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Where to find physics talks/lectures for hobbyists?

  1. May 31, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone! I am brand new here, I was wondering if anyone can point me in the direction of a website or organization where I can find physics talks I can go to. I live near Washington DC.

    I've google-searched everything I can think of, and checked the Georgetown Physics dept website also. Everything I find seems to be for professionals or students, and I am neither.

    I've always been interested in science but recently got totally addicted to it thanks to Prof Brian Cox and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I'm reading "The Quantum Universe" and really want to learn more about quantum mechanics, particle physics and the Higgs boson. I would love to go to some in-person lectures in addition to reading books and watching TV shows. Can anyone help me out?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2014 #2


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    You're looking for popular science right?

    There are lots of good popular physics books by Stephen Hawking. Try reading "A Brief History of Time", "A Briefer History of Time" and "The Grand Design".

    You might also want to watch a little Feynman. User micromass shared these excellent videos with me a few days ago on PF:


    There's also this great talk by Murray Gell-mann

    As for TV Shows. Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan is available on Youtube. It is (in my opinion) the best popular science TV Series of all time.

  4. May 31, 2014 #3
    Thanks for the suggestions, but I'm actually looking for information about in-person lectures.
  5. May 31, 2014 #4


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    There are physics related lectures on MIT Open Courseware

    EDIT: They're not in-person, but they should be helpful.
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  6. May 31, 2014 #5


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    Check out local colleges and universities. They often host guest speakers on a variety of topics. Professional societies will host symposiums, too.

    Also look for Science Cafes in your area.

    You might look for a science-oriented group on Meetup.
  7. May 31, 2014 #6
    What university are you close to? Try contacting them.

    Our local university does a monthly community outreach presentation. The lectures cover a wide range of scientific topics. It is not always the polular main stream stuff but interesting none the less. Maybe they have something like this in your area.
  8. May 31, 2014 #7
    The American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, and the University of Maryland are in College Park, just northeast of Washington. NASA Goddard is next to them in Greenbelt. NASA itself is in Washington as I am sure you know. In nearby Baltimore you have Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute, as well as the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. You already know about Georgetown University, and you may want to see if George Washington University is having any happenings. AFAIK most if not all of the places I listed have events open to the public related to physics and cosmology, though they may not scratch the itch you are looking to scratch.
  9. Jun 14, 2014 #8
    Yes I would like to echo this. At my university senior seminar and an introductory class for physics majors are open to all who would like to attend...even the public. The introductory seminars are usually great for people who want to understand topics without getting too in depth with equations ...until a nuclear astrophysicist walks in:biggrin:
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