UIUC astronmer Jim Kaler, photo from University of Illinois Archives

On the first Friday of the month at 6:30 pm, the Staerkel Planetarium becomes a forum for a local scientist to discuss his or her specialties. 

All audiences are welcome! Admission is $2 for everyone and free for members of the Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium. Teachers, group leaders, invite your classes! 

The series was named for UIUC astronomer Jim Kaler, who gave his time to speak in our series every year for over 20 years. 

2021-2022 Lecture Series

  • 2021 October 1
    "Nature & Nurture: Examining How Diverse Organisms Adapt to Changes in their Everyday Environment"
    Community college students and alumni will present their research performed with the Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students (PRECS).
  • 2021 November 5
    "Rethinking Nuclear Power: Small Systems, Big Potential"
    Caleb Brooks (UIUC, Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering) focuses his work on enabling and expanding safe, peaceful uses of nuclear power.
  • 2021 December 3
    "The Evolution of Family Life: A Case Study in a Small Fish"
    Alison Bell (UIUC, Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior) studies the variations of social behavior, such as parental care, within different populations of the threespined stickleback fish.
  • 2022 February 4
    "The Lives and Deaths of Galaxies"
    Decker French (UIUC, Astronomy) will discuss how galaxies grow by forming new stars and merging with other galaxies, and what happens when star formation gets shut down.
  • 2022 March 4
    “Ceramics that Breathe: New Materials Development for Sustainable Energy”
    Nicola Perry (UIUC, Materials Science and Engineering) tests "solid state ionic" materials in extreme environments to promote their applications in producing cleaner energy.
  • 2022 April 1
    “Storing Energy Big Time Using Nano Materials”
    Joaquín Rodríguez-López (UIUC, Chemistry) will tell you about new technologies to store the renewable energy using flow batteries and responsive nanomaterials that take care of the battery.