DMV STEM Organizations

Corona Virus Update: Many of these event series and organizations have shut down because of COVID-19.

This page contains a listing of DMV STEM organizations and event series. Most events are free and for non-specialists—enthusiasts, families, and kids. Events are divided as follows:

Event Type Description
Science events Science-focused events, divided into lecture series, astronomical viewings, casual science events, and nature events. Excludes Smithsonian events.
Math events Math-focused events.
Smithsonian events Events hosted by the Smithsonian Institution network of museums and research facilities.
Multi-disciplinary STEM events Multi-disciplinary events that cover a mixture of science, technology, engineering, and math topics that don't fit into the single-topic categories above.
Professional events STEM events that are intended for professional audiences but that don't require one to work for the hosting organization.
College events 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.
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

Sit and learn from educators and experts in beautiful settings.

Event Detail
Capital Science Evening Lectures — Carnegie Institution for Science Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: Free evening lectures at by influencial, 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. Lectures are located at Carnegie Science's dedicated science lecture hall, 1535 P. St. NW, Washington D.C., a few blocks East of Dupont Circle.
Broad Branch Road Neighborhood Lectures — Carnegie Institution for Science Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: Another free lecture series in DC by Carnegie Science. The 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 the venue.
Lecture Series — Philosophical Society of Washington (PSW) Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: 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, located at 2121 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC. Read additional information on the Cosmos Club (Wikipedia Link). Twitter handle: @pswscience.
Science and Technology Lunchtime Lectures — Library of Congress (LOC) Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: 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 — National Academy of Science Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: 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 few speakers: Rodney Brooks (2019), David Skorton (2018), Randy Schekman (2017), and Jane Lubchenco (2016). There's a museum of science and nature inspired art in the wings of the NAS building that's worth visiting.
Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia — National Academy of Science Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: 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 above for details. Topics "address scientific topics of broad and current interest that cut across the boundaries of traditional disciplines" (from their website).
Monthly Meeting — National Capital Astronomers Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: 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

Explore the night sky in the company of amateur enthusiast astronomers.

Event Detail
Exploring the Sky — National Capital Astronomers Audience: General Audience (All Ages)

Description: 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 — Northern Virginia Astronomy Club Audience: General Audience (All Ages)

Description: The Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) 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.
Astronomical Events — Analemma Society Audience: General Audience (All Ages)

Description: The Analemma1 Society is a scientific outreach organization, that encourages interest in science through astronomy. They have regular, friday-night public viewing sessions meetups and host astronomy courses. Most viewings are at Turner Farm (located at 925 Springvale Rd., Great Falls VA). The park has a roll-top observatory! Twitter handle: @AnalemmaSociety.
Washington Area Astronomy Meetup Audience: General Audience (All Ages)

Description: 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) — Hofstra University and Smithsonian Institution Audience: General Audience (All Ages)

Description: 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. There was no 2020 event because of COVID-19. I'll update the description with the 2021 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 Detail
DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER) — Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Science (CPNAS) Audience: General Audience (14+)

Description: 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 Audience: General Audience (21+)

Description: 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. Audience is 21+ because of drinking and the environment (venue restriction). Twitter handle: @NerdNiteDC
Science Cafe — DC Science Writers Association (DCWSA) Audience: Professionals (Science Writers)

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.

Nature centers


Math Events

Events for math enthusiasts.

Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
Distinguished Lecture Series — Mathematical Association of America (MAA) General Audience (14+) Description: Math lectures by professors, educators, and practitioners. Location: 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 General Audience (All Ages) Free, all ages event that occurs every other year. The last festival was in May 2019; the next one is scheduled for April 17th and 18th (Saturday and Sunday), 2021. See how math relates to everything you love (2019 link): film, American football, music, dating, cryptography, etc. Hands on activities and excellent lecturers. Location: Like the USA Science and Engeering Festival, the event is hosted by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Twitter handle: @natmathfestival.

Smithsonian Events

Events hosted by the Smithsonian Institution network of museums and research facilities.

Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
Events — National Air and Space Museum General Audience (All Ages) 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.
STEM in 30 — Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Middle School Kids "STEM in 30 is an Emmy-nominated program for middle school students produced by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. New episodes are released every month, followed by an Air and Space Live Chat, where you and your students can tune in live and ask our expert your questions."
Events — Museum of Natural History Events General Audience (All Ages) 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.
Events — National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Events General Audience (All Ages) 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.
Events — Lemelson Center For the Study of Invention and Innovation General Audience (14+) The Smithsonian Lemelson Center studies invention and innovation with the goal of "empowering the public to solve problems, navigate challenges, and effect real change in their lives and communities". It was founded by Jerome Lemelson, one of the most prolific US inventors in American history, and his wife Dorothy.

Multi-discipline STEM Events

Multi-disciplinary events that cover a mixture of science, technology, engineering, and math topics that don't fit into single-topic categories.

Event Details
USA Science and Engineering Festival Audience: General Audience (All Ages)

Description: Large, national, science and engineering festival occurring every two years in Washington, DC, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. 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)
— Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SPHE)
Audience: High School Students

Description: 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.
GSK Science in the Summer
— DC Public Library
Audience: Kids (two courses, for Grades 2 - 3 and 4 - 6; see details below)

Description: A free, hands-on, science education program for kids. Typically, the event is hosted by the DC Public Library but last year (2020) the event was virtual and I expect the same this year (2021). For 2021, at-home science kits were distributed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) at eight locations centered around Washington D.C. The DC class is part of a larger Science in the Summer program hosted around the country.

Professional Events

Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
MPS Distinguished Lecture Series — National Science Foundation (NSF) Professionals 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.
DCSWA Events — DC Science Writers Association (DCSWA) Science Writers 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.
WSS Seminars — Washington Statistical Society (WSS) Professionals 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 — Washington Statistical Society (WSS) Professionals 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."

College Events

George Mason University (GMU)

Calendar & Organization Department Description & Location
Galileo’s Science Cafe — GMU College of Science General Audience (14+) Free, casual, science discussion with dinner. For a general audience.
Mason Science Series — GMU College of Science Professionals 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 — GMU College of Science Professionals 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 (GWU)

Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
Physics Department Colloquia — GWU Department of Physics Professionals Physics Department colloquia. I've confirmed with the department that the public can attend.
Nuclear Physics Seminars — GWU Institute of Nuclear Studies Professionals 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 — GWU Chemistry Department Professionals Regular, weekly, Chemistry Department seminar
Department of Statistics Seminars — GWU Department of Statistics Professionals Regular, every-other-week seminar on topics on current research topics.
Department of Mathematics Colloquia — GWU Department of Mathematics Professionals Regular, weekly, Department of Mathematics colloquia.
Department of Mathematics Seminars — GWU Department of Mathematics Professionals Department of Mathematics seminars featuring invited speakers.

University of Maryland (UMD)

Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
Deparment of Physics Events — UMD STEM departments (various hosts) Professionals 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 — UMD Department of Physics Professionals Main Department of Physics colloquia.
W.J. Carr Lecture — UMD Department of Physics Professionals Yearly distinguished lecture on Superconductivty and Advanced Materials
Richard E. Prage Prize and Lectureship — UMD Department of Physics Professionals Yearly honorary award and lecture in the field of Condensed Matter.

Meetup Events

Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
DC Tech Meetup Events General Audience (14+) 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 General Audience (14+) 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


Calendar & Organization Audience Description & Location
Arlington Public Library Events Varies The Arlington Public Library has STEM events for kids (e.g. STEAM Wednesdays at Shirlington Library; the Rosie Riveters program for STEM-interested girls) and adults, including Maker Meetups. To find events, you can filter by event type (category) at their main calendar page. Arlington Central Library also recently completed a Marker Space area that is usable by individuals with a valid Arlington County library card. It has 3D printers, sewing machines (regular and Serger), woodshop benches, a soldering station, small milling machine, and other equipment.
Eventbrite Listing of DC Science Events Varies Eventbrite aggregation of science events in the DC area.

  1. an analemma is a diagram showing the position of the Sun in the sky as from a fixed location on Earth at the same time each day (mean solar time) over a year.