Montana State University

MSU alumna, head of Adler Planetarium to speak April 5 at Museum of the Rockies

March 6, 2014 -- MSU News Service

Michelle Larson, president and CEO of the Adler Planetarium, will speak April 5 in Bozeman. (Photo courtesy of Adler Planetarium).    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN -- Michelle Larson, a Montana State University alumna and the president and CEO of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, will give an Astronomy Day lecture at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 5, in the Taylor Planetarium of MSU’s Museum of the Rockies.

Larson will discuss "Cosmic Wonder, The Only Thing Bigger Than the Universe is Human Curiosity." The lecture is free and open to the public.

Throughout time, humans have engaged with the cosmos through an ongoing cycle of wonder, observation and discovery, according to Larson. In this talk, she will discuss the universe, from ancient observations to modern discoveries, as well as unsolved mysteries that still challenge scientists. Featuring historic images from the Adler Planetarium’s archive, as well as modern satellite data, Larson will tell the story of how we’ve built, over time, an understanding of the workings of the cosmos. The audience will also hear about Zooniverse, citizen science projects that allow anyone to participate in frontier science and help unlock mysteries of the unknown.

In 2013, Larson became the first female president of the Adler Planetarium, “America’s First Planetarium.” A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Larson received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics from MSU. She completed her postdoctoral work in high-energy astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology. Larson previously served as vice provost and professor of physics at Utah State University and deputy director of the Center for Gravitational Wave Physics at Pennsylvania State University. She also served as the deputy director of NASA’s Montana Space Grant Consortium where she coordinated research and education activities with the faculty and students at 24 affiliate campuses and partners.

Larson’s lecture is sponsored by MSU’s Department of Physics and presented by the College of Letters and Science's Distinguished Speakers Series. The series, which began in the spring of 2011, brings distinguished scholars to MSU to give a public talk and to meet with faculty and students in order to enrich the intellectual life on campus and to enhance research connections.

For more information about this and other lectures in the Letters and Science Distinguished Speakers Series, go to or call 994-4288.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or