CORONA VIRUS UPDATE: All events are online-only until further notice.

My growing list of free science, engineering, and math events in the greater Washington, D.C. area. See...

Most events are for a general audience or for families. Exceptions, e.g. NSF lectures or college colloquia, are noted.

I'm interested in adding to my list. If you know of a great science event or organization worth adding, I'd love to know. You can send me a general message through my Contact Me page, or you can email me directly at I'll cite you if you'd like.

Upcoming Events

Date Type Event Name & Organization Event Description & Location
2020-10-28 (Wednesday) Online Event The Future of Data Science — NASEM Intelligence Community Studies Board Description: Colloquium to discus the future and evolution of data science. Event is from 11am to 5pm. The speakers will be followed by a panel session to take questions from viewers. Location: Online
2020-10-28 (Wednesday) Online Event Risky Business: The Science of Risk Perception — NAS Science & Entertainment Exchange Description: Bill Hallman, a professor at Rutgers University who studies risk perception, and Ahmed Best (Twitter: @ahmedbest), actor and producer, will discuss risk perception and how humans distinguish between scary and safe. The event is free but there is a $20 fee to join the question and answer period afterwards (why?). Even though this event isn't hosted locally---I usually post online-ony events that are broadcast from the DMV---it's hosted by National Academies of Science and I found their Science and Entertainment Exchange program interesting. The Exchange connects the entertainment industry with top scientists to create a synergy between storytelling and accurate science. Location: Online
2020-10-28 (Wednesday) Online Event Hidden ExpertLabX, National Academy of Sciences Event Description: Four storytellers tell a story on around a common theme. One of them is an expert in the area. It's up to the audience to determine who. The September Edition (YouTube link) was recorded and uploaded. Watch it to get a better idea of what the event is about. Event Location: Online
2020-10-28 (Wednesday) Online Event Our Origins in Space — Carnegie Science Description: The Kalvi Prize laureate lecture with professor Dr. Ewine F. van Dishoeck, Professor of Molecular Astrophysics, Leiden Observatory, Leiden University. She will discuss the dusty clouds between the stars that contain a water and a rich variety of organic materials and if the pre-biotic materials will end up in new planets and form the building blocks of life. Location: Online.
2020-11-06 (Friday) Online Lecture Is there a Crisis in Cosmology? — PSW Science Event Description: "The Hubble Constant (\(H_0\)) is the current expansion rate of the universe. It sets the size and age scale of the universe. Since Edwin Hubble’s 1929 discovery that the universe is expanding, astronomers have developed increasingly precise techniques for measuring \(H_0\), using telescopes both on Earth and in space...As measurements have improved, however, a tension has arisen between the value inferred from measurement of the cosmic background radiation (assuming the current standard cosmological model), and those measured locally. If the tension is real, it may signal A new physics beyond the standard model. This lecture will describe recent advances in the field, and prospects for settling this new debate over the value of \(H_0\). Location: Online
2020-11-10 (Tuesday) Online Event A Virtual Conversation with Seismologist Lara Wagnar — Carnegie Science Description: Lara Wagner will talk about the use of seismic data to understand the makeup of Earth's interior. She is a staff scientist with Carnegie Science. Location: Online
2020-11-14 (Saturday) Online Event A Geochemist’s Perspective on Planetary Differentiation — National Capital Astronomers Description: Lecture is part of NCA's monthly meeting. The speaker is Anat Shahar from the Carnegie Geophysical Laboratory. Monthly meetins are currently online only, and atendees must register to get a zoom link.

Science, Math, and Engineering Events by Organization

This section contains a listing of reoccurring events, organized by event type and organization. The event types:

  • Science Events: Science-focused events for general audiences. Science events are divided into:
    • Lecture Series: Traditional lecture-format events. Listen to entertaining talks.
    • Astronomical Viewings: Participatory science. View the night sky. Look through telescopes.
    • Causual Science: Science series that are a bit more interactive, relaxed, and outside the bounds of the traditional-topics, lecture-and-listen series.
  • Math Events: Math-focused events for general audiences
  • Smithsonian Events: The Smithsonian network of museums is so big, with so much going on, they've been broken into their own section.
  • Multi-discipline STEM Events: Multi-disciplinary events that cover a range of science, technology, engineering, and math topics.
  • Professional Events: STEM that are intended for professional audiences but that don't require special affiliation (i.e. anyone can attend).
  • Colleges: College lectures, colloquia, and seminars. Most of these events are intended for students and faculty of the respective schools, but for many the public can attend--I have direct confirmation from several departments. This is noted in the Description column.
  • Meetup Events: Selection of STEM events run through that are unaffiliated with a broader, external organization.
  • Miscellaneous: General resources, and things not classifiable in any of the above categories

