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Information for Colloquia Hosts

Colloquia offer an opportunity for scientists, engineers, and staff to hear about topics at the forefront of astrophysical research from leaders in their field. Themes range from upcoming NASA missions to the latest detections that are shifting and sharpening astronomical research and analysis. The colloquia are designed to bring scientists together and foster discussion across disciplines, encouraging collaboration.

Schedule at the CfA

The host arranges a local schedule for the speaker - including appointments with CfA staff, students, etc. - and helps the speaker find her/his way through the CfA!

The host is responsible for office space as needed. Most speakers do not stay long enough to worry about computer accounts, but the host should arrange it if the speaker requests one. Most speakers have been able to plug into a wall outlet with their personal laptop without problem, but talk to the IT staff if there are questions.

Arrange a lunch or dinner in honor of the speaker, normally on the day of the colloquium. Ask the speaker if there are any special guests he/she wants for the Colloquium Dinner. Try to get a good mix of scientific staff, postdocs, and students.

Please pay for the meal: you will be reimbursed up to $300. The host must complete a Non-Employee Reimbursement Form (NERF) and bring it to the Harvard College Observatory Business Office (B-115A) along with appropriate supporting documentation such as original itemized receipts and a list of all attendees. Please note that the cap is for $300, no more than 7 attendees should attend and no more than a 20% tip should be issued.  If you are aware that you are scheduled to host ahead of the date of visit please feel free to contact Liz Doyle at the HCO business office ( to check if you are set up for payment in Harvard's systems to ensure swift reimbursement.

If the speaker has a car and needs a temporary parking permit please either pay for their parking at the 2 parking machines in the back of the parking lot near Madison St and include the cost with your reimbursement form or arrange parking at and include it in your NERF. Please fill out the SAO Visitor Guest Card Application if the speaker will need access to the building for multiple days.

At the Talk

Have the speaker complete and sign the release form which gives permission for a video file of the presentation to be posted on the CfA web pages (or requests that it not be posted). The form is a screen-fillable PDF, but copies are also available in the projection booth. The form must be returned to the A/V facilitator before the talk, so that the presentation can be webcast.

Arrive with the speaker at Phillips Auditorium in time to set up at 1:00, and have the speaker's laptop hooked up to the projection system by 1:15. If the speaker does not have a laptop, arrangements should be made to borrow one from the CF help desk earlier in the day.

The webcast will start at exactly 1:30 PM, as displayed on the clock at the back of the auditorium. It is important that the host be ready to go at this time, as it is transmitted over the internet live. Please use the wireless microphone to introduce the speaker, so that you may be heard on the webcast and video archive file.

Assist with the taking of questions. The actual presentation should end at 2:30 PM, and questions will end at 2:40. Call for thanks to the speaker again at the end of the question period.