CMB Physics, fall 2007

Lecturer: Hannu Kurki-Suonio, office hour Th 10-11, C328
Assistant: Torsti Poutanen, C329

Lectures: We 12-14 and Th 14-16 (Physicum A315)
Exercises: Th 12-14, A315

The first lecture is on Wednesday, Sep 5th. The last lecture in 2007 is on Wednesday, Dec 19th. Final lecture on Friday, Feb 8th, 2008, at 14-16 (in A315).

This is an advanced course on the physics of the cosmic microwave background. The course is aimed at cosmology graduate students interested in the cosmic microwave background and what it can tell us about cosmology. This topic is very timely due to the ongoing WMAP satellite observations, and the Planck satellite, which will be launched in fall 2008. The lecturer and assistant are members of the Planck satellite project.

Prerequisites (recommended): Statistical Physics I, Cosmology I+II, General Relativity. Knowledge of general relavity is essential for being able to understand the course. If you haven't taken Cosmology I+II, you could read Chapters 2, 3, 4 (luminosity distance not needed), 5, Sections 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, and 11.6, and the beginning of Chapter 12 of my Cosmology lecture notes, available from the Cosmology homepage. (We'll be redoing Chapter 12 material at a deeper level in this course.) From Statistical Physics we need the concepts of a distribution function (in 1-particle phase space) and Boltzmann equations. If you don't know these, you'll learn them here.

Contents: Cosmological perturbation theory. Scalar, vector, and tensor perturbations. Gauges. Cosmic microwave background. Anisotropy. Polarization. Stokes parameters. Temperature and polarization angular power spectra. Boltzmann equations. Line-of-sight integration. Initial conditions. Primordial power spectra. Transfer functions. Physics of the CMB angular power spectra. Effect of cosmological parameters.
The course does not follow any textbook, although some material will be from S. Dodelson: Modern Cosmology (Academis Press 2003). Lecture notes (in English) will be made available.
Some literature:
[1] S. Dodelson: Modern Cosmology (Academic Press 2003). Errata. (In the reference library)
[2] A.R. Liddle and D.H. Lyth: Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure (Cambridge University Press 2000), Chapters 14 and 15. Check the errata!
[3] C.-P. Ma and E. Bertschinger: Cosmological Perturbation Theory in the Synchronous and Conformal Newtonian Gauges, ApJ 455, 7 (1995). You can get it from NASA ADS.
[4] W. Hu and M. White: CMB anisotropies: Total angular momentum method, PRD 56, 596 (1997) , A CMB Polarization Primer, astro-ph/9706147 (the first article has the math, the second one provides some illustration)
[5] P. Cabella and M. Kamionkowski: Theory of Cosmic Microwave Background Polarization, astro-ph/0403392


I lectured a similar course in fall 2004. I anticipate that about half of the material will be from that course, and about half will be new. In particular I will now discuss polarization and tensor perturbations, topics not covered in 2004.
As with the previous course, the exact content is not known beforehand, as I am creating the course while lecturing it. From the contents list, topics up to and including Boltzmann equations will be covered thoroughly, the rest will depend on how much time there's left after that. I start with cosmological perturbation theory. See my notes on this topic from the 2004 course. The figures are here.

Lecture notes:
G. Cosmological Perturbation Theory, 4.10.07 version (LaTeX, 2+34 pages, 300 KB pdf) with figures.
The rest of the lecture notes are hand written, and became available in the CMB Physics binder in hall A201 as the course progressed.
Scanned lecture notes
Angular power spectra calculated with CAMB (by A-S. Sirviö) - Figures for Section L10:
Optical depth to last scattering surface: Fig 1, Fig 2
Vector and tensor perturbations: Fig 3, Fig 4, Fig 5, Fig 6
Lensing: Fig 7, Fig 8
Total density parameter: Fig 9, Fig 10
Vacuum energy: Fig 11, Fig 12
Spectral index: Fig 13, Fig 14
Baryon density: Fig 15, Fig 16
Matter density: Fig 17, Fig 18

Homework problem sets:

Homework 1
Homework 2
Homework 3
Homework 4
Homework 5
Homework 6
Homework 7
Homework 8 (the last one!)

Codes to calculate the CMB spectra:

Last updated: February 28th, 2008.

The above angular power spectrum projections (TT, TE, EE, and BB) for Planck are from the Planck Bluebook, available at the Planck Science Team Home page.