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.

The Department enables a number of education and outreach programs and opportunities, however the core of the efforts are concentrated in several programs.

  • Astronomy Conversations - A collaboration between the Adler Planetarium and astrophysicists from the Chicago area to discuss contemporary astronomical research with thousands of museum visitors in an informal setting at the Adler’s Space Visualization Lab.
  • Brinson Lecture is held every spring to present cutting-edge science in an event that is free and open to the public.
  • Community Engagement Working Group: The Community Engagement Working Group is comprised of graduate students, postdocs, staff, and faculty from the Astronomy and Astrophysics (A&A) department and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP). We are working to attain a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment in our department for all current and incoming members. We also aim to build relationships with community members and organizations in the neighborhoods surrounding the University.
  • Life Long Learning - Life-long Learning (L3) is a program for older adults. The L3 program provides intellectual and social stimulation through a series of interactive lectures at venues around the city.
  • Space Explorers – A multifaceted, multi-year commitment to inner city, minority, precollege students that includes interactions with the the Department and KICP community, laboratory experiences, and residential science institutes.
  • Chicago-area Opportunities - Within the Chicago area, opportunities for public outreach abound.


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