Boulder Cosmology Group Lecture and Readings List

This is a list of all books and lectures covered or planned to be covered by the group since its inception.

If the year is a link in the list below, clicking on that link will take you to the schedule for that year.

Note: In June, 2014 we referred to Volume 1 of A Stroll Through Physics by Dave Peterson
Now Dave has made Volume 2 available,, and we will be referring to sections of it as they
apply to selections on our schedule.

August 2024     The Genius of Science: A Portrait Gallery by Abraham Pais.

May 2024 – July 2024     What is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, by Adam Becker.
Questions from the group:

March 2024 – April 2024     Ghost Particle: In Search of the Elusive and Mysterious Neutrino, by Alan Chodos and James Riordan.
Link to the book:

November 2023 – February 2024      Quantum Field Theory, As Simply as Possible, by Anthony Zee.
Review of this book from Dave:
Link to the book:

August 2023 – October 2023      Chandra's Cosmos, by Wallace H. Tucker.
Revelations from NASA's X-Ray Observatory. Link to the book:

June 2023 – July 2023      The Magic Furnace: The Search For The Origins Of Atoms, by Marcus Chown.
     Paul's printable Chronological Glossary for The Magic Furnace (23 pages). Alphabetical Glossary (16 pages).
Here is a very relevant article about the origins of the elements that Chela and Susan found.

April 2023 – May 2023      More and Different: notes from a thoughtful curmudgeon, by Philip W. Anderson.
Reference: A 1972 Anderson paper,

December 2022 – March 2023      Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics  Bruce Schumm.
Study guide from Jeff. Renormalization note for page 80 (Chapter 4) from Bill Daniel.
Notes from Paul and Chela on Lie Groups in Physics for Chapters 6 through 8.
       The pages 19 to 21 of this ^^^ document (errata and comments) were added for this 2023 discussion.
A note from Mike on Chapter 9's coverage of the effective mass of a photon:
Comments on Jeff's Study Guide from Dave.
Note: This is our 3rd discussion of this book in the group. In other words, it's a very good book.

November 2022     About Quantum Field Theory by Dave Peterson. Read
as well as at least references [1] through [5] in that paper. Protons having been seen containing charm/anti-charm
pairs came up in the discussion and Susan later found this amazing article about that in the October 19, 2022 Quanta Magazine.

September 2022 – October 2022     Fearful Symmetry: Is God a Geometer?, by Ian Stewart and Martin Golubitsky.
Listen to this 48 minute podcast about the life and ideas of Emmy Noether.
Here's a link from Stephen with more information about the discussion on page 102 of face centered cubic structures.
Here's a link from Barry about Octonions and Symmetry Breaking.
Here's a link for Chapter 6 about the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model (2022 data).
Link to a PDF file of the book:
Link to a DjVu file of the book:

July 2022 – August 2022     Chaos, by James Gleick.
An early (1993) Chaos paper by group member Mike:
Answers for some questions that came up in the first discussion:
An article Susan found with clarification of some Chaos and Complexity terms:

May 2022 – June 2022     The End of Certainty, by Ilya Prigogine.
Link to the book:
Bill Daniel Notes for Chapter 4:
Link to a 57 page Prigogine paper on Poincaré Resonances:, compliments of Peter.

March 2022 – April 2022     Understanding Our Unseen Reality: Solving Quantum Riddles, by Ruth Kastner.
Link to the book:

January 2022 – February 2022     Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point, by Huw Price.
Link to the book:
QM Notes (without mathematics) from Dave:
A relevant Scientific American article from Chela:

December 20, 2021     Discussion: The Renninger Thought Experiment.
Links to materials and commentary from Peter at

October 2021 – November 2021     Helgoland: Making Sense of the Quantum Revolution, by Carl Rovelli.
Questions from Dave Peterson:
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Relational Quantum Mechanics.

