PHY 688 -The Dark Universe

Welcome to the home page for the course “The Dark Universe” (PHY 688) in Fall 2020.

Lecturer:            Neelima Sehgal

Contact:             neelima.sehgal{at},    Office: 454 ESS

Class Times:     Tuesdays and Thursdays  1:15 - 2:35pm   Zoom


Course grade:   attendance and participation in class discussion (30%)

                            presentations on assigned readings (30%)

                            final presentations on paper of choice (20%)

                            written responses to presentations (20%).

Reference Book:  Modern Cosmology by Scott Dodelson, Academic Press, 2003

Course Schedule: List of papers we will cover during the class

Class Structure: 

  1. Two papers will be assigned per class.  Half the class will be assigned one paper to read, and half the class the other paper.  Thus each person is responsible for one paper per class.

  1. Dice will be rolled at the beginning of each class to determine who presents on each paper.

  1. 35 minutes will be spent on each paper - 20 minute blackboard talk and 15 minute discussion.

Talks on Assigned Papers:

Present a 20 minute summary of the paper with PowerPoint or Keynote over Zoom during class.

Final Presentations:

Present a 20 minute PowerPoint or Keynote talk on a paper of your choice over Zoom during class.

Written Responses:

After each presentation write two paragraphs about what you learned, what was good about the talk, and what you would have done differently.  Email these responses to the instructor and presenter only.

Course Rules:

  1. Reading, understanding, and discussing each paper is the primary work of the course.  There will be no problem sets, exams, or term papers to complete.

  1. Attendance and participation in class discussions is mandatory.

  1. No pass will be given on presenting a paper if a student is chosen.

  1. Failure to attend a class will result in a zero for a talk as if the student was chosen to present for the day and did not do so.  An exception will be if the student is sick.

Americans with Disabilities Act:

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, room128, (631) 632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary

and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Academic Integrity:

Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary.  Faculty in the Health Sciences Center (School of Health Technology & Management, Nursing, Social Welfare, Dental Medicine) and School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures.  For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at

Critical Incident Management:

Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn.  Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures.