The 88th Arthur H. Compton Lecture Series: Nuts and Bolts Cosmology

The purpose of the Compton Lecture Series is to make accessible some of the recent developments in physical science to the non-specialized public, and to share with the public some of the intellectual and cultural excitement associated with scientific developments. (Preceding paragraph adapted from the EFI Compton lectures website)

The official web page for the Compton Lectures at the Enrico Fermi Institute can be found here.

On this page you will find a schedule of lecture topics to be covered in the fall 2018 Compton lecture series. As the lectures draw near, I may post a more detailed syllabus, optional additional readings, and/or copies of the slides I plan to present.


Room 106
Kersten Physics Teaching Center
5720 S. Ellis Ave. University of Chicago
Hyde Park, Chicago, IL

The main entrance to the lecture hall has stairs, but you can be directed to a wheelchair-accessible, stair-free access route upon request.

Time and Dates

The lectures will be held every Saturday from Sept 29 through Nov 17 at 11am

Schedule of Lectures

Below you will find a schedule of lecture topics. While I hope that those who attend all eight lectures will find that the series forms a cohesive whole, each lecture is intended to stand on its own without requiring background from previous lectures, so don't feel you'll be lost if you can only attend one or two. Additionally, I hope to make these lectures interesting to those with all levels of science education, from grade-school students to those with advanced degrees in related fields, and anyone in between.

The lectures are on Saturdays from 11am to 12 noon, running 8 weeks from Sept 29, 2018 through Nov 17, 2018. Please join us in room 106 of the Kersten Physics Teaching Center, 5720 South Ellis Avenue. Enter through the door at the southwest corner.

Nuts and Bolts Cosmology
  • 09/29/2018 - The Small Universe: The first 380,000 years
  • 10/06/2018 - Where Did We Come From: A history of cosmology from the ground - notes
  • 10/13/2018 - Gazing Long into the Abyss: A history of light detection - notes
  • 10/20/2018 - Seeing the Light: How 'digital pixels' for telescopes work
  • 10/27/2018 - Catching the Light: How telescope cameras work
  • 11/03/2018 - The Invisible Universe: Looking at dark matter
  • 11/10/2018 - Cosmology at the End of the Earth: Why and how we work at the South Pole
  • 11/17/2018 - Are we there yet?: Where we're going and how we might get there


The lectures are located in Kersten Physics Teaching Center room 106 at 5720 South Ellis Avenue. There is a wheelchair-accessible seating area at the top of the lecture hall. Assistive audio amplification headsets are available for the hard of hearing.