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   Jon Sievers - McGill University  
March 5, 2020   TBA  
March 12, 2020   Bethe Lecture: Suzanne Staggs, Princeton University  
March 19, 2020   Gordon Lecture: Maura McLaughlin, West Viginina University  
March 26, 2020   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.


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 18, 2019 Toward the intrinsic architecture of planetary systems Dr. Wei Zhu (CITA)
November 25, 2019 Astronomy Chalk Talk and Pizza Dylan Cromer (Cornell University)
December 9, 2019

Prospects for Characterizing Giant Exoplanets with Future Optical Coronagraphs

Brianna Lacy (Princeton)
January X, 2019 Probing Saturn’s Carbon Cycle with Cassini VIMS Stellar Occultations Andrew Foster (Astronomy, Cornell University) 
January X, 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
January 28, 2020 Differential Rotation in Convecting Stars Adam Jermyn (Flatiron)
February 4, 2020 TBA TBD
February 11, 2020 TBA TBD
February 19, 2020 TBA Ted Bergin (Michigan)
February 26, 2020 TBA TBD
March 4, 2020 TBA TBD
March 11, 2020 TBA TBD
March 18, 2020 TBA TBD
March 25, 2020 TBA Alessandro Morbidelli (Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur)
April 8, 2020 TBA TBD
April 15, 2020 TBA TBD
April 22, 2020 TBA TBD
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: