Brian is a scientist in the Chicagoland area, and he works on applying advanced algorithms (read: AI) astronomy and physics problems. He also works for equity and inclusion in science, so that one day our diversity will be representational. Education and communication are key aspects of those intertwined activities, so works to engage with a variety of communities to discuss these ideas.  

He holds a few positions at academic institutions (see below).

  • Associate Scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois: Machine Intelligence Group
  • Co-founder of the Deep Skies Lab ( --- an inter-institutional collaboration of deep learning experts and astrophysicists.
  • Visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at University of Chicago
  • Senior Member of the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics (UofChicago)

I work with a great team, including undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-docs. We prioritize collaboration, community, creativity, and inclusion.


A child of the Midwest, Brian moved to the Chicagoland area after a few educational and research adventures across the country. It was in his home state of Wisconsin that he first found his inner space traveler and scientist, and coincidentally learned to thrive in the cold. Currently, he engages in physics research and finds ways for everyone encounter their inner scientist.

Nord’s current research is in teaching intelligent machines to search for clues of the universe’s origin and destiny. In particular, he uses artificial intelligence to study the cosmos, including dark energy, dark matter, and the early universe. Nord also communicates with the public regarding science, science policy, diversity, and inclusion. He trains scientists in public communication, advocates for science funding, and works alongside high school students in the classroom and research environments. 

Nord is an Associate Scientist in Fermilab’s new Machine Intelligence Group, which seeks to apply AI to modern challenges in high-energy physics. He is also a Visiting Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and a Senior Member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics (KICP) at the University of Chicago. He leads a team of researchers ( who apply AI to questions in cosmology. Nord earned his BA in Physics and Astronomy from Johns Hopkins University and PhD in physics from the University of Michigan.

Nord is co-leader of education and public engagement at KICP, where he organizes Space Explorers, a program to help under-represented minorities in high school find hands-on physics experiences outside the classroom. Nord is also co-creator of, an online curriculum to teach about the Black experience in America. You can find him on Twitter at @iamstarnord.