Y2 SiU 2012 logo

Using basic concepts of general physics, to quantitatively understand how structures form and evolve on various scales in the Universe. Open to all Y2 Physics students. No pre-requisites.


Mondays 11-12 (Poynting S06); and Thursdays 11-12 (Poynting S06), except for Monday 9 January, Monday 6 February & Thursday 9 January, when there will be no class. Instead, there are two lectures scheduled for Tuesdays 21 and 28 February at 5pm.

Lectures and handouts
Astronomical scales of time and distance. Gravitational fields and potentials. Stable systems; dynamical stability; force balance; and hydrostatic equilibrium. Thermodynamics of a star: source of stellar energy. The Virial Theorem: Application of Theorem to star formation and stellar evolution. Star formation in molecular clouds: Jeans Mass. The two-body problem: Binary stars and extrasolar planets. Properties of Galaxies: Weighing galaxies. Rotation in Systems: centre of mass;moment of inertia; Conservation of angular momentum; example of pulsars. Rotation curves of spiral galaxies and Dark matter. Cosmology: formation of structure in the early universe; the density of matter and radiation; the epoch of recombination. The Cosmic Background radiation.

Notes and books
In general, I will not distribute detailed notes: students are expected to make their own notes in class. I will hand out printed notes on a few bits of the module that are not easily accessible in textbooks. On the module website, I will indicate, for each lecture, a set of links on the web and also chapters of relevant textbooks that would be useful for following up the material covered in each lecture. You are expected to follow textbooks. Kutner and Carroll and Ostlie will be useful for various bits of the module

List of recommended Textbooks

Click for list of books- also links to websites of the individual textbooks, which have supplementary study material and other useful links.

Other Useful links

Somak Raychaudhury
Physics West 234 (somak -at- star.sr.bham.ac.uk)