A wide range of education and outreach opportunties are available on campus and in the Chicago area for faculty and students in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. From early childhood enrichment at local preschools to lectures at libraries and community centers for older adults, department members are active in sharing the excitement of discovery with the public.

Space Explorers

Together with the Kavli Insitute of Cosmological Physics, faculty and graduate students in the department offer the Space Explorers program, providing hundreds of hours of science enrichment activities to local high school students annually. Space Explorers students meet twice a year in week-long workshops organized around a central theme. 

Graduate student Gourav Khullar works with Chicago Public Schools students during the Space Explorers summer institute featuring spy-themed activities.

Adler Planetarium

Our close partnership with Adler Planetarium facilitates many opportunities for education and outreach, including the Adler Conversations program, a weekly forum for department members interested in sharing their research that reaches over ten thousand museum visitors each year.

The Brinson Lecture

The Brinson Lecture is held every spring to present cutting-edge science in an event that is free and open to the public. Recent speakers in this prominent series include Nobel Laureates Kip Thorne and John Mather, pioneering exoplanet scientist Sara Seager, and Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal.

Chicago-area Opportunities

Postdoctoral scholar Nadejda Marounina demonstrates the exoplanet detection by the radio velocity method at the Soapbox Science event at Chicago's Navy Pier.

Within the Chicago area, opportunities for public outreach abound. Students and postdoctoral scholars organize public science talks and demonstrations, such as Soapbox ScienceDark Matter DayAstronomy on Tap.


Groups interested in hosting an outreach speaker from the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics may contact Jennifer Smith, Department Administrator, at (773) 834-0393.