3K: The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
- R. B. Partridge
This is a course on cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropies in the standard cosmological model, designed for beginning graduate students and advanced undergraduates. “Standard cosmological model” in this context means a Universe dominated by some form of cold dark matter (CDM) with adiabatic perturbations generated at some initial epoch, e.g., Inflation, and left to evolve under gravity alone (which distinguishes it from defect models). The course is primarily theoretical and concerned with the physics of CMB anisotropies in this context and their relation to structure formation. Brief presentations of the uniform Big Bang model and of the observed large–scale structure of the Universe are given. The bulk of the course then focuses on the evolution of small perturbations to the uniform model and on the generation of temperature anisotropies in the CMB. The theoretical development is performed in the (pseudo–)Newtonian gauge because it aids intuitive understanding by providing a quick reference to classical (Newtonian) concepts. The fundamental goal of the course is not to arrive at a highly exact nor exhaustive calculation of the anisotropies, but rather to a good understanding of the basic physics that goes into such calculations.