A Lens on Space

  • Speakers
  • Rhiannon Adam headshotRhiannon AdamPhotographic Artist
  • Portrait photo of Julianne Dalcanton against a forest scene.Julianne Dalcanton, Ph.D.Director, CCA, Flatiron Institute
  • Ian Lauer headshotIan LauerAstrophotographer
Date & Time

About Presents
Presents is a free events series exploring the connections between science, culture and society. Join our scientists and special guests as they discuss the intersections of their work, followed by an evening of conversation over drinks. It’s an opportunity to hear new perspectives that may challenge your assumptions and stoke your curiosity. Meet interesting people who share a passion for ideas and discovery. Come for the conversation, stay for the connections.

Far above our atmosphere, the view of space is much clearer. From the famous Earthrise photograph taken by the crew of Apollo 8 through to modern telescopes like Hubble and most recently James Webb, our view has dramatically altered. It is a technological feat that has needed scientists, engineers, designers and artists.

Whether it is looking out into space or back onto our own planet, space photography has sparked our imagination. How do we take photos from millions of miles away? And despite the unique nature of space photography, what are the constants that remain?

Astrophysicist Julianne Dalcanton has probably taken more photos using the Hubble telescope than anyone else and she is also involved with the James Webb Space Telescope. How do scientists decide where to point the lens and what to capture when the universe is so vast?

Photographic artist, Rhiannon Adam, was recently announced as one of eight crew members selected for the first civilian lunar orbital mission; dearMoon, and plans to use this opportunity to process analog photographic work while in space, playing with ideas of fact and fiction.

Astrophotographer Ian Lauer devotes his nights to photographing distant galaxies and is especially passionate about using these photos to encourage others to take their own and in doing so, forge a deeper connection to our collective past, future, and each other.

Join Julianne, Rhiannon, and Ian as they sit down with Matt Carlstrom, senior engagement editor at Quanta Magazine, to discuss what elements of photography are still at play – questions of gaze, perspective, and truth – and how the photos help inspire millions.


Rhiannon Adam is a photographic artist born in Cork, Ireland. She currently lives and works between London and the United States. Adam’s work is centered on research-based, long-form, social documentary projects that use analog photographic processes and archive materials to tell stories, as well as her ongoing obsession with Polaroid and the materiality of the photographic image. Her early life experiences have had a lasting influence on her work, with a focus on remote communities, the concept of utopia and the fine line between fact and fiction. When not creating her own projects, she can often be found giving lectures and teaching workshops at various photography festivals and institutions worldwide.

Julianne Dalcanton is director of the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA). Her research specializes in the origins and evolution of galaxies. Recently, Dalcanton worked with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to dissect images of nearby galaxies into millions of stars. Through these efforts, she has become one of the largest single users of the Hubble Space Telescope, most notably as principal investigator of a large HST Multicycle Treasury. Before joining the Flatiron Institute, Dalcanton served as professor of and chair of astronomy and an adjunct professor of physics at the University of Washington.

Ian Lauer is an adventure astronomer and astrophotographer on a mission to reconnect as many people as possible to the night sky. He hosts exciting astrophotography workshops and adventures to help people get under dark skies. He co-founded the space clothing brand Stargazer Designs and is helping build the space tech startup OurSky. When he’s not under the stars, you can find him attending music events and searching for the next up-and-coming musical artists.

To attend this in-person event, you will need to:

  • Register in advance
  • Provide valid photo ID upon entering the building
  • Present your digital or printed Eventbrite ticket confirmation; make sure it is for the correct event and that the name on it matches your ID
  • At this time, all guests at the Simons Foundation must be over the age of 18

By registering to attend this event, participants agree to follow the Simons Foundation Code of Conduct.

Please note that when you enter the Simons Foundation buildings, you are attesting that you are not experiencing COVID symptoms and are not knowingly positive for COVID.


5:30 p.m. Doors open

6:00 – 7:00 p.m. In Conversation

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Reception

Advancing Research in Basic Science and MathematicsSubscribe to our newsletters to receive news & updates