"Classic papers" course

Cosmology & extragalactic astronomy

Take this course

Course description
  • Course contents
    • The purpose of the course is to become familiar with seminal papers in the field of astrophysics and cosmology — the papers that everybody knows and cites, but never really read in-depth.
    • Note that the course is a so-called "special syllabus"; a maximum of 10 ECTS is allowed for special syllabi plus external courses.

  • Learning outcome
    • When you have completed the course, you will have a knowledge of the basics of important contributions to astrophysics. The actual chosen papers will depend on the preferences of the attendees, but will focus on galaxies and cosmology. A list of suggestion for papers is found below.
    • As an important part of the course is presenting the papers, as well as receiving feedback, the students will also become comfortable with speaking about topics that are somewhat outside their own studies — something which will be valuable as a future scientist.

  • Teaching
    • The course runs over a semester. We will meet bi-weekly for 2 hours. The students will take turns on giving a presentation of the paper, which will then lead to a discussion. All students are expected to participate actively, e.g. by having prepared questions. There may also be small assignments to solve.
    • Compulsory attendance.

Formal requirements
  • Admission and prerequisites
    • Students can sign up for the course by writing directly to me at email.
    • Students must hold a Master's degree in physics or astronomy.

  • Evaluation and examination
    • The course is passed by
      1. participating actively in all discussions,
      2. presenting a number of papers (depending on how many students are attending the course), and
      3. passing an oral exam
    • After completion of the course, there will be an oral exam where the student draws a random paper from the course and presents it.
List of classic papers

Click table headers to sort table; click reference to go to paper.

Note that "Citations" sorts according to first digit; I haven't been able to code this up properly.

Authors Ref. Citations (July 2019) Key words Description
Bacon, Refregier & Ellis 2000, MNRAS, 318, 625 445 Cosmology; gravity Detection of weak gravitational lensing
Blumenthal et al. 1984, Nature, 311, 517 1277 Galaxies; dark matter Galaxy formation with dark matter
Bond & Efstathiou 1984, ApJ, 285L, 45 754 Cosmology; CMB CMB fluctuations in a CDM universe (no Lambda)
Bond & Efstathiou 1987, MNRAS, 226, 655 613 Cosmology; CMB CMB fluctuations; methods used today
Burbridge et al. 1957, RvMP, 29, 547 2268 Stars Synthesis of the elements in stars
Davis & Lineweaver 2004, PASA, 21, 97 102 Cosmology; expansion Misconceptions of the expansion of the Universe
Dicke et al. 1965, ApJ, 142, 414 382 Cosmology; CMB Interpretation of the CMB
Dressler 1980, ApJ, 236, 351 2730 Galaxies Galaxy morphology, formation, and evolution
Eggen, Lynden-Bell & Sandage 1962, ApJ, 136, 748 1891 Galaxies Formation of the Galaxy (but sort of wrong)
Eisenstein et al. 2005, ApJ, 633, 560 2961 Structure formation Detection of the baryonic acoustic oscillations
Freeman 1970, ApJ, 160, 811 2129 Galaxies Explanation of the exponential disk of spirals and S0
Gunn & Peterson 1965, ApJ, 142, 1633 1173 Cosmology Erasure of light blueward of the Lya line
Heckman et al. 1990, ApJS, 74, 833 1091 Galaxies Galactic outflows
Hu 1995, PhD thesis 32 Cosmology; CMB The origin of the CMB power spectrum peaks
Lynden-Bell 1967, MNRAS, 136, 101 1326 Structure formation Relaxation in stellar systems (and dark matter halos)
Navarro, Frenk, & White 1996, ApJ, 462, 563 5185 Dark matter The NFW profile I
Navarro, Frenk, & White 1997, ApJ, 490, 493 6693 Dark matter The NFW profile II
Oke & Gunn 1983, ApJ, 266, 713 1789 Stars AB magnitude definition
Partridge & Peebles 1967, ApJ, 147, 868 399 Galaxies The visibility of young galaxies
Penzias & Wilson 1965, ApJ, 142, 419 1145 Cosmology; CMB Discovery of the CMB
Planck Collab. et al. 2018, arXiv:180706205 136 Cosmology; CMB Latest Planck results
Press & Schechter 1974, ApJ, 187, 425 3689 Structure formation Structure formation in the early Universe
Riess et al. 1998, AJ, 116, 1009 11652 Cosmology; expansion Observational evidence for accelerated expansion
Sachs & Wolfe 1967, ApJ, 147, 73 1607 Cosmology; CMB CMB fluctuations; Sachs-Wolfe effect
Salpeter 1955, ApJ, 121, 161 6190 Stars The initial mass function
Schechter 1976, ApJ, 203, 297 2606 Galaxies The luminosity function
Seljak & Zaldarriaga 1996, ApJ, 469, 437 1893 Cosmology; CMB CMB fluctuations; methods used today
Shu, Adams, & Lizano 1987, AR&A, 25, 23 2252 Stars Star formation in molecular clouds
Telfer et al. 2002, ApJ, 565, 773 461 Galaxies Quasar template spectrum
Toomre & Toomre 1972, ApJ, 178, 623 2401 Galaxies Theoretical explanation of galaxy tidal tails
Wolfe et al. 1986, ApJS, 61, 249 601 Galaxies Damped Lyman alpha absorbers