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
May 30, 2018, 4:00 pm
Jason Bono, Fermilab
Music is nearly universal in human culture and yet it remains mysterious. In order to help answer some of music’s fundamental questions, we will briefly turn to archeology and early history before examining some of music’s salient features from a physical and mathematical perspective. Principles rooted in physics and pure mathematics will provide a link to intercultural qualities of musical tone and melody to the deep role that symmetry plays in human perception, thus shedding light on the questions that we set out to answer. To enhance clarity and familiarity, various concepts will be illustrated with animations and sound bites.
June 13, 2018, 4:00 pm
John Campbell, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Ernest Rutherford was the first person to be awarded a Nobel Prize for research carried out in Canada (1908, Chemistry) and the first person to split the atom (1918). He was at McGill University from 1898 until 1907. It was there that he laid the foundation for his nuclear atom (1911), his splitting the atom using particles from natural radioactivity (1918), and splitting the atom by entirely artificial means through the use of the first linear particle accelerator (1932). John Campbell is the biographer of Rutherford (Rutherford – Scientist Supreme), the producer of the 3-hour Rutherford documentary, the organizer of the Rutherford Birthplace Project, the initiator of New Zealand’s Ask-A-Scientist program, and runs the website He is retired from the University of Canterbury.
June 27, 2018, 4:00 pm
Edward Feser
The idea of a law of nature is central to scientific explanation. Laws themselves are often said to be explicable in terms of more fundamental laws. But what about the most fundamental laws? Why is the world governed by those particular laws rather than by other laws or no laws at all? And what exactly is a law of nature in the first place? Are these questions that science itself can answer, or is there a role for philosophy in answering them?
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.
Sept. 26, 2018, 4:00 pm
Jace DeCory, Kurt Riesselmann