June 2021 – September 2021     Subtle is the Lord: The Science and the Life of Albert Einstein, by Abraham Pais.
Reference: Einstein's papers and letters in German and translated to English -
Notes from Dave Peterson:
Links from Chela about Dirac:

April 2021 – May 2021     Quantum Ontology: A Guide to the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics, by Peter J. Lewis.
Link to the book. Notes from Dave Peterson:

February 2021 – March 2021     Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality, by Manjit Kumar.
Notes from Dave Peterson: Link to the book.
Two papers on Hidden Variables by David Bohm: Part I, and Part II.

January 18, 2021     The Order of Time, by Carl Rovelli.
Susan suggests as a summary of Rovelli's ideas on Time and Reality.
Peter suggests fruitful links from Rovelli's endnotes

December 9, 2020
DVD Lectures - Neil deGrasse Tyson's course, “The Inexplicable Universe”, Lecture 5: Inexplicable Space, and 6: Inexplicable Cosmology.
Note: Watch these lectures on Kanopy. Here's the link:

November 25, 2020
DVD Lectures - The Farthest: The Voyager Spacecraft.
This documentary is available on Kanopy. Here's the link:

October 2020 – December 2020     The Second Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Twentieth-Century Physics, by Robert Crease and Charles Mann.
Relevant talk by Sean Carroll on gauge theory that Susan found:
Notes from Dave Peterson:
Reference from Chela for Weak Interactions: Deep Down Things by Bruce Schumm, Ch8 pages 243-254, and Ch9 pages 283-332.
For those of you without the 1996 revised edition:

July 2020 – September 2020     Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy, by Kip Thorne.
Notes from Dave Peterson:
Notes Part 2 from Dave:
Link from Susan to an October 2019 Thorne update on advances since he wrote this book.
Links from Chela:, Einstein versus Physical Review, and
Thorne confuses vacuum fluctuations with zero-point energy in Box 12.4. Link from Mike to Phys Rev A papers by CU's Barut clears this up.
Note: We discussed this book in the group in 2006. It is well worth a second reading.

April 2020 – October 2020      24 DVD lectures, “Introduction to Astrophysics”, by Professor Joshua Winn.
Note: Watch these lectures on Kanopy. Here's the link:
When you are done with the first lecture, scroll down to the next. The course guidebook can be found at

August 2019 – June 2020     Observational Cosmology, by Stephen Serjeant.
Errata from the site for the 2010 edition:
Note from Steven Crow on page 19 in Chapter 1 with a rebuttal from Bill Daniel:
Notes from Dave Peterson on Chapter 2:
Notes from Dave on Chapter 3:
Notes from Dave on Chapter 4:
Notes from Dave on Chapter 5:
Notes from Dave on Chapter 6:
Notes from Dave on Chapter 7:
Notes from Dave on Chapter 8:

October 2019 – April 2020      24 DVD lectures, “Radio Astronomy”, by Professor Felix J. Lockman.

July 15, 2019 ArXiv Paper Discussion: Screams for Explanation: Finetuning and Naturalness in the Foundations of Physics, by Sabine Hossenfelder.
A paper referenced from her book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray.

April 2019 – June 2019     Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics is Different, by Philip Ball.
Notes from Bill Daniel on the first half of the book:
Selected pages with specific questions as a final review of the book:

March 2019 – September 2019      24 DVD lectures, “Quantum Mechanics: The Physics of the Microscopic World”, by Professor Benjamin Schumacher.

December 2018 – March 2019           Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics  Bruce Schumm. Study guide from Jeff. Notes from Paul and Chela on Lie Groups in Physics for Chapters 6 through 8.
Note: We discussed this book in the group at the end of 2012. It is well worth a second reading.

November 2018 – February 2019      14 DVD lectures, “Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science”, by Professor Steven Gimbel.

October 24, 2018 DVD Lecture - Leonard Susskind “Inside Black Holes”.
    For a 5 page Black Hole Firewalls article, see
    For an article Ken Z discovered on Black Holes Evolving to White Holes, see

October 10, 2018 DVD Lecture - Sam Gralla “Rethinking Reality: Space, Time and Gravity”.

September 26, 2018 DVD Lecture - Premala Chandra “The Inner Universe of Quantum Materials”.

