This course prepares the student for state-of-the-art research in galaxy formation and evolution. The course focusses on the physical processes underlying the formation and evolution of galaxies in a LCDM cosmology. Topics include Newtonian perturbation theory, the spherical collapse model, formation and structure of dark matter haloes (including Press-Schechter theory), the virial theorem, dynamical friction, cooling processes, theory of star formation, feedback processes, elements of stellar population synthesis, chemical evolution modeling, AGN, and supermassive black holes. The course also includes a detailed treatment of statistical tools used to describe the large scale distribution of galaxies and introduces the student to the concepts of galaxy bias and halo occupation modeling. During the final lectures we will discuss a number of outstanding issues in galaxy formation, and the students will present and discuss their term paper on a current topic in the field of galaxy formation & evolution.

Lecture hours:  M-W 9.00 – 10.15am  [room TBD]

Office hours:  by appointment only

Syllabus: Click here for download

Grading:   40% final exam

                       – 30% problem sets

                       – 15% term paper   [List of Topics]

– 15% in class presentation

For more information, use the Yale Canvas System.

Problem Sets

Lecture Notes

PDFs of the lecture notes are available for download by clicking on the pdf links. During the 2020 Fall semester ASTR 610 was given via zoom because of the ongoing Covid-pandemic. These lectures were recorded and subsequently edited to remove Q&A with students. Links to the video lectures are available.

  • [1]  Introduction; Galaxy Formation in a Nutshell    [video, pdf]
  • [2]  Cosmology (Riemannian geometry, FRW metric)   [video, pdf]
  • [3]  Cosmology (General Relativity, Friedmann equations)  [video, pdf]
  • [4]  Structure Formation in the Linear Regime I: Introduction  [video, pdf]
  • [5]  Structure Formation in the Linear Regime II: Baryons  [video, pdf]
  • [6]  Structure Formation in the Linear Regime III: Dark Matter  [video, pdf]
  • [7]  Transfer Function & Cosmic Microwave Background  [video, pdf]
  • [8]  Non-Linear Collapse & Relaxation  [video, pdf]
  • [9]  Press-Schechter Theory & Halo Mass Functions [video, pdf]
  • [10]  Merger Trees & Halo Bias   [video, pdf]
  • [11]  Structure of Dark Matter Halos  [video1, video2, pdf]
  • [12]  Large Scale Structure   [video, pdf]
  • [13]  The Halo Model & Halo Occupation Statistics  [video1, video2, pdf]
  • [14]  Galaxy Interactions & Transformations  [video, pdf]
  • [15]  Cooling & Photo-Ionization Heating  [video, pdf]
  • [16]  Star Formation  [video1, video2, pdf]
  • [17]  Supernova Feedback  [video, pdf]
  • [18]  Structure & Formation of Disk Galaxies   [video, pdf]
  • [19]  Structure & Formation of Elliptical Galaxies  [video, pdf]
  • [20] Numerical Simulations  [video, pdf]
  • Summary: a collection of summary slides [pdf]

Structure Formation in a Nutshell

This slide summarizes the basic principles of structure/galaxy formation in a LCDM cosmology. It serves as a useful reference point for many of the topics discussed in more detail in this course.