Revisionist (Thermal) History of the Universe

Well, today saw my last teaching session on my Cardiff University module Physics of the Early Universe. It was actually an optional revision lecture, during which I went through questions on last year’s examination paper, some matters arising therefrom and some general tips on `examination technique’. The latter included advice that seems obvious – such as `read the question carefully’ and `check your numerical answers’ – but that surprisingly many students seem not to have heard before or, if they have, choose not to follow!

Anyway, I hope the students who came today found it useful and I hope that they (and indeed everyone else taking examinations over the next few weeks) do themselves proper justice and get the results they need for whatever comes next in their plans.

The Physics of the Early Universe paper is a couple of weeks ago so no doubt I’ll get a few more queries to deal with before then.

I thought I’d give an idea of the stuff I’ve been teaching here by including one of the questions from last year’s paper. I thought this was quite an easy one, actually, but the students seemed to find it tricky while they mostly coped well with the other questions, which I thought were harder. One of the challenges of teaching is that it’s often hard to see what other people find difficult! See what you think. You don’t really need to know much cosmology to do this:

Anyway, today was not only the last teaching session for this particular module – it’s also the last teaching session I’ll ever conduct in the UK university system. Best wishes to whoever it is that teaches this module next year when I’m in Ireland.

3 Responses to “Revisionist (Thermal) History of the Universe”

  1. Dark Matter Says:

    Seems bit difficult to me. Is it for B.Sc/M.Sc students?

    • telescoper Says:

      It’s for MSc and 4th year MPhys students.

      • Dark Matter Says:

        In my extremely limited experience, if at all it counts, most students can reproduce derivation done in class but find it relatively difficult to apply these concepts.

        Maybe because cosmology is an applied science needs a “basic” understanding of many areas of Physics e.g. GR, StatMech, ED, QM. I found it difficult when I joined as a PhD student. And, not only this, some of us came from theoretical physics who knew
        some physics but had to learn astrophysics, statistics and programming.

        At least there are many good cosmology books.

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