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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Public Lecture Series

The "Distinguished Lecture Series in Physics and Astronomy" began in Fall 2016 and is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Each speaker in this series will give an open colloquium, presented at a level approachable by any interested undergraduate students.

In addition, each distinguished guest will give a public lecture on the USC campus. These public lectures are designed to engage the broader community of Columbia and South Carolina and will touch on exciting topics at the forefront of physics and astronomy. These talks are meant to be accessible to a broad public audience, including not only USC students, faculty, and staff, but also high school students, alumni, friends, and neighbors of the University.

All events are free of charge and everyone is invited!

If you would like to receive announcements and updates regarding our latest public lectures and special events, please e-mail Ms. Beth Powell ( for more details.

Previous Events in the Public Lecture Series:

Dr. Arthur McDonald, 2015 Winner of Nobel Prize in Physics, Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)
"Understanding the Universe from Deep Underground"
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Dr. Megan Donahue, President of the American Astronomical Society, Michigan State University
"Galaxies and Supermassive Black Holes:  Galaxies at the Edge of Time"
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dr. Arthur Hebard
, Distinguished Professor of Physics, University of Florida
"Ah Ha Moments with Physics:  From Free Quarks to Buckyballs to Topological Phase Transitions"
Friday, November 2, 2018

Dr. William Moerner, 2014 Winner of Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Stanford University
"What Can We Learn by Watching Single Molecules? The Promise and Challenges of Super Resolution Microscopy"
Friday, March 23, 2018

Dr. Barry Barish
, 2017 Winner of Nobel Prize in Physics, California Institute of Technology
"Einstein, Black Holes, and Gravitational Waves"
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Dr. Laura Greene, President of the American Physical Society, Florida State University
"The Dark Energy of Condensed Matter Physics:  High-Temperature Superconductivity"
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dr. Craig Roberts, Distinguished Professor and Senior Physicist, Argonne National Laboratory
"Laying the God Particle to Rest"
Monday, August 21, 2017 (in conjunction with the NSTAR 2017 Conference and Total Eclipse Weekend)

Dr. Sarbani Basu, Chair of the Department of Astronomy, Yale University
"Solar Eclipses:  the Dread and the Fascination"
Friday, August 18, 2017 (in conjunction with Total Eclipse Weekend)

Dr. Adam Riess, 2011 Winner of Nobel Prize in Physics, Johns Hopkins University
"Supernovae and the Discovery of the Accelerating Universe"
Thursday, January 17, 2017

Dr. Mario Livio, Astrophysicist and Best-Selling Author
"Brilliant Blunders"
Thursday, September 8, 2016

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