From the Big Bang to Dark Energy

Hitoshi Murayama, The University of Tokyo

This course will cover various topics on the discoveries about how the Universe evolved in 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang.

We have learned a lot recently about how the Universe evolved in 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang. More than 80% of matter in the Universe is mysterious Dark Matter, which made stars and galaxies to form. The newly discovered Higgs-boson became frozen into the Universe a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang and brought order to the Universe. Yet we still do not know how ordinary matter (atoms) survived against total annihilation by Anti-Matter. The expansion of the Universe started acceleration about 7 billion years ago and the Universe is being ripped apart. The culprit is Dark Energy, a mysterious energy multiplying in vacuum. I will present evidence behind these startling discoveries and discuss what we may learn in the near future.

This course offers two learning paths: Basic Track and Advanced Track. The difference between these two tracks is the level of homework exercises. Students can choose either track according to your interest, motivation and prerequisite knowledge and skills. Also, you can just audit the course, if you feel problem sets are too hard.


  • Week 1: From Daily Life to the Big Bang
  • Week 2: Birth of Elements and Higgs Boson
  • Week 3: Dark Matter and Anti-Matter
  • Week 4: Inflation and Dark Energy

Recommended Background

  • To audit the course, no prior knowledge is required.
  • Completion of the Basic Track requires introductory physics knowledge (qualitative understanding of concepts such as force, energy, etc.) and some basic math (basic algebra and geometry).
  • Completion of the Advanced Track requires fundamental physics knowledge (quantitative applications of physics concepts) and university level math (calculus).

Course Format

The class consists of lecture videos, homework exercises and a final exam.

  • Lectures: Each week, approx. 1.5 - 2h lecture videos divided into short video clips are provided.
  • Homework Exercises: Two levels of graded quizzes and problem sets are provided. Students can choose either:
    • Basic Track: Basic level quizzes and problem sets to assess your conceptual understanding are provided. In some parts, simple calculations will be required.
    • Advanced Track: In addition to the Basic Track problems, advanced level quizzes and problems sets, which require application of concepts and mathematical skills, are provided.
  • Final Exam: The exam consists of quizzes and problem sets to assess overall understanding of what you have learned in this course.


  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment or Verified Certificate after completing this class?
    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment or Verified Certificate signed by the instructor.

  • Do I earn credits from The University of Tokyo upon completion of this class?
    No. The Statement of Accomplishment or Verified Certificate is not part of a formal qualification from The University of Tokyo.

  • Do I need to select the track upon enrollment?
    No, you don't have to explicitly sign up for a track. At the end of the course, grades of students will be automatically figured out, according to the selection of problem sets.
  • 5 August 2014, 4 weeks
  • 3 September 2013, 4 weeks
Course properties:
  • Free:
  • Paid:
  • Certificate:
  • MOOC:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Email-course:
  • Language: English Gb


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