iau1201 — Press Release

Panoramic view of the Olympic Green in Beijing, China
27 March 2012, Paris
Media invitation for the 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union

The 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the first meeting of its kind to be held in China. More than 3000 astronomers from all around the world are expected to meet and present their latest discoveries in Beijing, China, from 20–31 August 2012. A number of exciting media events are planned.

In August 2012 China will host the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union for the first time in Beijing. This triennial gathering of astronomers from around the world to discuss and debate the most recent discoveries about the Universe is an important part of the vitality of our science. Astrophysics remains one of the most exciting areas of human endeavour, and the venue of the Beijing General Assembly will be equally impressive: the new China National Convention Center is housed in the Olympic Park in a beautiful, spacious building and area that is full of amenities for conference participants and visitors.

The 28th IAU General Assembly will address many of the most exciting topics of contemporary astronomy and the latest scientific discoveries in a number of specialised areas. With eight Symposia, seven Joint Discussions and eighteen Special Sessions the General Assembly’s scientific programme will be broader than ever.

Chinese ancient astronomy has played an important role in the development of astronomy and has experienced a lengthy period of spectacular prosperity with many discoveries over the last 4000 years, establishing a strong foundation for Chinese astronomy today. Over the last 30 years since China opened up to the outside world, the rapid development of China’s economy has contributed to an increased investment in China’s astronomical development. This has led to some remarkable improvements in its basic research and to the development of equipment and facilities, as demonstrated by the first discovery of possible evidence for the annihilation of dark matter particles, the construction of Guoshoujing Telescope (Large Sky Area Multi Object Fibre Spectroscopy Telescope, LAMOST) and the ongoing FAST (Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope), and its active participation in Chang-E I and Chang-E II, China’s Lunar Exploration Programmes.


  • Full Name: The 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union
  • Time: August 20-31, 2012
  • Venue address:
    China National Convention Center (CNCC)
    N°7 Tianchen East Road,
    Chaoyang District,
    Beijing 100105,
    P.R. China
  • Purpose: : In August 2012, astronomers from all around the globe will gather for two weeks at the IAU General Assembly at the China National Convention Center in Beijing, China, to discuss and evaluate their most recent discoveries and observations, to make decisions on fundamental issues facing astronomy and also to organise international cooperation. At the same time, General Assembly participants will have an opportunity to experience the wide range of astronomical activities now taking place in China and which include new projects, facilities and institutes.
  • Participants: The IAU 28th General Assembly is expected to bring together an expected number of 3000 astronomers from all over the world to Beijing, China, to present and discuss the latest scientific breakthroughs and discoveries in the rapidly evolving scientific area of astronomy.


Press registration


Please send an e-mail to: Lars Lindberg Christensen (lars@eso.org) or Ang Xu (annxu@nao.cas.cn) with the following information:
NAME: ________________________________________________
E-MAIL: _______________________________________________
PHONE: _______________________________________________
MEDIA AFFILIATION: _____________________________________
TYPE OF MEDIA: ________________________________________
PASSPORT NUMBER:__________________________________
Arrival date: __________________
Departure date:_______________


Press briefings and other interesting schedules (tbd)


A series of official press briefings on a range of topics is anticipated. The precise schedule will be decided in the weeks leading up to the meeting.


Invited discourses


The four Invited Discourses are overview talks given by scientists highly eminent in their fields.

  • Monday 20 August: ID1: "The Zoo of Galaxies" by Karen Masters
  • Wednesday 22 August: ID2: "Supernovae, the Accelerating Cosmos, and Dark Energy" by Brian Schmidt
  • Wednesday 29 August: ID3: "The Herschel View of Star Formation" by Philippe Andre
  • Thursday 30 August: ID4: "Past, Present and Future of Chinese Astronomy" by Cheng Fang

Other events

  • Special Lunchtime Lectures: "Chinese Ancient Astronomy" Xiaochun Sun Tuesday to be held at CNCC on Tuesday 21 and Thursday 30 August (Contact: Ang Xu)
  • Public Forum 1 to be held at Peking University on 27 August 2012 with the theme of "Perspectives in the Sun-Earth Relation" (Contact: Abraham Chian)
  • Public Forum 2 to be held at Tsinghua University on 29 August 2012 with the theme of "Perspectives in Star-Planet Relations" (Contact: Abraham Chian)
  • UNAWE Workshop to be held at CNCC for 6 to 12 year olds at the 28th GA Meeting (Contact: Pedro Russo)

Press rooms & facilities


The IAU will operate a Press Office (room VIP 4-2) on all weekdays from 9:00 to 18:00, a Press Conference Room (room 406), and a Press Interview Room on the 4th floor of the China National Convention Center. It will have hard-wired and wireless internet hubs for the convenience of reporters who are filing to a deadline. The Interview Room is available to the media for one-on-one interviews, and is reserved and scheduled as requests are received. The Press Office will also have a fixed-net telephone, printer, access to copying machine etc. We encourage Public Information Officers and scientists to provide hard copies of press releases, background brochures, visuals etc. The IAU Press Office will update a wall with newspaper clippings.

The Press Office will be closed during the weekend 25–26 August.


The IAU is an international astronomical organisation of about 10 000 professional astronomers from 90 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and surface features on them. 



Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621
Email: lars@eso.org

Ang Xu
Chinese Press Officer
Cell: +86-13611050079
Email: annxu@nao.cas.cn

Raquel Yumi Shida
IAU Deputy Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 177
Cell: +49 151 11 055 413
Email: rshida@eso.org


Panoramic view of the Olympic Green in Beijing, China