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The Schroedinger Visiting Professor in 2014 was Prof. Piero Madau (University of California, Santa Cruz).

Dates of visit: September 2014 - March 2015

Schroedinger Lecture 2014

Poster (PDF, 3.9 MB)

The Cold Dark Matter Theory of Galaxy Formation: Triumphs and Tribulations

Date: Monday, October 27, 2014, 16.45 (Poster)

Lecture series

Cosmic Dawn: How the Universe's Light Went On


Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 14:00 - 16:00 h

Thursday, February 12, 2015, 14:00 - 16:00 h

Friday, February 13, 2015, 14:00 - 17:00 h (last hour devoted to summary and open discussion)


Irchel Campus of the University of Zurich (room Y11 F06)

The course is targeted at graduate students and postdocs.

The development of primordial inhomogeneities into the non-linear regime and the formation of the first astrophysical objects within small dark matter "halos" mark the transition from a simple, uniform, neutral Universe - described by just a few parameters - to a messy ionized cosmos - the realm of radiative, hydrodynamic, and star formation processes. The latest measurement by the WMAP satellite of a significant optical depth to electron scattering implies that this transition must have begun early, and that the Universe was reionized at redshift 10?1. It is an early generation of extremely metal-poor massive stars and/or `seed' accreting black holes in subgalactic halos that generated the ultraviolet radiation that reheated and reionized cosmic hydrogen. The detailed thermal, ionization, and chemical enrichment history of the Universe during these crucial formative stages depends on the power-spectrum of density fluctuations on small scales, on gas-phase H2 "astrochemistry", the stellar initial mass function and star formation efficiency, a complex network of poorly understood feedback mechanisms, and remains one of the crucial missing links in galaxy formation and evolution studies. In these lectures I will review recent progress in understanding: 1) the emergence of cosmic structures and the epoch of first light; 2) hydrogen and helium reionization; 3) 21-cm tomography of the neutral intergalactic medium; 4) the impact of the earliest generation of luminous objects on later ones; and 5) the hierarchical assembly of massive black holes from "Population III" seeds.

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