New discoveries were being made in astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology at the time. This 1966-1967 lecture series focused on these subjects. This volume is unique since, as far as I can tell, Feynman did not lecture on this subject matter at CalTech. While much of the material is now dated, what remains is a look into the mind of Feynman as he worked to explain such topics as stellar evolution, nuclear synthesis, cosmology, “black stars” (aka black holes), and general relativity.
I inserted more current content from the web which relates to the 1966-67 lectures with recent experimental observations and discoveries. While this lecture series has been “eclipsed” by the tremendous theoretical and experimental advancements over the past 45 years, I am sure the reader(s) will find in these lectures the power of Feynman’s insight and ability to have fun with a new subject not touched on by him at CalTech in his “normal” class and research work. I trust others, more specialized in the topics of volume 1, can and will contribute to the additional information to further enrich the notes in the future. This editing will best be done when the notes are moved and dropped in a dynamic and editable platform, yet to be identified.
The Volume I subject matter was not part of his prior lecture activity, Feynman would talk with some of his CalTech colleagues who worked in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology about their work and theories. He would then come to the lecture literally with a (maybe 2 or 3) 3×5 cards and proceed to pour out 2 hours of theory and complex mathematical representations of the topic of the day. This was his genius and almost mystical in his ability to focus his thinking and presentation ability on the most important aspects of a given topic.