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Astrophysics and Cosmology

Key Information

Module code
ISSU1065
Taught during
Session 1
Module leader
Dr Ioannis Koutsonas
Pre-requisites
GPA of around 3.3/4.0 (US) or equivalent
Assessment method
Weekly coursework (30%), Presentation (20%), Exam (50%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

Astrophysics and Cosmology provide the most fascinating and far reaching endeavours of human intellect. As the title suggest this intensive module is to provide a sound introduction to the main concepts and body of evidence that underlie our current understanding of the origin, structure and evolution of the Universe.

The module in its scope, aims to offer exposure to the fundamental principles of special and general relativity and their significance to the evolution of the Cosmos. Topics such as stellar interiors, classification and evolution along with galaxy dynamics will be discussed in some detail. The module will culminate with descriptions of current cosmological models and touch up on recent developments of the much discussed dark matter and dark energy mysteries and what they entail to the evolution of the Universe.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Acquire working knowledge of the law of gravitation in order to be able to draw conclusions about stellar structure and simple cosmological models.
  • Appreciate the fact that concepts such as space and time are not absolute but relative and matter and energy are equivalent forms to each other. Become comfortable in using these concepts to a reasonable extent.
  • Appreciate that the constituents of matter were created at the cores of stars.
  • Develop an understanding of the scale of the Universe from very small to very large.
  • Become philosophically enquiring.

Module prerequisites

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). Students must have completed one year of undergraduate study. No prior subject knowledge is required for this module, but students are expected to have a keen interest in the area.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.

Assessment

  • Weekly coursework (30%)
  • Oral presentation (20%)
  • Final Exam (50%)

Module leader

Dr Ioannis Koutsonas formative education is in Physics with Astrophysics (B.Sc. Hons - University of Birmingham) and in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces (M.Sc - Imperial College London). He conducted research in Nanotechnology and Micro-devices at the University of Birmingham from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2009. Dr Koutsonas has taught Physics and Engineering for over ten years, in various contexts and levels at the Universities of Birmingham, Queen Mary University as well as a number of six form colleges. He has been a lecturer in Physics at the UPCSE program since 2010. His research interests fall in the frame of Particle Theory, Cosmology and up to date applications of Nanotechnology.

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