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  
September 5, 2019

"Getting Under Europa’s Skin"

Britney Schmidt, School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Tech  
September 12, 2019

"The Globular Cluster System of NGC 4258: A Relic of Cosmic High Noon?"

Rosa Gonzalez - Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
September 19, 2019 "What have we learned about binary neutron stars since the discovery of GW170817?" Duncan Brown, Syracuse University (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
September 26, 2019 “Exploring the Transient Sky with the Dark Energy Survey"
Masao Sako - University of Pennsylvania (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  

October 1, 2019



"Science and the Technology of the Mid-Infrared EKT Imager and Spectrograph"

Bernhard Brandl - Leiden University  
October 10, 2019

"The Mystery of Methane on Mars: Fact, Folly or Figment?"

John Moores - York University  
October 17, 2019 "Pulsar Timing Arrays: The Next Frontier of Gravitational Wave Astronomy" Stephen Taylor, Vanderbilt University (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
October 24, 2019

"Fast Radio Bursts: An Extragalactic Enigma"

Shami Chatterjee, Cornell University  
October 31, 2019 "Ocean Worlds of the Outer Solar System" Kevin Hand - JPL, California Institute of Technology  
November 7, 2019 "Deciphering the Engines Behind Fast Radio Bursts" Salpeter Lecture: Brian Metzger - Columbia University  
November 14, 2019 "The Magnetic Interstellar Medium in Three Dimensions" Susan Clark - Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  
TUESDAY, November 19, 2019 "Planet Nine From Outer Space" Konstantin Batygin - Caltech  
November 21, 2019 "A Schmorgas Board of Exodelights" David Kipping - Columbia University  
December 5, 2019 TBA Katerina Chatziioannou - Flatiron Institute (The Josephine Lawrence Hopkins Foundation Colloquium)  


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.


August 12, 2019
Effects of a Rogue Star on Earth’s Climate    
Harini Chandramouli (Graduate Student University of Minnesota) 
August 20, 2019
A wide-field CMOS Camera "Tomo-e Gozen" and the IR optimized telescope TAO    
Dr. Mamoru Doi (University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory)
September 9, 2019
The timing of planetary events and the origin of RNA-based Darwinism
Dr. Steven Benner 
(Senior Fellow at the Ffame Foundation)
September 16, 2019
Blues Clues: Looking for Earth 2.0 in the Near-U
Thomas Ditto (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and founder of 3DeWitt LLC)
September 23, 2019
Obliquity-Driven Dynamics of Planetary Systems
Sarah Millholland (Yale University)
September 30, 2019
Evidence that 1I/2017 U1 (`Oumuamua) was composed of molecular hydrogen ice Darryl Seligman (Yale University)
October 21, 2019 Dynamics of a planet in a complex evolving architecture: the benchmark system HD 106906 Dr. Laetitia Rodet (Cornell University)
November 4, 2019 Simulating Saturn’s A ring edge with a single chain of gravitationally-interacting particles Lucy Lu (Columbia University)
November 5, 2019 Finding an Alien Biosphere with Computational Chemistry Dr. Clara Sousa-Silva (MIT) 
November 12, 2019 (Tuesday) Evidence of differential rotation inside Saturn from waves Maryame El Moutamid (Cornell University)
November 18, 2019 TBD Dr. Wei Zhu (CITA)
November 25, 2019 Astronomy Chalk Talk and Pizza Dylan Cromer (Cornell University)
December 2, 2019 Probing Saturn’s Carbon Cycle with Cassini VIMS Stellar Occultations Andrew Foster (Astronomy, Cornell University) 
December 9, 2019 TBD Brianna Lacy (Princeton)
December 16, 2019 Relief inversion in Mars's south polar residual cap: implications for mass balance and climate Peter Thomas (Cornell University)



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
September 4, 2019 Surpassing Subtle and Overt Biases as Women in Science Ruxandra Bondarescu
September 11, 2019 Black hole ringdown: the importance of overtones Matt Giesler (Caltech)
October 9, 2019 Studying the early universe through CO and [C II] intensity mapping Dongwoo Chung (Stanford)
October 16, 2019 New Advances in Understanding Dust-Gas Interactions in Protoplanetary Disks Hui Li (LANL)
October 23, 2019 Gravitational Wave Signatures of Dynamically Formed Black Hole Binaries Zhong-Zhi Xianyu (Harvard)
October 30, 2019 TBA Vijay Varma (Caltech)
November 6, 2019 The Key Roles of Shocks in Classical Novae Brain Metzger (Columbia)
November 13, 2019 TBA Phil Armitage (CCA/Stony Brook)
November 20, 2019 TBA Almog Yalinewich (CITA)
December 4, 2019 TBA Katerina Chatziioannou (CCA)


Galaxy Lunch

The Galaxy Lunch Series is held every Tuesday during the academic year, at 12:15pm, 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:

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: