Overview
The Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics is celebrating its 123rd anniversary together with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the University of Chicago. The Department is also celebrating its new home, the William Eckhardt Research Center, a state-of-the-art research building that will house all members of the Department after more than 50 years of being located in several sites.


Faculty, researchers, students, staff, alumni, and friends of the Department
are cordially invited to the celebration.


William Eckhardt Research Center (ERC), the University of Chicago
On November 17th and 18th, faculty, researchers, students, staff, alumni, and friends of the Department will gather in the William Eckhardt Research Center for an event that will showcase the Department's history, latest scientific achievements, and vision for the future of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The two-day event will feature talks, panels, and a film to celebrate and explore our rich heritage and our bold aspirations for future research in Astronomy and Astrophysics, including: the origin and evolution of the Universe; the search for Earth twins; the most extreme phenomena in the Universe; state-of-the art computing and observing tools; future technologies needed to advance our knowledge; and advances in graduate and undergraduate teaching and public outreach of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

A Bit of History
In the beginning - Members of the Department with Albert Einstein
We are celebrating our 123th birthday - our Department has had a long and quite colorful past.

The founding genius was George Ellery Hale, who subsequently built the Mt. Wilson observatory, providing our graduate Edwin Hubble with the tools to discover the expansion of the Universe. Hale also co-founded the Astrophysical Journal, which was edited until 1971 within our Department. Other luminaries who have had strong associations with our Department are E. E. Barnard, Otto Struve, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Gerard Kuiper, William Morgan, Bengt Stromgren and David Schramm among many others.

The astrophysics program at the University of Chicago began with the building of the Yerkes Observatory, in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, where the entire Department was located. By the mid-sixties it had become clear that ties to the intellectual community on campus needed to be strengthened, and there was a shift of the center of mass from Wisconsin to Chicago. All of the academic programs are now on campus.

The Department faculty in 2013
Welcome to our exciting, stimulating, friendly and diverse Department!

We work on a wide range of topics at the frontiers of astrophysics: from understanding the beginning of the Universe to searching for habitable extrasolar planets; from the formation and evolution of the earliest galaxies to the most energetic events in the modern Universe; from our own solar system to the largest structures of the Universe. We build the most sensitive detectors that can study cosmic information spanning 25 orders of magnitude in energy (from radio to ultrahigh energy particles), we use the most powerful telescopes on the ground and in space, and we think about the cosmic consequences of physical phenomena from highly magnetized plasmas to theories of nature's fundamental interactions.

We lead international projects with scientific activities from the South Pole, Argentina, and Chile, to space and airplane based observatories that constantly circle the Earth or the Sun. We go anywhere we can learn more about the Universe.

We convey the excitement of our cosmic discoveries to the best graduate and undergraduate students in the world, as well as to Chicago public schools and the public at large through the Adler Planetarium and other outreach venues. We spread the wonders of the Universe around the city and around the world, and open the door to the cosmos for the next generation of astronomers, astrophysicists, and curious beings.

We are Chicago Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Angela V. Olinto,
Homer J. Livingston Professor and Chair Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics