IAU Symposium 349:
Under One Sky: the IAU Centenary Symposium

August 27 – 31, 2018

Scientific Rationale:

The 2018 General Assembly in Vienna is the best opportunity to mark the Centenary of the Union. Although the IAU was founded in July 1919, August 2018 will be the perfect time for this unique opportunity, as so many astronomers will be in Vienna at that time, and a large number will be interested in attending this Centenary Symposium to celebrate this significant milestone. A separate symposium in July 2019 would not have attracted the same interest or have had the same impact.

Although celebrating the IAU centenary is one aspect of the proposed symposium, it is emphasized that this is far from the major rationale for the proposed symposium. The history of astronomy is a major scientific discipline in its own right, which is recognized by the IAU through commission C.C3. However, the symposium will be only the second ever IAU symposium where the history of astronomy is a major focus (the first was IAU Symposium 269 in January 2010 on Galileo’s Medicean moons). This symposium will be a major scientific meeting on the history of astronomy and astrophysics over the last 100 years; the celebration of the IAU’s success over this time will be one significant aspect but not the main focus. On the other hand, the IAU Centenary Committee will organize an evening event to celebrate the centenary of the IAU at the time of this symposium.



  • History of the IAU 
  • Recognizing the achievements of 100 years of astronomy and astrophysics 
  • How the IAU has promoted astronomy through international collaborations and exchanges 
  • Reminiscences of the IAU from past General Secretaries and Presidents, and other prominent astronomers. 
  • The IAU in the Cold War years 
  • The IAU’s role in the re-emergence of Chinese astronomy and of astronomy in other Asian countries (including Iran, Iraq and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia). 
  • The impact of the International Schools for Young Astronomers over half a century 
  • The IAU’s support for astronomy in Latin America (especially Jorge Sahade in Argentina, the first Latin American IAU president). 
  • The impact of rule and by-law reforms on the role of the IAU 
  • The IAU, its triennial budget and astro-economics 
  • Gender issues in the IAU; how the IAU has promoted the participation of women in astronomy 
  • The future of the IAU and its role in the development of astronomy in the 21st century




Tuesday, 28. Aug.

Session 1
room: C
10:30 - Ekers, Ron (The Prague GA, Pluto and changes to the statutes)
10:45 - Bob Williams (The IAU in the 21st century)
11:00 - Kaifu, Norio (Regional Activities of the IAU and Regional Astronomy)
11:15 - Rickman, Hans (The IAU and the Impact Hazard)
12:00 - Engvold, Oddbjorn (Short term and long term effects of the IAU ISYA program)
12:15 - van der Hucht, Karel A. (The IAU and Hazardous Near-Earth Objects - a clear and present danger)

Session 2
room: C
13:30 - Montmerle, Thierry (The IAU, from the World to Exoworlds: recollections of a mandate)
13:40 - Jean-Claude Pecker (Video:)
13:55 - Luboš Perek (IAU General Secretary 1967-1970)
14:10 - Derek McNally (Life as IAU General Secretary)
14:25 - Andersen, Johannes (IAU General Secretary 1997-2000)
14:35 - Baneke, David (Serving Astronomy: the Aim of the IAU)


Wednesday, 29. Aug.

Session 3
room: C
13:30 - Bougeret, Jean-Louis (The first president of the IAU, Benjamin Baillaud)
13:45 - cidale, lydia (Jorge Sahade, First Latin American IAU President)
14:00 - DeVorkin, David (George Ellery Hale’s Internationalism)
14:15 - Kochhar, Rajesh (Meghnad Saha: Life, Work and Times)
14:30 - Stavinschi, Magda (Nicolae Donitch: a Pioneer of the International Astronomical Union)
14:45 - LAGUENS, Florian (The sky seems heavy with clouds: Eddington, the president in WW2)

Session 4
room: C
15:30 - Saint-Martin, Arnaud (Institutionalizing an astronomical internationalism in the long run: costs and benefits)
15:45 - Lalli, Roberto (Patterns to Scientific Internationalism: What Can a Comparative History of the IAU and the IUPAP Teach Us?)
16:00 - Wielen, Roland (Germany's difficulties in becoming a member of the International Astronomical Union)
16:15 - Mallik, Dipankar (India's Participation in IAU over the Years)
16:30 - Liu, Xiaowei (The China Crisis)
16:45 - Trimble, Virginia (International astronomical co-operation before the IAU)


Thursday, 30. Aug.

