ann21033 — Announcement

The banner for CAP 2021
23 May 2021
Astronomy Communication Conference with Record Virtual Attendance Starts Monday

This Monday, 24 May 2021, the ninth Communicating Astronomy with the Public Conference (CAP) 2021 and the first virtual one ever #VirtualCAP2021 will open its broadcast. This is the largest CAP Conference ever, with over 1200 registered participants from 84 countries.

For the first time ever, the CAP Conference is organised virtually, owing to the pandemic. The CAP 2021 conference will last four days, from Monday, 24 May until Thursday, 27 May 2021, with each day scheduled in a different timezone to allow the widest and most inclusive participation from our global CAP community:

  • Day 1, 13:00 – 18:00 UTC — 24 May 2021
  • Day 2, 07:00 – 12:00 UTC — 25 May 2021
  • Day 3, 01:00 – 06:00 UTC — 26 May 2021
  • Day 4, 19:00 – 00:00 UTC — 27 May 2021

Thanks to generous support from The Kavli Foundation, which has provided a grant to strengthen the IAU’s public engagement programmes and scientific meetings, registration for CAP 2021 was free to all attendees.

CAP 2021 is organised under the main theme of Communicating Astronomy with the Public in the Age of Global Crises, acknowledging the challenges our community had to face during recent times and promoting the ways in which our community has adapted.

For the first time ever the CAP Conference will not be organised by thematic sessions, but by time zone availability of speakers. This will result in sessions with very mixed topics, which can be an opportunity for participants to be exposed to different subjects. Participants can also opt to attend talks in multiple sessions, according to their preference.

The conference will feature four keynote speakers:

  • John Besley, Ellis N. Brandt Professor of Public Relations, Michigan State University, USA — Communication strategies for scientists and science communicators (Kavli Keynote)
  • Ewine van Dishoeck, President of the International Astronomical Union — IAU100: Celebrating a century of progress in astronomy
  • Prajval Shastri, Adjunct Professor at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Australia — Our Obligations while Crafting our Science Communication Practice: Lessons from Investigating Gender Inequity
  • Travis Rector, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Alaska Anchorage, USA — Astronomy’s place in the fight against climate change

Each day will start with a plenary session that will include the keynote speaker, as well as 4-5 plenary talks in a combination of live and pre-recorded talks. 161 oral presentations will be delivered in parallel sessions, which will take place each day after the plenary. These talks have been pre-recorded by the presenters and will be streamed on the conference platform at the allotted time. Attendees will thus be able to watch the (recorded) talks during the conference. Oral presentations will be grouped into 4 or 5 per session and there will be a live Q&A for those presenters at the end of each session.

CAP 2021 have about 90 posters in the form of short, pre-recorded videos or Google slides. There is a dedicated section on the conference platform to display the posters which can be viewed at any time. Attendees will be able to contact the poster author or leave a message for them. The conference will also feature five workshops and four panel discussions, each 1 hour long.

Insights from the conference will be published on the conference Twitter channel @CAPConference using the hashtag #VirtualCAP2021. Those interested in the conference are invited to also follow the conference Facebook page, join the CAP mailing list, where they can find out about future editions and follow the dedicated C2 website section.

The CAP Conference series is organised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), through Commission C2 — Communicating Astronomy with the Public. The Scientific Programme of the conference was led by the C2 CAP Conference Working Group. For this edition, a Virtual Organising Committee was put together, all based on volunteers for the community, which we would like to thank immensely as this edition would not have been possible without their support and dedication.



Oana Sandu
CAP2021 SOC Co-chair
ESO Department of Communication
Tel: +49 89 320 069 65

Ramasamy Venugopal
CAP2021 SOC Co-Chair
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development
Tel: +27 60 776 3832

Lina Canas
CAP2021 SOC Co-Chair
IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach
Tel: +81-(0)422-34-3966

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621

About the Announcement



The banner for CAP 2021