REST IN POWER, RBG. You are deeply missed by democracies everywhere.


Invited Nature Astronomy Comment on inclusive practices with indigenous communities: Venkatesan et al., Nature Astronomy  volume 3, 1035–1037(2019)

Astro2020 Decadal Survey: I co-authored or led nine white papers for input towards Astro2020: the 2020 Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Links are available through the Astro2020 site. My lead author paper on Indigenous Knowledge is HERE.

Recent Awards and Honors:

Recipient of “Catalyzing Joint Research Between PUI and R1 Institutions” grant through the Cottrell Scholars Collaborative, 2019-20

Co-I on successful Hubble Space Telescope (PI: S. Brunker, Indiana U.), Escaping Ionizing Radiation in Compact Star-Forming Galaxies: Probing Higher-Mass Systems, 2019-20

Named a Cottrell Scholar 2010 by Research Corporation 

Recipient of the 2018 USF Arthur Furst award, which honors a USF faculty member or alumnus whose work exemplifies excellence in research for the betterment of humanity

Co-recipient of the 2018 USF College of Arts and Sciences Collective Achievement Award for supporting women in STEM fields

2018 – 2019 PRESS:

NOV. 2019: Panelist for a movie premiere, The Aeronauts, which won the Sloan Science in Cinema Prize

NOV. 2019: Placed #20 out of 750 entries in the Whole Life Soaps Haiku contest announced at the 2019 Wrightwood Literary Festival

Quoted in NBC Washington News and the International Business Times in JUNE 2019 on the significance of solstices to indigenous and ancient cultures

Quoted in Nature in JAN. 2019 on the collaborative naming of the interstellar asteroid ‘Omuamua between Native Hawai’ians, the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the  scientists working with facilities on Mauna Kea. Please also see the wonderful A Hua He Inoa initiative to bring indigenous voices/communities into dialogue with astronomers and telescope facilities on indigenous lands.

USF media release on my Near Field Cosmology research profiled in press conference at AAS 232, June 2018

Quoted in Gizmodo on the discovery of 13 billion-year-old oxygen and implications for the universe’s first stars, May 2018

Space Daily, June 2018

Cosmos Magazine, on galactic archaeology providing clues on first stars, June 2018

See the Women in Astronomy blog for my  2018 post on harassment in astronomy and astrophysics.

Our 2017 article “Perspectives on the Indigenous Worldviews in Informal Science Education Conference” by A. Venkatesan & A. Burgasser in The Physics Teacher is a featured part of the “Race and Physics Teaching” special collection (link HERE).

Aparna Venkatesan was recently featured amongst USF’s Changemakers. She also appeared recently in a number of episodes of The Weather Channel’s show The Strangest Weather on Earth, covering topics from the Northern Lights to the Distorted Moon. For a full listing of appearances and interviews, please see the Press and Media link.

Venkatesan’s USF undergraduate research group was featured recently in these articles on the Undergraduate ALAFALFA Team: Mercury magazine article in 2015 and the CUR (Council on Undergraduate Research) Quarterly in summer 2016.


Aparna Venkatesan is a cosmologist working on a number of research topics including studies of the first stars and quasars in the universe, cosmological reionization, the physical conditions in early-universe galaxies, cosmological element synthesis, and the cosmic microwave background.

She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of San Francisco. Before moving to the Bay Area, she held an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at The University of Chicago, and her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University’s Astronomy Department.

Venkatesan currently serves on a number of local and national committees to increase the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields and astronomy, including the American Astronomical Society’s Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy, and the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy.

Here is Venkatesan’s academic CV.

Disclaimer: Any opinions or material expressed here are not the responsibility of the Department of Physics and Astronomy or of the University of San Francisco.


Recent work