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 are usually in the One West or auditorium in Wilson Hall. We will temporarily be holding remote or zoom meetings while the site is closed to the public. 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. via zoom, virtual meetings

  Appropriate for physicists     Appropriate for all lab staff and members of the public
April 1, 2020, 4:00 pm
Professor Frederick L. Coolidge, PhD, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Zoom meeting
While the presence of different languages throughout the world is undeniable, the origin of language and its evolution is highly contentious. In part, the problem is that, unlike fossils, languages, especially unwritten languages (before about 4000 BC), do not preserve. There is virtually no evidence of their nature: This means that we do not know what these languages sounded like: For example, did they sing to express their thoughts, did they whistle, did they use gestures while they spoke, or gestures alone? Another major problem with understanding how languages got their start is that the single most influential linguist in the last seven decades, Noam Chomsky, claims language did not evolve but appeared suddenly by one gene in one person 100,000 years ago. The purpose of the present talk is to explain why Chomsky is wrong, how language did evolve, why people speak, and why the most popular topic in all the world’s cultures is gossip.
May 6, 2020, 4:00 pm
Prof. Janna Levin, Barnard College of Columbia University
May 13, 2020, 4:00 pm
Susan Gardner, University of Kentucky
Oct. 28, 2020, 4:00 pm
Professor Eva Zurek, University at Buffalo, State University of NY