Science Events

Lecture Series
Event Type Organization Description
Capital Science Evening Lectures Lecture Series Carnegie Institution for Science Free evening lectures at Carnegie Science's dedicated science lecture hall (at 1535 P. St. NW, Washington D.C., a few blocks East of Dupont Circle) by distinguished, active scientists. Quality lectures in a wonderful setting. Lectures can fill up, so sign up early for talks that you want to see. Twitter handle: @carnegiescience.
Broad Branch Road Neighborhood Lectures Lecture Series Carnegie Institution for Science Another free lecture series in DC by Carnegie Science. These lectures are located at their Broad Branch Road Campus, home of their Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and Geophysical Laboratory (at 5241 Broad Branch Road NW, Washington DC). Lectures align with the campus's research interests. I haven't been to this venue.
PSW Lecture Series Lecture Series Philosophical Society of Washington (PSW) Free evening lectures by prominent scientists on a range of STEM topics. Lectures are usually scheduled every other week and are always on Friday evenings, 8pm, at the Powell Auditorium of the the Cosmos Club (at 2121 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC). Twitter handle: @pswscience.
Science and Technology Lunchtime Lectures Lectures Library of Congress (LOC) Science and technology lectures at the Library of Congress as promoted by their Inside Adams blog. Lectures appear to be at the the Pickford Theater, 3rd floor of the James Madison Memorial Building. There are three Library of Congress buildings. These lectures are not located at the main Thomas Jefferson building.
Sackler Lecture Yearly Lecture National Academy of Science (NAS) Yearly lecture, free and open to the public. Lectures are in the wonderful NAS building (warning PDF), located off Constitution Avenue. There's a large, bronze statue of Albert Einstein outside. Past speakers: David Skorton (2018), Randy Schekman (2017), Jane Lubchenco (2016), Steven Levitt (2015). There's a museum in the wings of the building that's worth visiting.
Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia Lectures National Academy of Science (NAS) These lectures are usually located in Irving California, but a few occur in DC. See the events page for the exceptions. As far as I can tell, lectures in DC occur at their main NAS building; see the Sackler Lecture description for details. Topics address scientific topics of broad and current interest that cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines (from their website).
National Capital Astronomers Monthly Meeting Lecture Series National Capital Astronomers Astronomy educational lecture are given as part of their monthly meetings. The events are located at the UMD Observatory. I haven't gone to this venue. It's a bit of a trek from Northern Virginia.
Astronomical Viewings
Event Type Organization Description
National Capital Astronomers Exploring the Sky Astronomical Viewing National Capital Astronomers The National Capital Astronomers also have a monthly Exploring the Sky event, where they setup consumer telescopes and guide people through observing the night sky. They set up in a field South of the intersection of Military Rd and Glover Rd NW, near the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium.
NOVAC Public Viewing Astronomical Viewing Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) Northern Virginia Astronomy Club has monthly astronomical viewings and other events. Good organization worth supporting. Public viewings with available telescopes and enthusiastic members are held at Great Meadow, CM Crocket Park, and Sky Meadows State Park. See their web page for full details. Twitter handle: @novac_astronomy.
Analemma Society Astronomical and Turner Farm Events Astronomical Viewing, Lectures, Etc. Analemma Society The Analemma Society (an analemma is a diagram showing the position of the Sun in the sky) is a scientific outreach organization, that encourages interest in science through astronomy. They have regular, Friday Night Observing meetups and host astronomy courses (scroll down the main page for details). Both occur at Turner Farm (located at 925 Springvale Rd., Great Falls VA). The park has an observatory! Twitter handle: @AnalemmaSociety.
Washington Area Astronomy Meetup Events Astronomical Viewing, Etc. Washington Area Astronomy Meetup Informal group of people interested in astronomy, with regular meetups throughout the DMV area. A selection of recent events include watching the NASA Goddard launch (you can see the rocket trajectory from Washington DC), lecture meetups, and astronomical viewing meetups. Check out their Meetup page for events, locations, and times.
Astronomy Festival on the National Mall (AFNM) Yearly Festival, Astronomical Viewing Hofstra University and the Smithsonian Institution Part of Smithsonian Solstice Saturday. Features solar, optical, and radio telescope observations; hands-on activities, demonstrations, hand-outs, posters, banners, and videos; a planetarium show under a 25-foot blow-up dome; and a chance to mingle with astronomers. The last event was held on Saturday June 22nd, 2019. I'll update the description with next year's date when the information is released.
Casual Science

Science series that are a bit more interactive, relaxed, and outside the bounds of the traditional-topics lecture-and-listen events.

