Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

Videresend til en ven Resize Print Bookmark and Share

Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Gravitational dynamics and galaxy formation

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 3
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsibles
  • Johan Peter Uldall Fynbo (6-726e81766a7748766a7136737d366c73)
  • Steen Harle Hansen (6-7069767b6d7648766a7136737d366c73)
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Course number: NFYK15014U

Course content

The course will cover the most important ideas in the field of galaxy formation and chemical enrichment. We will discuss primordial density fluctuations, linear and nonlinear growth of pertubations, violent relaxation, reionization of the intergalactic medium, observations of high-redshift galaxies. In parallel we will work with the properties of structures (consisting of dark matter, stars, and/or gas) formed by gravity.

Learning outcome


  • the most likely origin of primordial density fluctuations
  • how pertubations grow during the radiation, matter and dark energy dominated phases of the cosmic history
  • methods by which to observationally detect high-redshift galaxies and their limitations and biases.
  • Dark matter, stellar and gas structures. Their properties, creation and development.
  • Hydrostatic equilibrium, and its application on galaxies and galaxy clusters.
  • Jeans equation, the solution hereof, and application on realistic systems.
  • Equilibrium of collisionsless systems, Boltzmann equation. Potential theory. Stellar motions.
  • Jeans theorem. Eddingtons method for equlibrated structures.
  • Phase mixing and violent relaxation. Dynamical friction.



  • Account for the most likely origin of primordial density fluctuations
  • the ability to derive from first principles how linear pertubations grow during the radiation, matter and dark energy dominated phases of the cosmic history.
  • the ability to estimate chemical abundances from spectra of high-redshift quasars and gamma-ray bursts
  • Deep insight and certain application of the basic equations for cosmological structures.
  • Superior description of the physics responsible for the structure of cosmological structures, including motions of stars, phase mixing, violent relaxation and dynamical friction.
  • Detailed knowledge of the solutions of the Jeans equation, and its application to realistic systems.
  • Detailed knowledge of the application of hydrostatic equilibrium for realistic systems.
  • The ability to critically interpret scientific overview articles within the subject.



This course will provide the student with a qualitative understanding of cosmological structures. The student will also develop the conceptual, mathematical and numerical skills needed when studying the literature within the subject and in wider astrophysical connections. The course will establish a solid foundation for a M.Sc. project in phenomenological, theoretical or observational astrophysics.

Recommended prerequisites

equivalent to the content of the first four astronomy specialization courses in the B.Sc.

Sign up


As an exchange, guest and credit student - click here!

Continuing Education - click here!


M.Sc. Physics


Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


Johan Fynbo, Steen H. Hansen


1 block


---- SKEMA LINK ----

Teaching and learning methods

lectures, exercises, student presentations


no restriction




Houjon Mo, Frank van den Bosch: Galaxy Formation and Evolution. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0-521-85793-2, samt noter.


Category Hours
Lectures 40
Exercises 40
Preparation 126
English 206


Type of assessment

Oral examination, 30 minutes
oral exam with exam questions known beforehand. 30 minutes including grading. No preparation time.


Only certain aids allowed

the student may bring a piece of paper for each exam question.

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

see "learning outcome"

Censorship form

No external censorship
Mere information om kurset
Er du BA- eller KA-studerende?
Er du bachelor- eller kandidat-studerende, så find dette kursus i kursusbasen for studerende:

Kursusinformation for indskrevne studerende