REST IN POWER, Arecibo. You are cherished on Earth and your voice continues in space.


I am featured HERE among Vice Media’s 2020 Humans of The Year


See our 2020 Nature Perspective –  Venkatesan, A., Lowenthal, J., Prem, P. et al. The impact of satellite constellations on space as an ancestral global commons. Nat Astron 4, 1043–1048 (2020). This appeared in a Nov. 2020 Nature Astronomy focus issue on the future of astronomy with small satellites.


Featured on Public Radio International’s show Science Friday in July 2020 about space privatization, indigenous sky traditions and our human right to dark skies and space as a global commons. The 17-min interview is here – “Who Owns the Night Sky?”

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

For a full listing of media, press 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