in X-Ray Binaries
Sept. 7: Prof. Y. Meurice
Introduction to Cosmology
Sept 14: Prof. Y. Meurice Introduction to Cosmology
Sept. 21: No seminar

Sept. 28:  Prof. Hallsie Reno
TBA, probably related to atmospheric neutrinos
Oct. 5: Prof. Martin Pohl , Iowa State Univ.
The Non-Thermal Universe
Oct. 12: Dr. Dominique Toublan, U. of Illinois Very Hot and Very Dense Matter
Oct  19: Prof. Y. Meurice
Introduction to Inflationary Cosmology
Oct. 26: Prof. Daniel Chung, Univ. of Wisconsin Connecting High Energy Theory and Cosmology
Nov. 1: Dr. Julie McEnery, Goddard
High Energy Gamma-ray Observations of Gamma-ray Bursts

Nov. 8:Prof. V. Rodgers
Strings and Geometry
Nov. 15:

Nov. 22: No seminar

Nov 29:

Dec. 6:


Main textbooks:
M. Roos, Introduction to Cosmology, Wiley, 2004.
D. Perkins, Particle Astrophysics, Oxford, 2003.
These books are on reserve at  the Physics Library.

Other Textbooks:
R. Wald, Space, Time and Gravity, The Theory of Big Bang and Black Holes, University of Chicago Press, 1992.
S. Weinberg, The First Three Minutes, Perseus Books, 1993.
A. Taylor and J. Wheeler, Exploring Black Holes, Addison-Wesley, 2000.
H. Ohanian and R. Ruffini, Gravitation and Spacetime, Norton, 1994.
K. Thorne, Black Holes and Time Warps, Norton, 1994.
C. Misner, K. Thorne and J. Wheeler, Gravitation, Freeman, 1973.
P. A. M. Dirac, General Theory of Relativity, Princeton, 1975.
S. Weinberg, Gravitation and Cosmology, Wiley, 1972.

Readings and Homeworks

A reading assignment will be provided each week in order to prepare the students for the next seminar. Students should plan on spending at least two hours/week on readings. There will be a few homework assignments (questions related to the readings). In the list given  below R = Roos and  P= Perkins (see textbooks).

On-line solutions

Aug. 23
read R: Chapter 2 and  section 3.4
Aug. 31
read R: Chapter 4
Sept. 7.
read P: Chapter 2; solve problems 2.1 , 2.2, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6
Sept. 14
read P. Chapter 1 ; solve problems 1.1 and 1.3.
Sept. 21
read P. Chapter 6 ; solve problems 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3
Sept. 28
read P. Chapter 7; attend colloquium on Monday 10/4 3:30  
Oct. 5
read P. Chapter 3; attend colloquium  on Monday 10/11 3:30; see also the  Alice
and RHIC   websites.

Oct. 12
read P. Chapter 4;
Oct. 19
read P. Chapter 5; Problems 5.1 and 5.2 attend colloquium on Monday 10/25 3:30
Oct. 26
attend colloquium on Monday 11/1 3:30


The class will be graded as S-F. Students who complete the readings, attend the seminars and become familiar with the basic material discussed will be given S.





A student suspected of plagiarism or cheating must be informed in writing as soon as possible after the incident has been observed or discovered.  Instructors who detect cheating or plagiarism may decide, in consultation with the departmental executive officer, to reduce the student's grade on the assignment or the course, even to assign an F. The instructor writes an account of the chronology of the plagiarism or cheating incident for the DEO (Associate Chair), who sends an endorsement of the written report of the case to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, CLAS. A copy of the report will be sent to the student.

A detailed policy is printed in the Schedule of Courses and the College's Student Academic Handbook.