September 12, 2018 DVD Lecture - David Tong “Quantum Fields: The Building Blocks of the Universe”.
Remarks about investigating QFT further from our Dave:

September 2018 – November 2018     Through Two Doors at Once: The Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality by Anil Ananthaswamy.

August 22, 2018 DVD Lecture - Emily Levesque, “The Weirdest Stars in the Universe” (68 minutes).

August 20, 2018 The Philosophy of Physics, by Max Planck.

April 2018 – July 2018     The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us, by Victor Stenger.

May 23, 2018 DVD Lecture - Frank Wilczek, “Symmetries of Time.” (52 minutes).

May 9, 2018 DVD Lectures - Richard Feynman, “The world from another point of view.” (36 minutes)
and “Best of Richard Feynman debates, lectures, arguments, and interviews.” (25 minutes).
(For an example of one of Feynman's more famous points of view, see Chapter 19 of Volume II of The Feynman Lectures on Physics: “The Principle of Least Action”.)

April 25, 2018   Perimeter Institute's Robert Spekkens on “The Riddle of the Quantum Sphinx” (74 minutes).

October 2017 – April 2018      24 DVD lectures, “The Quest to Explain All Reality” by Professor Don Lincoln.

February 2018 – March 2018     The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality, by Dave Goldberg.

December 2017 – January 2018     Ripples in Spacetime, by Govert Schilling.

September 2017 – November 2017     Cosmic Catastrophes: Exploding Stars, Black Holes, and Mapping the Universe (2nd Edition, 2007), by J. Craig Wheeler.

July 17, and August 14, 2017     Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity, by Carl Rovelli.

May 15, and June 19, 2017     Now: The Physics of Time, by Richard A. Muller.
    For possible tests of Muller's theory that the arrow of time is a result of the expansion of spacetime, see this 10 page paper.

March 2017 – September 2017      24 DVD lectures, “Mysteries of Modern Physics: Time” by Sean Carroll.
     For Lecture 21, a solution from Steve for the cosmological constant in Einstein's General Relativity Equations: “So Long Dark Energy”.

June 2016 – April 2017     Basic Concepts in Physics: From the Cosmos to Quarks, by Masud Chaichian, H. Perez Rojas, and A. Tureanu.
     Derivations from Bill Daniel for some of the equations in Chapters 1 and 2.
     “EPR and Bell's Theorem”, clarification from Bill Daniel on Ch. 6's coverage of the Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen Paradox,
     and a paper from Dave on “Concrete Hidden Variables”.
    For Chapter 7, “The Dirac Equation”, from It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science.
    For Chapter 8, a paper from Dave Peterson about the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics for Topology in Exotic Materials.
    For Chapter 10, Roger Penrose essay on “The Einstein Equation of General Relativity”, from It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science.

November 2016 – February 2017      12 DVD lectures, “Black Holes Explained” by University of California, Berkeley Professor Alex Filippenko.
    For Lecture 9 (Wormholes), see this article about a possible connection between entanglement and gravity.

April 18, and May 16, 2016     The Science of Interstellar, by Kip Thorne.

January 2016 – October 2016           View and discuss Mark Whittle's course “Cosmology: The History and Nature of Our Universe” once again (we did it back in 2011).

December 9, 2015   Perimeter Institute's Neil Turok on “The Astonishing Simplicity of Everything”.
If you wish, you can watch this lecture in advance at

November 2015 – March 2016         An Introduction to Modern Cosmology Andrew Liddle.
    Links to notes, derivations, and problem solutions from Boulder Cosmology Group Liddle discussions.

August 2015 – November 2015      12 DVD lectures, “The Higgs Boson and Beyond” by Sean Carroll.

October 19, 2015      Superconductivity: A Very Short Introduction, by Stephen Blundell.
     “More is Different”, an interesting article mentioned in Blundell's conclusion by P.W. Anderson about
broken symmetry and the nature of the hierarchical structure of science (4 pages).

