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Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Galaxies are the building blocks of the universe and their formation and evolution are part of its cosmological evolution. This course provides you with an introduction to the relevant theoretical background and observational results. You will encounter the most up-to-date results through reading a selection of current research papers.

A Galaxy Collision in Action Stephan's Quintet
Stephan's Quintet – A Galaxy Collision in Action Stephan's Quintet, a compact group of galaxies discovered about 130 years ago and located about 280 million light years from Earth, provides a rare opportunity to observe a galaxy group in the process of evolving from an X-ray faint system dominated by spiral galaxies to a more developed system dominated by elliptical galaxies and bright X-ray emission. Being able to witness the dramatic effect of collisions in causing this evolution is important for increasing our understanding of the origins of the hot, X-ray bright halos of gas in groups of galaxies.

The course will begin with an overview of the field of research in galaxy evolution, from the early universe until today. We will then go through the basics of the growth of density perturbations in an expanding universe, the role of dark matter versus baryonic matter and cooling. You will learn the processes behind the evolution of galaxies, such as stellar popula-tion and chemical evolution, feedback and hierarchical evolution. You will study the ex-pected properties of the first galaxies and the reionization of the universe. Results from numerical simulations on galaxy and structure formation will be used, and coupled to the evolution of the population of galaxies as a function of time.

  • Course structure

    The course is given at the advanced level, during the day time and at 50% study activity. It will be given in English.

    Teaching format

    Teaching will consist of a combination of lectures and literature seminars. During the (man-datory) seminars a selection of current research articles will be discussed. You will also be required to write a short essay on a specific topic (chosen in consultation with the teacher) which involves reading research articles on the chosen topic.


    The examination consists of three parts: written hand-in assignments, active participation in literature seminars, and by writing and presenting an essay on a specific topic.

    During the course, there will also be a few quizzes on the course content, and successful performance will give bonus points in the examination.


    Göran Östlin
    Garrelt Mellema


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Cimatti, Fraternali, & Nipoti: “Introduction to Galaxy Formation and Evolution”, 2020, Cam-bridge

    Recommended additional material
    Longair: “Galaxy Formation”, 2nd edition, 2008, Springer


  • Contact

    The academic advisor and student office can be contacted via