Public lecture by Cham and Whiteson

On Friday, October 27, the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics will host a special public lecture by Jorge Cham (PhD Comics) and Daniel Whiteson (Physicist at UC Irvine).  The topic is the new book “We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe“, and the talk is billed as a fun presentation that combines science, humor, and live drawing.

The talk will take place in 1000 McPherson Lab at 7:00 p.m.  No reservations are required, but you might want to show up a little early in order to get a seat.

Astronomy 5681 (Spring semester)

For those of you planning to take Astronomy 5681 (Principles of Stellar Evolution & Nucleosynthesis), please note that there has been a change in prerequisites for this course since last year.

Previously, Physics 5600 (Statistical Mechanics) was required, though we usually ignored that.  The webpage for our undergrad major courses was not updated to reflect this change until recently.

The current prerequisites for Astronomy 5681 are Physics 5500, Math 2174 or 2255 or 2145, or permission of instructor.

Please send me an email (to if you believe you have the prerequisites for Astronomy 5681 but the registration system will not let you in.

New Astronomy Ph.D. program at Northwestern

Here is an excerpt from a letter I recently received.

I am writing to let you know that Northwestern is now offering a PhD program in Astronomy (in addition to our Physics PhD).  Could you please help us pass the word to prospective graduate students?  Here are some details about the new program.
Our goal with the Astronomy PhD is to engage students in research as quickly as possible, while at the same time providing them with access to a comprehensive set of graduate courses in astronomy and physics. This new program is part of a major expansion of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Northwestern, which includes the hiring of several new faculty members. Our Astronomy PhD program is designed to give students flexibility in their curriculum, so that they can take full advantage of the interdisciplinary research activities pursued within our Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Northwestern now also has institutional access to observatories including Keck and the MMT, which observationally-oriented students will be able to use for their research.
For more details, please see the introduction to our new program at or the CIERA web site ( 
Note that the Physics GRE is optional for students applying to the Astronomy PhD.


Interested? I know several people there, and it’s a good group.

Annual Alpheus Smith Lecture tomorrow

Every year the Department of Physics presents the annual Alpheus Smith Lecture.  This year’s event, the 55th of the series, will feature Dr. F. Duncan Haldane (2016 Nobel Prize Laureate) who will discuss “Entanglement:  Einstein’s Gift to Quantum Mechanics.”  This is a fascinating topic, and Dr. Haldane will provide some very exciting insights.

The lecture is free and open to everyone.  It will be in 100 Independence Hall tomorrow, October 10, at 8:00 p.m.  I suggest you arrive at least 10 minutes early in order to get a good seat!

For a longer announcement that has more details, see this link.