Icko Iben Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series in Astronomy



Vicky Kalogera, Northwestern, Daniel I. Linzer Distinguished University Professor





Professor Vicky Kalogera is a leading astrophysicist in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC), LIGO being the telescopes that first detected gravitational waves in 2015. An expert in the astrophysics of black holes and neutron stars and in LIGO data analysis, Kalogera has been a member of the LSC for more than 15 years, and was elected a member of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2018. For her research she has been recognized by numerous awards, including the 2018 Heineman Prize for Astrophysics by the American Institute for Physics and the American Astronomical Society.


Founded in 1997 and named in honor of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Icko Iben Jr., the Icko Iben Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series brings a noted astronomer to campus to highlight some of the latest developments in astronomy in a forum geared for the general public.


  • Fall 2018: "The Universe Continues to Reveal Surprises", Dr. Wendy Freedman, John and Marion Sullivan University Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago
  • Spring 2018:  "Exoplanets & The Search For Habitable Worlds," Dr. Sara Seager, Professor of Planetary Science, Physics, and Aerospace Engineering at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology 
  • Spring 2015:  "What Scientists Know About The Big Bang,"  Dr. John E. Carlstrom, Subramanyan Chandrasekhar Professor of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago, and deputy director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.
  • Fall 2012: "The Galactic Center: Unveiling the Heart of our Galaxy," Andrea Ghez, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Fall 2010: "Exploring the Dark Side of the Universe," Tony Tyson, University of California, Davis
  • Spring 2009: "Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe", Alex Filippenko, University of California, Berkeley
  • Fall 2008: "The World According to the Hubble Space Telescope", Mario Livio, STScI
  • Spring 2006: "The Mars Exploration Rover Mission", Steven W. Squyres, Cornell University
  • Fall 2004: "Massive Black Holes, or Gravity Strikes Back", Reinhard Genzel, Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics & University of California, Berkeley
  • Fall 2003: "Cosmic Collisions: How Astronomers are Saving the World", David Morrison, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Fall 2002: "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence", William J. Welch, University of California, Berkeley
  • Spring 2002: "Large Optical Telescopes: The Next Generation", W.L.W. Sargent, California Institute of Technology
  • Fall 2000: "Are We Alone?", Steven Beckwith, Space Telescope Science Institute
  • Fall 1999: "The Universe: Big, Old, Accelerating?", Robert P. Kirshner, Harvard University
  • fall 1997: "Binary Pulsars and Einstein's Gravity", Joseph H. Taylor, Princeton University