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Strong Gravitational Lensing and Cosmology

Module PH8121

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2020/1 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2020/1WS 2018/9

Basic Information

PH8121 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered irregular.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Subject-Related Qualification Modules for Doctoral Candidates in Physics (lecture series)

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
60 h 15 h 2 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH8121 is Sherry Suyu.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Gravitational lensing is the bending of light by gravity. When a galaxy lies in front of a distant object such as a quasar, the mass distribution of the galaxy acts like a lens and can produce multiple images of the background quasar - a spectacular phenomenon known as strong gravitational lensing. Strong gravitational lens systems provide important clues to the matter distribution of galaxies, including dark matter, and allow direct distance measurements to galaxies for cosmological studies. 

This focussed course introduces the basics of gravitational lensing, with special focus on strong gravitational lensing and its cosmological applications.

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module, the student is able to

  • understand the working principle of gravitational lensing
  • use gravitational lensing to detect matter and weigh galaxies
  • understand how strong lenses are used as cosmological probes
  • write a master thesis in this field of research


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 1 Strong Gravitational Lensing and Cosmology Suyu, S. Thu, 12:00–16:00, MPA 401

Learning and Teaching Methods

In classroom lectures the teaching and learning content is presented and explained in a didactical, structured, and comprehensive form. This includes basic knowledge as well as selected current topics from the research field of strong gravitational lensing. Crucial facts are conveyed by involving the students in scientific discussions to develop their intellectual power and to stimulate their analytic thinking on astrophysics problems.

Self-study of personal notes from the lectures and of textbooks are an important part of the learning process by the students. Such post-processing and practising of the teaching content is indispensable to achieve the intended learning results that the students develop the ability of explaining and applying the learned knowledge independently.


PowerPoint presentation, blackboard, discussions, post-lecture PDFs, videos, textbook, complementary literature


“Gravitational Lensing: Strong, Weak and Micro” by Schneider, Kochanek & Wambsganss

“Astrophysical Applications of Gravitational Lensing” by Suyu, Gould, Motta, Falco, Wambsganss, Schneider, Fassnacht, Keeton and Jimenez-Vincente. Editors: Mediavilla, Munoz, Garzon, Mahoney

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

no info

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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