Shapley Visiting Lectureships

** Note added in early 2024: The Shapley Lectureships program is slowly re-emerging from a hiatus which began in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the coming months the information on this page will be brought up to date. Please contact [email protected] for any questions or concerns.

The Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship Program of the American Astronomical Society is a program of two day visits by professional astronomers who bring the excitement of modern astronomy and astrophysics to colleges of all types. Participation is open to two-year colleges and four-year undergraduate institutions throughout North America including Canada and Mexico, and, especially institutions that do not offer an astronomical degree.

Shapley Lecturers contribute to the host institution's academic program and intellectual environment in many different ways. They must give at least one presentation that is free and open to the general public, the Harlow Shapley Lecture. But they may also engage in a variety of other activities, including but not limited to: guest teaching a class in physical, mathematical, and general science, as well as astronomy; giving a research colloquium or seminar presentation; interacting with students informally regarding graduate school and careers; discussing teaching and curriculum with faculty, deans, and administrators; visiting local primary and secondary schools (which is encouraged). Presentations range from non-mathematical to advanced and technical, depending on the audience.

Program Costs

Host institutions are asked to contribute $300 in support of the program. The AAS will cover the Lecturer's travel expenses. An institution may choose to pay travel costs for a visitor. If the institution does choose to pay for transportation and lodging the AAS can reimburse the institute but the institute can not pay travel in lieu of the $300; please arrange with the Shapley Program prior to the visit. The institution is not expected to provide an honorarium for the speaker.

Where the $300 contribution would involve serious hardship or limit the opportunity of an institution to participate, the Society will consider waiving a portion of the institutional fee.


To apply for a Shapley Lectureship Visit, please fill out the Visit Request Form and be sure to note your preferred dates. If you have a preference for a topic or Lecturer please let us know that as well. You will be notified once the application is received and processed. The Shapley Lecture program is limited to one visit per academic year. The schedule of activities, which includes the Harlow Shapley Lecture itself, is arranged by the host institution directly with the visiting lecturer.

Sponsored by the American Astronomical Society and the Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureship Endowment Fund.