August 17, and September 21, 2015     In search of the ultimate building blocks, by Gerard ’t Hooft and his paper
“The Evolution of Quantum Field Theory from QED to Grand Unification” at

July 20, 2015      Discussion of our own Dave Peterson's paper on “Learning Quantum Mechanics and Relativity” which can be found here (26 pages).

June 15, 2015     ArXiv Paper Discussion: Art Hobson, “There are no particles, there are only fields” at
Suggested supplemental reading: the last half (chapter 6 to end) of Rodney Brooks, Fields of Color.

March 2015 – August 2015      18 DVD lectures, “A Visual Guide to the Universe” by Northwestern University Professor David Meyer.

April 20, and May 18, 2015      The Infinity Puzzle: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe, by Frank Close.

February 23, and March 16, 2015      The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn, by Louisa Gilder.
Also, for Chapter 31, please read this 9 page report from Dave on "Quantum Entanglement - The Aspect Experiment".

December 15, 2014 and January 26, 2015      The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next, by Lee Smolin.

February 2014 – March 2015      Selected DVD lectures from “Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy” by University of California, Berkeley Professor Alex Filippenko.

October 20, and November 17, 2014      Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything, by Amanda Gefter.
Comments from Dave:
A cosmology essay from Gefter:

August 18, and September 15, 2014      QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, by Richard P. Feynman. We will also discuss Feynman's 1965 Nobel Lecture (available online).

June 16, and July 21, 2014      The New Quantum Universe, by Tony Hey and Patrick Walters.
For more on the EPR Paradox (discussed on pages 166-172 in the book), see Mermin's 1985 Physics Today article and Pitowsky's 1994 article.
For commentary with a little more math about QM and other topics we've discussed in the group, see Dave's A Stroll Through Physics.

March 17, April 21, and May 19, 2014      The Mystery of the Missing Antimatter, by Helen R. Quinn and Yossi Nir.
A note from Jeff about the book's discussion of Mass States, Flavor States, Mixing, and Neutrino Oscillation.

March 8, 2014      Experimental physicists Bruce Schumm, from UC Santa Cruz, and Steve Wagner, at CU Boulder, answered questions about Dr. Schumm's book Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics.

December 16, 2013, January 27, 2014 and February 24, 2014      Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe, by Christopher Hill and Leon Lederman. Book notes from Jeff.

November 13, 27, December 11, 2013, January 22, and February 12, 2014     Selected DVD lectures from Professor David M. Meyer, Experiencing Hubble: Understanding the Greatest Images of the Universe.

October 23, 2013      A Sean Carroll Cosmology for Particle Physicists lecture at CERN on “Inflation and Beyond” given on May 13, 2005. Useful notes for this series of 5 CERN lectures from TASI lectures given by Carroll in Boulder in 2003.

October 9, 2013      A Sean Carroll Cosmology for Particle Physicists lecture at CERN on “Thermodynamics in the Early Universe” given on May 12, 2005.

September 25, 2013      A Sean Carroll Cosmology for Particle Physicists lecture at CERN on “Dark Energy” given on May 11, 2005.

September 16, 2013, October 21, 2013, and November 18, 2013      The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics, by Leonard Susskind.

August 28, 2013      A Sean Carroll Cosmology for Particle Physicists lecture at CERN on “Dark Matter” given on May 10, 2005.

August 14, 2013      A Sean Carroll Cosmology for Particle Physicists lecture at CERN on “Our Homogeneous and Isotropic Universe” given on May 9, 2005.

July 24, 2013      A Sean Carroll lecture on “Particles, Fields and the Future of Physics”.

July 10, 2013      A Lawrence Krauss lecture on “Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?”.

June 26, 2013      A Leonard Susskind lecture on the Higgs mechanism: “Demystifying the Higgs Boson”. If you want to watch the video in full screen mode, use this link.

June 17, 2013, July 15, 2013, and August 19, 2013       Gravity's Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe, by Mitchell Begelman and Martin Rees. Note: Professor Begelman attended the July 15 discussion!

