Past Event

Elective Studies Supper Club with Shane Larson

Check out the video of this talk, “Always Looking Home: Finding Ourselves in a Big Universe.”

In partnership with Land and Sea Dept., Illinois Humanities presents the first Elective Studies Supper Club for Illinois artists, featuring a lecture by astrophysicist Shane Larson of the Adler Planetarium and Northwestern University and a meal by chef Mickey Neely of Dusek’s.

This event is a part of our new Elective Studies series, created to help artists find inspiration from the world around them. Through a combination of lectures by top-tier experts and meals crafted by the city’s finest chefs, these convenings are designed to unite, inspire, nourish and connect.

With generous sponsorship by Death’s Door Spirits and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

More on the lecture

astrophysicist Shane LarsonAlways Looking Home: Finding Ourselves in a Big Universe
Shane L. Larson
Northwestern University & Adler Planetarium

Staring out into the Universe has the power to simultaneously make you feel small, but empowered. On the one hand, we are deeply aware of the notion that we are small lifeforms on an insignificant speck of dust in some lonely corner of the Cosmos. That overwhelming sense of smallness is at great odds with the realization that we are capable of unravelling and exposing the deepest mysteries of the Cosmos. The ability to understand the Cosmos can make us feel big.

The road to understanding our place in the Cosmos has been a long and tangled journey. In this chat, we’ll examine some of the story of how newfound knowledge has continually forced us to abandon cherished ideas about the Universe, leading us from a time when we believed Earth and humanity were the center of all things, to today, where we are one small part of the greater Cosmos.

If you are interested in being added to the list of artists invited to these gatherings, please email

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate in the program, please email at least 72 hours prior to the event. For parking locations near the facility, please visit