Lectures & Colloquia

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The Astronomy Department has regular, weekly colloquia during the fall and spring terms by distinguished scientists and scholars covering essentially all aspects of current astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences - observations, theory, simulations, instrumentation, and history of astronomy. 

The colloquia are held every Thursday afternoon 4-5 pm in room 105 of the Space Sciences Building and are preceded at 3:30 pm by tea, coffee, and light refreshments. The public is welcome. 


Date Topic Speaker  
January 23, 2020 No Colloquium No Colloquium  
January 30, 2020

"Detecting and Characterizing Nearby Habitable Worlds"

René Doyon - Université de Montréal  
February 6, 2020

"Is Dark Matter Cold, Warm, or Fuzzy?"

Philip Mocz - Princeton University (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
February 13, 2020 Dept of Astronomy Core Values Meeting Dept of Astronomy Core Values Meeting  
February 20, 2020

"Strategies and Tactics Developed at the University of Michigan to Enhance Diversity and Excellence in the Hiring Process"

Edwin Bergin - University of Michigan  
February 27, 2020

"Fast Radio Bursts, HIRAX, and CHORD"

Jon Sievers - McGill University  
March 5, 2020 "Exploring the Universe with CCAT-prime - An Update" Terry Herter, Cornell University  
March 12, 2020      
March 19, 2020 "Fifty Years of Fast Radio Transients:  The More We Learn The Less We Know" Gordon Lecture: Maura McLaughlin, West Viginina University  
March 26, 2020 "Reconstructing the properties of the proto-solar disk using cosmochemistry" Gold Lecture: Allessandro Morbidelli, Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur in Nice.  
April 9, 2020 "Constraining Planet Formation with Spectroscopy of Direct Imaged Planets" Quinn Konopacky, UC San Diego  
April 16, 2020 "Surviving the Misinformation Age" David Helfand - Columbia University (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
April 23, 2020   Brian Keating, University of California, San Diego.(The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
April 30, 2020   Carl Sagan Lecture  
May 7, 2020 "The Fractured Moon: Understanding the Evolution of Porosity and History of Impacts on the Moon" Jason Soderblom, MIT  


Planetary Lunch

The Planetary Lunch Seminar Series (PLunch) is an informal seminar series with talks that are relevant to everybody with an interest in planetary science.  Speakers include both members of the Cornell community and visitors.  Talks are aimed to appeal to and presented by faculty members, research associates, and both graduate and undergraduate students from various academic departments.  The seminar is every Monday during the term at 12:15 pm in Space Sciences room 622.  Lunch and refreshments are not provided.


February 3, 2020
Revealing the Nature of Exoplanetary Atmospheres
Dr. Ryan Mac Donald (Astronomy, Cornell University)
February 10, 2020
Juno observations of Jupiter's Magnetic Field
Prof. Phil Nicholson (Astronomy, Cornell University)
February 17, 2020 Astronomy Chalk Talk and Pizza Lunch Yubo Su (Astronomy, Cornell University)
February 24, 2020 TBD TBD
March 2, 2020 TBD TBD
March 9, 2020 TBD Dr. Andrew Harper (Astronomy, Cornell University)
March 16, 2020 (Canceled for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference)  
March 23, 2020 TBD TBD
March 30, 2020 (Canceled for Spring Break)  
April 6, 2020 TBD TBD
April 13, 2020 TBD TBD
April 20, 2020 TBD TBD
April 27, 2020 Searching for Magnetic Fields on Exoplanets Dr. Jake Turner (Astronomy, Cornell University)
May 4, 2020 Update on OSIRIS-REx Mission at Bennu Asteroid Prof. Beth Clark (Astronomy, Ithaca College)
May 11, 2020 TBD TBD
May 18, 2020 TBD TBD



Astrophysics Lunch

Astrophysics Lunch is a series of informal talks on topics related to theoretical astrophysics, gravitational physics, and cosmology.  Speakers are free to present their own research or present papers that they find of particular interest.  The audience consists of faculty members, research staff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, so talks should be at a level accessible to most. Astrophysics Lunch is open to talks from all members of the Cornell community, as well as to visiting scientists. We will reschedule a local speaker in order to accommodate visitors.

Astrophysics Lunch is held every Wednesday during the academic year at 12:15 PM in Space Sciences 622.

Bring your own lunch.

Date Topic Speaker
January 29, 2020 Differential Rotation in Convecting Stars Adam Jermyn (Flatiron)
February 19, 2020 The Dawn of Planet-Hunting with the Atacama Large Millimeter Array Ted Bergin (Michigan)
February 26, 2020

Great Impostors: Extremely Compact, Merging Binary Neutron Stars in the Mass Gap Posing as Binary Black Holes

Tales of the planetary graveyard

Eamonn O'Shea and Chris O'Connor
March 4, 2020 TBA Dante Iozzo and Soumyajit Bose
March 11, 2020 TBA Cristobal Armaza and Peter Rau
March 18, 2020 TBA Gabriel Bonilla and Yubo Su
March 25, 2020 TBA Alessandro Morbidelli (Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur)
April 8, 2020 TBA Georgios Valogiannis and Michael Pu
April 15, 2020 TBA Alexander Grant and Victoia Calafut
April 22, 2020 TBA Prayush Kumar
April 29, 2020 TBA TBD


Galaxy Lunch

The Galaxy Lunch Series is held every Tuesday during the academic year, at 12:00pm, in Space Sciences room 622. In general, there will be an hour-long talk/discussion on topics related to galactic and extragalactic astronomy, and large-scale structure. The audience consists of faculty members, research staff, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, so talks should be at a level accessible to most. Galaxy Lunch is open to talks from all members of the Cornell Astronomy department, as well as to visiting scientists and speakers from different disciplines/departments.

Bring your own lunch.

The Thomas Gold Lecture Series

On the occasion of the retirement of the world famous astrophysicist, Tommy Gold, the University established the Thomas Gold Lectureship in Astronomy to bring outstanding scientists to Cornell for brief visits. 

Former Thomas Gold Lecturers:

Upcoming Lecturer:

The Salpeter Lecture Series

The Salpeter Lecture Series was established in 1998 to honor Professor Edwin E. Salpeter, one of the most important astrophysicists of the 20th century. Under the auspices of the lectureship, distinguished astronomers and astrophysicists are invited to visit Cornell for one to two weeks.

Former Salpeter Lecturers:

The Yervant Terzian Lecture Series

On the occasion of Yervant Terzian's 70th birthday, the University established the Yervant Terzian Lectureship in Astronomy to bring outstanding scientists to Cornell for brief visits. The Lectureship was endowed by a generous gift from Friend of Astronomy Charles Mund, Jr.

Former Terzian Lecturers:


The William E. & Elva F. Gordon Distinguished Lectureship

William E. Gordon, then professor of electrical engineering at Cornell, proposed the construction of the Arecibo telescope in 1958 to study the Earth's ionosphere via the incoherent scatter of powerful radio waves from the individual electrons in the ionospheric plasma. Gordon raised the funding for the telescope and organized its construction. Completed in 1963, the 305m (1000ft) diameter telescope and its powerful radar systems have been continuously upgraded over the intervening years and have been used to made major advances in the areas of ionospheric physics, radio astronomy and planetary science.

The Gordon Lectures are made possible by an endowment by Tom and Betty Talpey. Tom and Betty Talpey were one of the families that moved with the Gordon's to Arecibo in the summer of 1960 to supervise the telescope's construction and build the observing instrumentation. 

Former Gordon Lecturers:

Upcoming Lecturer: