University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Ast 8110.001

Topics in Astrophysics: Understanding Supernovae

Session: Fall 2018 (9/04-12/12)
Instructor: Liliya L.R. Williams (e-mail: llrw @
Time: 1430 MW
Location: Tate Hall B85

The course will concentrate on two topics in cosmology: formation of the large scale structure in the Universe, and gravitational lensing and its applications. The course will cover the evolution of structure in the early Universe, growth of super- and sub-horizon sized perturbations, transfer function, linear theory of gravitational
instability, evolution of mass clustering, statistics of discrete objects, Cold, hot and warm dark matter, and means of measuring mass inhomogeneities. Gravitational lensing is a rapidly growing and wide-reaching field within modern astrophysics and cosmology. In the last 2 decades it has grown from a niche topic to a versatile and indispensable tool. It is now utilized in the studies of planets(finding exoplanets using microlensing), stars (measuring limb
darkening, masses, radii, motions of stars), galaxies and clusters of galaxies (mapping out detailed distribution and clumpiness of dark matter, and constraining properties of dark matter particles), and the distribution of mass on the largest cosmological scales (using distant galaxies, and Cosmic Microwave Background as sources). Lensing is often used for its magnifying power to examine highest redshift
galaxies (using clusters of galaxies as telescopes), as well as accretion disks around supermassive black holes (using microlensing by stars in external galaxies). About half of the course will be lectures (interspersed throughout the semester), the rest will be seminar-style discussions of current literature, lead by students.

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