Event Type Organization Description
DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) Lecture Series Cultural Programs of the Natural Academy of Science (CPNAS) Lectures and monthly discussion forum on the intersection between math, science, and the arts. Interesting talks from both scientists and artists that support the interplay. They have a (free) reception afterwards. Lectures are held at the NAS Keck Center, located at 500 Fifth St. N.W., Washington DC (not the main NAS Building). Twitter handle: @CPNAS.
Nerd Nite DC Shows Talks Nerd Nite DC Monthly (approximately) informal gathering at the DC9 Nightclub (located at 1940 9th Street NW, Washington DC), occuring on the 2nd Saturday of each month. Talks are planned and given by members. Talks are focused on 'nerd topics' and are not exclusively science and math focused. Not free!: Tickets are $10. Twitter handle: @NerdNiteDC
DCSWA Science Cafe Discussion DC Science Writers Association Event Description: A bimonthly (every other month) discussion of a current science topic at the original, 14th St. NW, Busboys & Poets cafe. There isn't a dedicated listing page for this event series. Instead see the general DCSWA events page. Location: 14 St. NW Busboys & Poets (Google Maps link), Washington. D.C. Cafe is located a block away from the U Street / African-American Cival War Memorial / Cardozo Station metro stop.

Math Events

Event Type Organization Description
MAA Distinguished Lecture Series Lecture Series Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Math lectures by professors, educators, and practitioners. Events occur in the MAA Carriage House, a cozy meeting space in a converted carriage house, and the home of the MAA. Twitter handle: @maanow.
National Math Festival Festival National Math Festival Free, all ages event that occurs every other year. The last festival was in May 2019; the next one is scheduled for 2021. See how math relates to everything you love (2019 link): film, American football, music, dating, cryptography, etc. Hands on activities and excellent lecturers. Like the USA Science and Engeering Festival, the event is hosted by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Twitter handle: @natmathfestival.

Smithsonian Events

Science event series at one of the more than 20 Smithsonian museums and galleries.

Event Type Organization Description
National Air and Space Museum Events Varies Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Many free and fun events for children and adults including astronomical viewings, science demonstrations, talks, workshops, etc.). Outsiders should know that there are TWO Air and Space Museums, the one on the National Mall and the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia near the Dulles Airport. The Dulles location has the better collection of craft including a Lockeed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, and the Space Shuttle Discovery, but is not easily accessible via transit nor near the other Mall museums. The Mall location is acessible, but smaller. The Mall lcoation also has the the Pheobe Waterman Hass Public Observatory which is regularly open for public observation, e.g. every Wednesday through Saturday.
National Museum of Natural History Events Varies Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History As in the case of the National Air and Space Museum, there's an overwhelming amount of stuff going on. Free and for all ages. Please see their Events Page for location details.
National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Events Varies Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) The NMAAHC museum will occationally have events by and on African Americans in science, technology, engineering, and math. When they occur, I'll post them under upcoming events.

Multi-discipline STEM Events

Event Type Organization Description
USA Science and Engineering Festival Festival / Expo USA Science and Engineering Festival Large, national, science and engineering festival occurring every two years in Washington, DC, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (save the date: April 25-26, 2020). Excellent for kids of all ages. The convention center is full of booths and exhibits and demonstrations. In 2018 there were 650+ exhibitors and 50+ live performances by authors, science celebrities, explorers, and entrepreneurs. From last year: Danni Washington, Astronaut Jessica Meir, Steve Spangler, Dr. Kate Biberdorf, Grand Hank, and more.
Noche de Ciencas (Night of Science) Yearly Family Event Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Family science events designed to introduce Hispanic students (usually high school) and their families to STEM careers. The US Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, VA hosts a yearly Noche de Ciencas event (link points to Nov. 2019 event) for all K-12 students. There are lots of hands-on activities.

