Astronomy Lecturer, Star Party Host, or Planetarium Concert!

Dr. James R. Webb

Professor of Physics

Director of the SARA Observatory
Florida International University
Office phone (305) 348-3964

Specialty: Public Lectures on Astronomy and Physics Planetarium Acoustic Concerts featuring astronomy songs and visuals.

To Contact Dr. Webb about an Event, call (305) 348-3964 or E-mail:



Teaching Awards

Professional Activities

Would you like a presentation to your group or school?

  • Astronomy or Physics lectures on most topics
  • Informal gatherings at star parties
  • Musical Planetarium shows (live acoustic astronomy music plus slide shows)(see Astromusic web page)

    Sample Presentations

    I have indicated here eight presentations which I have given to amateur astronomical groups and general public audiences. I generally speak for 45 minutes and allow approximately 15 minutes for questions and discussion. I am happy to address all questions pertaining to astronomy or physics even if they are not immediately related to the presentation. I am also willing to speak on topics in astronomy not covered in these preset lectures and can tailor the lecture to the group by age and or education as desired.

    An Evening at the Edge of the Universe

    This program is a multimedia presentation introducing laymen to the world of extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. I use music and slides help illustrate our current knowledge of the farthest reaches of the Universe. The discussion includes exotic objects known as quasars, galaxy formation and the science of cosmology. A discussion of Black holes in this context usually follows.

    The Scientific Search for Life in the Universe

    This lecture explores the current state of the scientific search for extraterrestrial life. It includes background so the audience will understand why and how serious scientists attack this important topic. I discuss life on Earth, the search for radio waves from extraterrestrial civilizations, and the problem of UFO's. All topics are discussed in a scientific context including the latest information and observations. I also give handouts containing related web sites and books in case the audience is interested in pursuing the subject further.

    Asteroids, Impacts and the Earth

    The possibility of an asteroid or comet hitting the Earth is discussed. I discuss historical impacts, recent impacts in the Solar System, and possible future impacts in a scientific context. I also discuss current astronomical programs designed to map near Earth asteroids.

    The Strange World of Relativity

    Albert Einstein's Special and General Theory of Relativity are introduced and explained In terms a non-scientific audience can understand. This lecture was crafted from years of explaining Relativity in College courses, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. I concentrate on concepts and only occasionally refer to mathematics. When I do refer to mathematics, it is an attempt to show the audience how relativity is actually used.

    Gravitational Waves: Seeing the Universe in a new 'Light'

    THis lecture starts out with a discussion of gravity, explains Einstein's theory of gravity, and goes on to describe the nature of gravitational waves. We also discuss the detection and the possibilities for increasing our understanding of the universe once we detect them.

    Lecture: It's About Time!

    Dr. Webb discusses the nature of time in physics. Going from thermodynamics, to quantum, to relativity, explaining each concept clearly to a general audience.

    Pulsars: Lighthouses in the Universe

    This talk was requested by the Southern Cross Astronomical Society. In it, Dr. Webb explains neutron stars, magentic fields, the detection of Pulsars, and the newest twist on pulsars: Magnetars!

    The Accelerating Universe

    The newest observations and the latest theoretical developments in cosmology are discussed. Dr. Webb puts the new stuff in context with a detailed explanation of the basics of cosmology and the Big Bang Theory.

    The Edge of Physics: Time Travel and Teleportation. Discussion of the newest cutting edge ideas about sci-fi fare time travel and quantum teleportation with an emphasis of what modern physics says may be possible, and how probable we may be able to do these things!



    My lectures normally require only an overhead projector and a slide projector. The "Evening at the Edge of the Universe" requires a sound system capable of playing cassette tapes or CD's. A microphone is sometimes desirable although only necessary for very large rooms.

    Back to Dr. Webb's Hom e Page