iau1807 — Press Release

Poster for the IAU GA 2018
27 July 2018
IAU General Assembly 2018 Hosts Public Astronomy Events in Vienna

The Austrian city of Vienna will host the XXX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) from 20–31 August this year. In addition to welcoming more than 3000 astronomers from over 88 countries, the conference will also offer several events for the local community, free and open to the public.

The 2018 General Assembly will take place from 20–31 August 2018 at the Austria Center Vienna in the central European city of Vienna, Austria. This conference, which takes place every three years, will welcome more than 3000 astronomers from over 88 countries around the globe. The assembly marks the first time the event will be held in Austria, and is organised jointly by the University of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Austrian Society for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

General Assembly participants will address key topics in contemporary astronomy and assess the latest scientific progress in a number of specialised areas. As a result of the event, the IAU expects an exciting exchange of scientific knowledge and international collaboration, resulting in important advancements for the astronomical community and beyond.

The IAU is delighted to bring our triennial General Assembly to Austria, a place that is special in the astronomical community thanks to its remarkable tradition in Physics and in the Philosophy of Science. The work of Christian Doppler, Ernst Mach, Ludwig Boltzmann, Erwin Schrödinger and many others, together with the conceptual developments of the Vienna Circle, has substantially influenced the recent progress of astronomy and especially of cosmology, a discipline that more and more frequently knocks at the door of philosophy,” explains Piero Benvenuti, General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union. “Vienna is also a beautiful city, and we look forward to introducing thousands of astronomers to its magical atmosphere!

The IAU is excited to be admitting ten new National Members at the XXX General Assembly, and a new category of individual membership — the Junior Member — will be proposed for approval during the conference.

With seven symposia extending over several days, 15 multi-session focus meetings, nine IAU Division meetings, dozens of IAU Commission meetings, and daily general poster sessions, the XXX General Assembly’s scientific programme will be the broadest in the union’s history. It is also expected to be one of the largest ever gatherings of professional astronomers.

The media is invited to the first press conference press briefing: General information about the Opening Ceremony, which will take place on Monday 20 August at 10:00 CEST.

The participants will include:

  • IAU President Silvia Torres-Peimbert
  • IAU General Secretary Piero Benvenuti
  • IAU President-Elect Ewine van Dishoeck

In 2019, the IAU will see its 100th anniversary, a momentous occasion which will be celebrated during the XXX General Assembly with a symposium called Under One Sky. This year’s conference will also see the premiere of Inspiring Stars, an exhibition dedicated to addressing the concept of inclusion in astronomy for people with disabilities, at an outreach, didactic, and professional level. The aim of Inspiring Stars is to broaden horizons and enrich lives by learning from people with disabilities about different ways of perceiving the world around us.

In addition to welcoming more than 3000 astronomers from over 88 countries, the conference will also offer several events for the local community, free and open to the public. Highlights include:

  • Stargazing Parties:
    Six stargazing evenings with talks about astronomy and astronomical research, organised by the Vienna Astronomy Association, taking place in front of the Museum of Natural History at 20:00 CEST on 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29 August.

  • Invited Discourses — three public talks at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) conference venue, by internationally renowned scientists:

    • Marica Branchesi: The new exploration of the Universe through gravitational-wave observations (22 August at 17:15 CEST)
    • Lisa Kewley: Galaxy Evolution in 3D (23 August at 17:15 CEST)
    • Sean Andrews: Observing Planet Formation (27 August at 17:15 CEST)
  • Public talk at the Austrian Academy of Sciences:
    Robert Williams: Probing the Distant Universe with the Hubble Space Telescope (24 August at 19:00 CEST)

  • Public Talks at the Vienna Planetarium (in German, each at 19:00 CEST):

    • Susanne Höfner: Das turbulente Leben von Roten Riesen (21 August)
    • Dagmar & Ralph Neuhäuser: Terra-Astronomie (24 August)
    • Ingrid Mann: Faszination der Nano-Staubteilchen im Kosmos (29 August)
  • GTTP International Teacher Training Workshop:
    Taking place a few days before this General Assembly at the Main Building of the University of Vienna (16–18 August), the workshop will focus on the following topics: Astronomy in Society, Spectroscopy, Infrared Astronomy, Digital Media, Current Research and Future Research Facilities.

  • Astronomy Youth Day:
    Taking place on 31 August at the conference venue, workshops and lectures will be held in German on a variety of astronomical topics and about studying astronomy in Vienna. This is an opportunity for students aged 16–20 to learn about various aspects of modern astronomy and to meet students and scientists from different astronomical areas of expertise.

  • Gazing into the Cosmos (Ein Blick ins All):
    A series of astronomy presentations and games for children aged 7–10, taking place at the Campus of the University of Vienna during the second week of the IAU GA (27–31 August)

  • Exhibition Our Place in Space:
    Open from July to September at the Museum of Natural History, a fusion of Hubble Space Telescope images with Austrian artwork.

  • Exhibition and Talk on Light Pollution:
    Taking place at the Museum of Natural History from 22 August at 16:30 CEST. The aim is to show how light pollution affects not only astronomical observations, but also society as a whole. The event will be introduced by two astronomers who will further explain the science of light pollution and suggest solutions to control it.

More information

General Information on the IAU

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. 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 the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.



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

Thomas Posch
Department of Astrophysics — University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 1 4277 538 00
Cell: +43 664 817 54 20


Poster for the IAU GA 2018
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