The Fermilab colloquium introduces staff, users, students and members of the public to a wide range of scientific and science-related topics presented by notable speakers from across the country and around the world. Colloquia are open to the public.

An integral part of Fermilab’s academic culture, “orange” colloquium talks are aimed at a broad scientific and technical audience, while “green” talks are of general interest to all laboratory staff, users and members of the public.

Colloquia are open to everyone. Unless otherwise advertised, the talks are held at 4 pm on Wednesday afternoons in the One West auditorium in Wilson Hall. Members of the public wishing to attend must show a photo ID at the laboratory entrance and tell the guard on duty that they are attending the colloquium.

Fermilab upcoming colloquia

Lectures begin at 4:00 p.m. in 1 West

  Appropriate for physicists     Appropriate for all lab staff and members of the public
July 19, 2018, 4:00 pm
Christoph Simon
I will describe the many facets of quantum optics research through examples from my own career. In particular, I will talk about theoretical and (in many cases) experimental work on demonstrating quantum non-locality, on bringing quantum effects such as superposition and entanglement to the macroscopic level, on implementing a global quantum network, on the possible existence of photonic communication channels in the brain, and on super-resolution imaging.
July 25, 2018, 4:00 pm
Rana X Adhikari, Caltech
Black hole binaries are a wonderful self-calibrating standard candle by which we can map the expansion of the universe...if only we could break the degeneracy between the redshift and luminosity. Three tricks will allow us to do this with gravitational wave detectors: (1) Quantum-free interferometry, (2) mirrors with no internal friction, and (3) a short baseline interferometer in space.
Aug. 8, 2018, 4:00 pm
Robert Nemiroff, Michigan Technological University & NASA
Astrophotography is one of the most popular areas of digital imaging, and NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD: is one of the most prominent venues for public astrophotographic display. The popularity of astrophotography spurs competition that results in innovation in imaging component areas including science, education, hardware, and software. NASA and the world's foremost astronomical observatories typically lead in science and hardware innovation, while astrophotographers and data analysts usually lead in education and software innovation. Examples of all types of astrophotography, as highlighted on APOD, will be presented and discussed, including videos and some of the best, most popular, and most innovative astronomy images yet taken.
Aug. 15, 2018, 4:00 pm
Chris Quigg, Fermilab
n the summer of 1918, Emmy Noether published the theorem that now bears her name, establishing a profound connection between symmetries and conservation laws. The influence of this insight is pervasive in physics; it underlies all of our theories of the fundamental interactions and gives meaning to conservation laws beyond useful empirical rules. Noether’s papers, lectures, and personal interactions with students and colleagues drove the development of abstract algebra, establishing her in the pantheon of twentieth-century mathematicians. The talk will trace her path from Erlangen through Göttingen to a brief but happy exile at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, illustrating the importance of The Theorem for the way we think today.
Sept. 5, 2018, 4:00 pm
Cindy Crosby, Writer
Illinois’ landscape of home---the tallgrass prairie---has been viewed by people over time in many different ways. Historically, Native Americans saw prairie as grocery store, pharmacy, and a resource for everything from love charms to ceremonial treasures. Some early explorers saw it as a desolate, lonely place. Many early settlers saw prairie as a place to be conquered. Artists, musicians, photographers and other creatives see the prairie as a place for inspiration. Developers may see it as a potential resource. Many of today's researchers, site managers, and stewards view the tallgrass prairie as a place whose past holds keys to understanding our future. Listen to stories of how the tallgrass prairie has been viewed by people over time, as you reflect on how you and others "see" prairie today.
Sept. 19, 2018, 4:00 pm
Michael Blanton, NYU
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has been mapping the universe for about 20 years at Apache Point Observatory (APO), through four phases of operation and with an evolving and expanding suite of capabilities. I will review its legacy in mapping large scale structure in the galaxy distribution, which was one of the key goals of the project at its beginning at the time of Fermilab's leadership, and which SDSS will finish its observations of in early 2019. I will describe how SDSS will continue to study the astrophysics of stars and galaxies using a unique suite of instrumentation at both APO and at Las Campanas Observatory, where we are now also operating. These surveys are measuring the dark matter content, stellar formation history, ionized gas properties, and internal structure of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. The fifth phase of the program, SDSS-V, will greatly expand these investigations at both observatories with new capabilities allowing a more rapid and complete coverage of the entire sky.
Sept. 26, 2018, 4:00 pm
Jace DeCory, Black Hills State University
Mitakuyepi- my relatives. The Black Hills of South Dakota is known as He Sapa or Paha Sapa to my ancestors, my people, the Lakota. The Lakota and other Tribal Nations have had special ties to this area for thousands of years. For the Lakota, the Black Hills are the heart of everything that is, the center of our universe, where special sites remain vital to our existence. It is the responsibility of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires, to protect and preserve these sacred places where our Lakota ceremonies are held. We hold them with reverence, where we come to pray, not play. The Black Hills remind us to be respectful of Grandmother Earth and all that is. For indeed, we are all here for a purpose. Mitakuye Oyasin – For all my relatives/We are all related.