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Durham University

Department of Physics

PHYS4201 Theoretical Astrophysics (2013/14)

Details of the module's prerequisites, learning outcomes, assessment and contact hours are given in the official module description in the Faculty Handbook - follow the link above.  A detailed description of the module's content is given below, together with book lists and a link to the current library catalogue entries.  For an explanation of the library's categorisation system see


Cosmic Structure Formation

Dr C. Lacey

18 Lectures in Michaelmas Term



Additional: The Origin and Evolution of Cosmic Structure, P. Coles and F. Lucchin (Wiley, 2nd Edition)


Syllabus: Cosmological perturbations, fluid equations, Jeans theory, non-baryonic dark matter, temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation, spherical collapse model, N-body simulations, statistics of galaxy clustering.

General Relativity

Prof C. Done

18 lectures in Epiphany Term


Additional: A Short Course in General Relativity, J. Forster and J.D. Nightingale (Springer)
Additional: Black Holes an Introduction, D.J. Raine and E. Thomas (Imperial College Press)

Syllabus: Gravity as curvature, tensor algebra, mathematics of curved spacetime, the Einstein equations, the Schwarzschild metric, weak field tests of general relativity, black holes. 


2 lectures in Easter Term, one by each lecturer.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 2 one-hour lectures per week

Problem exercises: See