Institute of Astronomy


The Institute of Astronomy plans to host one large summer conference each year. Below is a list of upcoming and previous meetings at the IoA.

Upcoming & Recent Meetings

TDE17: Piercing the sphere of influence

11 September 2017 - 15 September 2017

Scientific Rationale

Previous Meetings

Binary Stars in Cambridge 2016

24 July 2016 - 30 July 2016

Now that multiplicity is known to be common among stars and that half the stars in our Galaxy have been or will be altered by interaction with at least one companion, the crucial role of binary star evolution in astrophysics in general has been established. Stellar interactions lead to a veritable zoo of exotic objects, many of which play crucial roles in the Universe. However, our understanding of many of the basic properties of binary stars - how they form, evolve and interact and how they ultimately die - is still incomplete. These issues cannot be ignored in fields of astrophysics spanning stellar cluster evolution, planet formation, galactic chemical evolution, etc. We plan to discuss many of the exciting implications of duplicity among stars. 

Modelling galaxies through cosmic times

14 September 2015 - 18 September 2015

Conference rationale

Our ability to interpret the spectral energy distribution (SED) of galaxies is key to understanding how the physical processes at play in galaxies govern their evolution. Over the past decades, numerous multi-wavelength surveys have been carried out, sampling the ultraviolet to sub-millimetre SED of galaxies from the Milky Way neighbourhood to very high redshifts. To connect this treasure trove to the formation and evolution of galaxies through cosmic times, we need to derive precisely and accurately key astrophysical properties of galaxies: stellar mass, metal content, star formation history, dust mass and temperature, star formation rate, dust obscuration, heating sources, etc. At the same time, major investments have been made to build physically motivated SED models of galaxies with the aim of measuring their physical properties as reliably as possible. The aim of this workshop is to bring observers and modellers together to present their respective approaches in building and interpreting the SED of galaxies. In particular, we will discuss:

  • the observed SED and the properties of galaxies: their evolution across cosmic times from the Milky Way to the highest redshifts,
  • the building blocks of SED modelling: stellar populations, interstellar dust, young embedded star clusters, AGN,
  • retrieving galaxy properties at various scales and redshifts by modelling their SED: radiative transfer and energy balance approaches,
  • bringing models and observations together: "observing" galaxies from numerical simulations and comparing with real observations.


GPE@60: From Galaxies to Large Scale Structure and the CMB

1 September 2015 - 3 September 2015

The Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge and Institute of Astronomy are hosting a symposium from 1–3 September 2015 to coincide with the 60th birthday of Professor George Efstathiou, Director of KICC, and to celebrate George's many significant contributions to astrophysics and cosmology.  The programme will cover many of George's scientific interests including dark matter and dark energy, galaxy surveys, galaxy formation, cosmic dawn, cosmic microwave background, and early-universe cosmology.

Characterizing Planetary Systems Across the HR Diagram

28 July 2014 - 1 August 2014

Conference Rationale

The University of Cambridge Institute of Astronomy will host a 5 day scientific meeting to further our understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. The meeting will focus on the full lifetime of planetary systems, from pre- to post-main sequence host star stages, and the connections that can be made by viewing these evolutionary stages as parts of a whole. In this way, the program aims to provide an integrative approach rather than focusing on each stellar stage separately.

BritGrav 14 @Cambridge

31 March 2014 - 1 April 2014

The 14th BritGrav (British Gravity) Meeting will be held on 31 March – 1 April 2014
at the University of Cambridge in St Catharine's College.

The meeting covers all areas of classical and quantum gravity, including astrophysics, cosmology, mathematical general relativity, gravitational wave data analysis and instrumentation. It is intended to bring together the entire gravitational research community to further collaboration and allow young researchers to showcase their work.