Particle Physics and the Early Universe

Course content

The purpose of the course is for the students to understand the basic theories of the modern cosmology: the theory of inflation, the theory of the dark matter and the dark energy formation in combination with the physics of the cosmological gravitation waves and the black holes. The specific of the course is that in addition to the modern theoretical approaches the students will have practical experience with the data from operating space (the WMAP) and planning (the PLANCK) experiments, and particle accelerators data. This course is central for any later course or projects where an understanding of the modern cosmology is required.

In the lectures, the basic principles of the modern field theory in implementation to the fundamental problems of the modern cosmology are taught. Then, it is explained how these principles are used in the modern theory of inflation for explanation fundamental properties of the space and time. Using the prediction of the inflationary cosmology we will discuss the models of the dark matter and the dark energy in the Universe, comming to the observational tests. We will use the CMB data to understand the observational status of the inflation and perform various analytical and computation calculations , using object oriented programming.


MSc Programme in Physics

Learning outcome

To achieve the goals of the course and exam the students should know:

  • Basic principles of the Bing Bang theory. Classification of epochs of the cosmological expansion.
  • Cosmological solutions for scalar factor for different equations of state of the matter.
  • Motivation for Inflation. Basic equation of evolution of the vacuum state of the matter in the Universe.
  • Solution of fundamental problems of the cosmology in the theory of inflation ( initial conditions of inflation, particle horizon, origin of the primordial perturbations, creation of matter due to decay of inflaton)
  • Origin of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). Testing the theory of inflation by the modern CMB experiments (the WMAP and the PLANCK) .
  • Possible explanation of the origin of the Dark Matter and the Dark Energy and corresponding uncertainties.

The grade 12 is given to a student who has shown clear understanding of the theoretical and experimental aspects covered in the course, independence and initiative during the exercises, and has achieved all the goals mentioned above,
The grade 2 is given to a student who has achieved only minimally the course.

The student will after the course know the basic theories of the modern cosmology and high energy physics, and will have an experience in the gravitational waves physics.

From practical exercises the student will have gained experience in writing simple analytical and computational calculations and in analyzing and visualizing real and simulated data with computers. This course will provide the students with a competent background for further studies within this research field, i.e. a M.Sc. project.

Lectures and exercises

See Absalon for final course material. The following is an example of expected course litterature.


Edward D. Kolb and Michael Turner :” The early Universe”, Frontiers in Physics, AddisonWesley Publishing Company.
Ian Moos:” Quantum theory, black holes and inflation”, John Wiley and Sons Ltd.
P.Naselsky, D. Novikov and I. Novikov,” The physics of the Cosmic Microwave Background”, Cambridge University Press.

No special skills in math and computation are required besides those required for entering the M.Sc. programme in Physics.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 15 minutes
Students will be provided, a few weeks before the exam, with a set of questions regarding the topics of the course. The answer to one of the topics of the course will constitute the basis of a 15 minutes presentation by the students, on the day of the exam.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Practical exercises
  • 24
  • Exam
  • 8
  • Preparation
  • 132
  • English
  • 206