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

August 27 – 31, 2018



  • 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) - Paris, France
  • Gudrun Wolfschmidt - Hamburg, Germany

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



John Hearnshaw


XXX IAU General Assembly | ACV - Austria Center Vienna  | Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1  | 1220 Vienna