For more than 100 years, the Watson Lectures have brought the wonder of Caltech research and discovery to the public.
Join us on campus for an evening of science, engineering, and conversation
Caltech welcomes you to the Watsons, an engaging lecture series in Beckman Auditorium, where you will hear from scientists and engineers on the forefront of discovery who are expanding knowledge, tackling society's most pressing challenges, and inventing the technologies of the future.
Free and open to the public, the Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series offers a unique and accessible opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge science directly from Caltech's premier researchers. Come early to mingle with your neighbors over food, drink and music, as well as interactive displays related to the evening's topic. Then head inside to hear a stimulating talk and stay to ask your burning questions.
The live event is in-person and a recording will be made available on our Youtube channel.
A Legacy of Sharing Science with the Community
The Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series began in 1922. Originally known as the "Friday Evening Demonstration Lectures," the series was started by Earnest C. Watson, a professor of physics at Caltech from 1919 to 1959, in order to share modern scientific advances with the public and foster a greater appreciation for the impact of fundamental research. For the talks, Watson would stand in front of a packed lecture hall to deliver his famed "liquid-air" demonstration, in which he would open a bottle of air that had been cooled to minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and the contents would appear to "boil" out of the bottle and engulf Watson in white fumes. While Watson's famed demonstrations would no longer meet current safety guidelines, the spirit of his talks and his interest in inspiring an appreciation and understanding of science remains and has motivated generations of faculty to share the details of their work.
Eventually renamed in his honor, the Watson Lectures continue to spotlight pathbreaking Caltech research.
Read more about the legacy of Earnest C. Watson here.
2023-24 Watson Season At-a-Glance
All lectures take place in the Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus.
October 18, 2023
Professor of Chemistry
Learn about nature as a treasure trove of potential treatments for disease.
November 8, 2023
James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience; Chen Brain-Machine Interface Center Leadership Chair; Director, Chen Brain-Machine Interface Center
Learn about neural prosthetics to help paralyzed people.
December 13, 2023
Assistant Professor of Medical Engineering; Investigator, Heritage Medical Research Institute; Ronald and JoAnne Willens Scholar
Learn about wearable sweat sensors that more accurately monitor health.
January 31, 2024
Professor of Planetary Science; Associate Director, Keck Institute for Space Studies
Learn about the Lunar Trailblazer mission to investigate water on the moon.
February 7, 2024
Shrinivas (Shri) Kulkarni
George Ellery Hale Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Science
Learn about the Zwicky Transient Facility's latest discoveries.
March 13, 2024
Diana Kormos Buchwald
Robert M. Abbey Professor of History; Director and General Editor, The Einstein Papers Project
Learn about Einstein's time in Pasadena as reflected in the Einstein Papers.
April 24, 2024
Professor of Geophysics
Learn about the use of fiber optic cables to better detect earthquakes.
May 22, 2024
Gordon & Betty Moore Professor of Engineering & Applied Science, Emeritus
Learn about the history of science.
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Explore Past Lectures
Unlocking Movement: Helping Paralyzed People Use Thought to Control Computers and Robotic Limbs
Watch more past Watson Lectures on Caltech's YouTube channel.