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Public Outreach

Friedman Lectures

These presentations are hosted by the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and are funded largely by the Ronald M. and Susan J. Friedman Outreach Fund in Astronomy.

If you would like to suggest a speaker, you may send an email to


Date Name Institution Presentation
2/27/2020 Maura McLaughlin West Virginia University Pulsars: Timekeepers of the Universe
4/9/2019 Randy McEntaffer Penn State University Watch: The Penn State NASA Suborbital Rocket Program for Astronomy
4/10/2018 Joseph Masiero NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Watch: You Can't Make a Solar System Without Breaking a Few Asteroids
3/28/2017 Pamela Gay Astronomical Society of the Pacific Cosmoquest: You Can Help Discover Our Universe
11/10/2016 Catherine Grier Penn State University The Monsters of the Universe: Supermassive Black Holes and their Masses
4/28/2016 Chad Hanna Penn State University The Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy
12/1/2015 Jason Wright Penn State University Watch:  Searching for Alien Megastructures:  Hype vs. Reality
4/28/2015 Mike Brown Caltech

Watch: Tales from the Outer Solar System

10/30/2014 Ravi Kopparapu Penn State University Potential Habitable Worlds: How Common Are They?
10/22/2013 Brendan Mullan Penn State University Everything in the Universe is Terrible. Here's Why That's Awesome.
4/9/2013 Jill Tarter Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute Watch: Are We Alone?
9/13/2012 Heidi Hammel Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Watch: James Webb Space Telescope: NASA's Next Great Observatory
5/18/2011 Karl Gebhardt University of Texas in Austin Walk Softly When Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe
10/27/2010 John Grunsfeld Space Telescope Science Institute A Hubble Story
4/14/2007 Carl Herrmann Johns Hopkins University Fire and Ice: Exploration of the Solar System
11/7/2006 Mercedes Richards, Darren Williams,
Avi Mandell, Christopher Palma
Penn State University What is a Planet, Why not Pluto?
11/20/2005 John Nousek,      David Burrows, Margaret Chester Penn State University Penn State in Space, The Swift Experience
4/6/2005 Max Tegmark Massachusetts Institute of Technology Parallel Universes
2/26/2005 Eric Feigelson Penn State University Planets, Planets, Everywhere
11/20/2003 Christopher Palma Penn State University Galactic Cannibals
3/27/2003 Mario Livio Space Telescope Science Institute Beauty in an Accelerating Universe
11/21/2002 Michael Weinstein Penn State University Highlights from Hubble
4/7/2002 Lawrence Krauss Case Western Reserve University The Physics of Star Trek
2/24/2002 Michael Eracleous Penn State University Can a Bright Star Find Happiness in the Deadly Embrace of a Black Hole?
11/11/2001 Pablo Laguna Penn State University When Black Holes Collide
10/21/2001 Marc Millis NASA Glenn Research Center The Drive for Interstellar Travel
7/14/2001 Frank Drake Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life
4/28/2001 Chuck Higgins Penn State University Parade of the Planets: Past, Present and Future
3/24/2001 Chris Churchill Penn State University From Stardust to Dinosaurs to Footprints on the Moon to Stardust Again
2/25/2001 Jane Charlton Penn State University A Brief History of the Universe
11/12/2000 Michael Weinstein Penn State University Was There a Big Bang?
10/14/2000 Charles Beichman Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA's Search for Life
7/14/2000 Eric Feigelson Penn State University How to Make a Star
4/25/2000 John Nousek Penn State University Chasing Fireworks Across the Gamma-ray Sky: the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer
3/19/2000 Niel Brandt Penn State University X-raying the Environments of Supermassive Black Holes
12/5/1999 Gordon Garmire Penn State University Black Holes, Stellar Explosions, and Stellar Birth: Exploring the X-ray Universe with the Chandra X-ray Observatory
10/24/1999 David J. Helfand Columbia University How Superman Sees the Stars
7/9/1999 Darren Williams Penn State University Habitable Planets
4/25/1999 Daniel Weedman Penn State University NASA's Origins Program: Seeking Other Earths
2/28/1999 Alexander Wolszczan Penn State University The First Extrasolar Planets: Behind the Scenes of Discovery
11/22/1998 Lawrence Ramsey Penn State University Searching for Extra-Solar-System Planets: The Role of the New Generation of Large Ground-Based Telescopes
9/27/1998 Steven Squyres Cornell University Exploration of Mars