Professional Events

Event Type Organization Description
NSF MPS Distinguished Lecture Series Lecture Series National Science Foundation (NSF) The National Science Foundation (NSF) Mathematical and Physics Science (MPS) department has a Distinguished Lecture Series by and for active scientists---they are not intended for a general audience. For those interested, however, the lectures can be attended by people outside the NSF (I confirmed). To attend a lecture, a visitor pass is required. See the Lecture Series page for further information. Please email the point-of-contact on the page a couple of days ahead of time.
DC Science Writers Association Events Various DC Science Writers Association The DC Science Writers Association is an organization of science journalists and communicators. They have regular events for science writers: lectures, master classes, author talks, and so forth. Event types and locations vary. Some events are for a general audience, such as their Science Cafe event series (see Casual Science). See their event page for full details. Twitter handle: @DCSWA.
Washington Statistical Society Seminars Lecture Series Washington Statistical Society Lecture series for anyone who uses statistical methods in their professional work (statisticians, data analysts, etc.). The Washington Statistical Society is the Washington DC chapter of the American Statistical Society. See their 'About Us' page for additional information. They also maintain a MeetUp page where they list upcoming events. Twitter Handle: @WashStat
Morris Hansen Lecture Yearly Lecture Washington Statistical Society From the web site: "The Hansen Lecture series seeks to achieve balance between theory, applications, and policy; and to highlight the diversity of disciplines that inform survey practice."

Colleges Events

George Mason University
Event Type Department Description
Galileo’s Science Cafe Lecture Series College of Science Free, casual, science discussion with dinner. For a general audience.
Mason Science Series Lecture Series College of Science Lecture series from GMU College of Science faculty, alumni, and friends on cutting-edge research and breakthroughs in the world of science. For a general audience.
Science Fridays Lecture Series College of Science Friday lunch lecture series given by GMU College of Science faculty, post-docs, and graduate students where they talk about the interesting research they're involved with.
George Washington University
Event Type Department Description
Physics Department Colloquia Lecture Series Department of Physics Physics Department colloquia. I've confirmed with the department that the public can attend.
Nuclear Physics Seminars Lecture Series George Washington University Institute for Nuclear Studies Regular, Thursday, Nuclear Physics seminar. Their website is currently unviewable because of a bad certificate. I've contacted the department and will remove this warning once it's fixed.
Department of Chemistry Seminars Lecture Series Chemistry Department Regular, weekly, Chemistry Department seminar
Department of Statistics Seminars Lecture Series Department of Statistics Regular, every-other-week seminar on topics on current research topics.
Department of Mathematics Colloquia Lecture Series Mathematics Department Regular, weekly, Department of Mathematics colloquia.
Department of Mathematics Seminars Lecture Series Mathematics Department Department of Mathematics seminars featuring invited speakers.
University of Maryland
Event Type Department Description
Deparment of Physics Events Colloquia / Seminars Depends on the event Event calendar for events of interest to those in the UMD Department of Physics. That includes events with relevant subject matter from related departments like Chemistry, Biophysics, etc. There are too many colloquia and seminars to list each one. Check out the the links in the calendar for more information.
Department of Physics Colloquia Colloquia / Seminars Department of Physics Main Department of Physics colloquia.
W.J. Carr Lecture Yearly Lecture Department of Physics Yearly distinguished lecture on Superconductivty and Advanced Materials
Richard E. Prage Prize and Lectureship Yearly Lecture Department of Physics Yearly honorary award and lecture in the field of Condensed Matter.

Meetup Events

Event Type Organization Description
DC Tech Meetup Events Meetups DC Tech Meetup Community of technologists, investors, and entrepreneurs. They hold a mixture of events including member product demonstrations and networking events. The one networking event I and my SO attended had an unfortunate number of men more interested in pickups than product development, but I feel like their more formal product-pitch talks would be worth attending. The product demonstrations are held at The Washington Post, located at 1301 K Street Northwest, Washington DC. Twitter handle: @dctechmeetup.
R-Ladies DC Meetup Events Meetup R-Ladies DC Meetup R-Ladies DC is part of the larger R-Ladies community, and hosts R events in the Washington DC area that promote gender diversity in the R community. There are a mixture of events: lectures and tutorials, book club, job search help, and more. Twitter handle: @RLadiesDC