Session 5
room: C
10:30 - Montmerle, Thierry (Structuring the IAU: From Commissions to Divisions to Commissions)
10:50 - Malkin, Zinovy (On the eve of 100-year anniversary of the IAU Commission 19 ‘Rotation of the Earth’)
11:05 - Orchiston, Wayne (The IAU C41 Working Groups and their Contribution to International History of Astronomy Research)
11:20 - Sterken, Christiaan (The role of IAU Commission 25 in the development of photometric systems)
11:35 - Hearnshaw, John (Commission 38 (Exchange of astronomers) and Commission 46 (The teaching of astronomy): two commissions that played a unique role in the history and development of the IAU)
11:50 - Batten, Alan H (Before OAD)


Friday, 31. Aug.

Session 6
room: C
10:30 - Abt, Helmut A. (Publication Changes during the IAU History)
10:45 - Mickaelian, Areg (The History of IAU Symposia)
11:00 - Lattis, James (American Astronomers in Belgium, 1919: A Photo Collection)
11:15 - Hayashi, Saeko (Look Back and Look Forward, the Growth of Astronomy in Japan)
11:30 - Leeuw, Lerothodi (The Role of the IAU Gleaned from Oral Histories of Individuals Involved in Astronomy in South Africa)
11:45 - Zanini, Valeria (Italian Astronomers and the IAU: The contribution and the role of Italian astronomers inside IAU from the foundation to the Second World War)

Session 7
room: C
13:30 - Gerbaldi, Michele (International School for Young Astronomers (ISYA) since the 60's)
13:45 - Aretxaga, Itziar (The future of the International Schools for Young Astronomers)
14:00 - Paulo Bretones (A history of IAU Commission C1: a look from the Newsletters)
14:15 - Suzanne Débarbat (The IAU and French women astronomers)
14:30 - Griffin, Elizabeth (Under One Sky: Women in Astronomy)
14:45 - Corbally, Christopher (The Spectral Classification of Stars over the last 200, 100, 75 years, and in the future)

Session 8
room: C
15:30 - van Dishoeck, Ewine (The next hundred years of the IAU)
15:45 - Pasachoff, Jay (The IAU and Solar Eclipses)
16:00 - Kolomiyets, Svitlana (International Geophysical Projects and significance of Space and Earth Science to the World)
16:15 - Figueiró Spinelli, Patrícia (Historical Telescopes and Astronomy Outreach)
16:30 - Hojaev, Alisher S. (The IAU and re-emergence of state-of-art astronomy in Central Asia)
16:45 - Paolantonio, Santiago (The ‘Carte du Ciel’ and the Latin American Observatories)


Plenary Session Tuesday, 28. Aug. (Lecture Hall A)

17:15 - Longair, Malcolm (100 years of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology)


  • Suzanne Débarbat - Paris, France
  • Beatriz García - Mendoza, Argentina
  • Owen Gingerich - Cambridge, MA, USA
  • John Hearnshaw (co-chair; deputy editor of proceedings) - Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Rajesh Kochhar - Mohali, India
  • Gulya Kokhirova - Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • Svetlana Kolomiyets - Kharkiv, Ukraine
  • Xiaochun Sun (co-chair) - Beijing, China
  • Ray Norris - Sydney, Australia
  • Wayne Orchiston - Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Jay Pasachoff - Williamstown, MA, USA
  • Chris Sterken (deputy editor of proceedings) - Merelbeke, near Brussels, Belgium
  • Silvia Torres (also on IAU EC Centenary committee) - Mexico City, Mexico
  • Virginia Trimble - Irvine, CA, USA
  • David Valls-Gabaud (chief editor of proceedings; website) - PMediumaris, France
  • Gudrun Wolfschmidt - Hamburg, Germany



John Hearnshaw 

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