Community Education & Outreach

The Department of Physics and Astronomy organizes a variety of outreach and educational activities and programs for the Orange County community, including public lectures, school visits, and more. To support our educational and outreach programs, please see our Giving page.

Reines Lectureship

The Frederick Reines Lecture is is an annual public lecture presented by a distinguished physicist or astrophysicist. These lectures honor the legacy of Frederick Reines, discoverer of the neutrino, founding Dean of the UC Irvine School of Physical Sciences, and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The 2024 Reines Lecturer will be Professor Andrea Ghez of UCLA, recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize for her work on the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The event will take place in March 2024, and more information will be posted on the Physics and Astronomy web site in early 2024.

Past Reines Lecturers:

Astronomy Outreach Program

The Astronomy Outreach Program run by Professor Tammy Smecker-Hane brings lectures, hands-on activities in astronomy, and star or Sun-gazing with portable telescopes to K-12 grade classes or public groups for a nominal fee and organizes on-campus viewing events such as solar and lunar eclipses. Learn more at
The former UCI Observatory was a campus facility that housed a 24-inch telescope and numerous portable telescopes. In 2014, the Observatory land was re-purposed for other uses and the Observatory was closed. The Department is currently investigating other locations for a future UCI Observatory. For more information, see the links below:
UCI Observatory (web site of the former UCI Observatory)

John Rosendahl's Adventures in Physics
UC Irvine Physics Assemblies & Annual Public Event

The Adventures in Physics program provides engaging demonstrations of physics in elementary school assemblies in the Orange County area and hosts an annual public event in January for the entire community.  Click here for more information about the Physics Assemblies program.

Physical Sciences Breakfast Lecture Series

The UCI School of Physical Sciences Breakfast Lecture Series is a platform for UCI scientists to communicate exciting research results to the public. Each year's program includes faculty from Physics and Astronomy and from the other Physical Sciences departments including Chemistry, Earth System Science, and Mathematics.  For the schedule of upcoming lectures and to RSVP, see the Physical Sciences web site.

UCI COSMOS Summer Science Program

COSMOS is a month-long, intensive summer science program for high-school students held on the UCI campus. The program offers several "clusters" focusing on different subjects in science, engineering, and mathematics, and each year there are clusters devoted to topics in physics and astronomy. Applications for the program are due in January or February each year. For more information, consult the UCI COSMOS web site or the UC state-wide COSMOS web site.

Rising Stargirls

Rising Stargirls, founded by Professor Aomawa Shields in 2014, is dedicated to encouraging girls of all colors and backgrounds to learn, explore, and discover the universe. We do this by engaging girls in interactive astronomy workshops using theater, writing, and visual art to address each girls as a whole. This provides an avenue for individual self-expression and personal exploration that is interwoven with scientific engagement and discovery. We are planning local workshops for both educators and middle-school girls in Orange County and surrounding areas. See the Rising Stargirls web site for more information and to sign up for the mailing list.

Seminars and Colloquia

The Department of Physics and Astronomy hosts regular Seminars and Colloquia throughout the academic year.  Seminar speakers present research results at a professional level suitable for researchers and students in Physics and Astronomy.

For a complete list of seminars, please visit our seminar website.