April 15, 2013, and May 20, 2013      The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces, by Frank Wilczek. Book notes from Jeff.

March 2013 – June 2013      12 DVD lectures, “Black Holes Explained” by University of California, Berkeley Professor Alex Filippenko.

January 7, 2013, February 11, 2013 and March 18, 2013      From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, by Sean Carroll. Book notes from Jeff. A blog for the book and an article on “Time-Reversal Violation”, both by Sean Carroll.

September 2012 – March 2013      24 DVD lectures, “Dark Matter, Dark Energy: The Dark Side of the Universe” by CalTech Professor Sean Carroll.

September 2012 – December 2012           Deep Down Things: The Breathtaking Beauty of Particle Physics  Bruce Schumm. Study guide from Jeff.

January 2012 – August 2012      24 DVD lectures, “Particle Physics for Non Physicists” by CU Professor Steven Pollock. Supplemental reading: Robert Oerter, The Theory of Almost Everything. An August 2012 update from Dave on developments in particle physics since the Pollock lectures. Some notes on symmetry in particle physics from Bill.

April 2012 – May 3, 2012           Facts and Mysteries in Elementary Particle Physics  Martinus Veltman. Some notes on Lie groups in physics from Paul and Chela.

January 5, 2012      Two lectures from Satyan Devadoss's DVD lecture series “The Shape of Nature”. These lectures, titled “The Topology of the Universe” and “The Geometry of the Universe”, cover the qualitative and quantitative nature of the shape of the space that makes up our Universe. 

January 2011 – December 2011           View and discuss Mark Whittle's course “Cosmology: The History and Nature of Our Universe”.

September 15, 2011, September 29, 2011, and October 6, 2011      The Magic Furnace: The Search For The Origins Of Atoms  Marcus Chown.
     Paul's printable Chronological Glossary for The Magic Furnace (23 pages). Alphabetical Glossary (16 pages).

April 2011 – May 5, 2011           Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe  Evalyn Gates.

February 2010 – December 2010           Gravity: An Introduction to Einstein's General Relativity  James B. Hartle.

June 2009 – January 2010                    Gravity from the Ground Up  Bernard Schutz.

April 2009 – May 2009                     Gravitation and Spacetime   Hans Ohanian and Remo Ruffini.
               Chapters 1 (“Newtonian Gravitation”) and 2 (“Special Relativity”).

January 2009 – March 2009                       The Wraparound Universe  Jean-Pierre Luminet.

October 2008 – December 2008                 Cosmic Jackpot: Why Our Universe is Just Right for Life Paul Davies
              (the paperback edition of this book is called The Goldilocks Enigma).

July 2008 – September 2008                          Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang Steinhardt and Turok.

April 2008 – June 2008                                      The Cosmic Century: A History of Astrophysics and Cosmology Malcolm Longair.

March 2008                                                         Dr. Richard McCray, astrophysicist from CU, gave a talk about supernovae.

January 2008 – February 2008                        Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes Alexei Vilenkin.

September 2007 – December 2007                      Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions  Lisa Randall.

April 2007 – August 2007                                  An Introduction to Modern Cosmology Andrew Liddle.
     A Cosmology Timeline that Paul developed for our Liddle discussion (10 pages).

January 2007 – March 2007                               General Relativity from A to B Robert Geroch.

August 2006 – December 2006                      Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy Kip Thorne.

April 2006 – July 2006               Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension Michio Kaku.

May 2005 – March 2006                              Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe Roger Penrose.

December 2004 – April 2005                           Three Roads to Quantum Gravity Lee Smolin.

June 2004 – November 2004                                          The Fabric of the Cosmos Brian Greene.

September 2003 – May 2004                        The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory Brian Greene.

August 2003                               “Is ‘the theory of everything’ merely the ultimate ensemble theory?” Max Tegmark (arXiv: gr-qc/9704009v2).

April 2003 – July 2003                                                The First Three Minutes Steven Weinberg. [The group's first book.]

For more information, contact Bill at 3.449.4136.

For one group member's favorites from the above list, see

This is, last updated July 17, 2024.

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