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

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. 

Galaxy clusters: physics laboratories and cosmological probes

5 December 2016 - 9 December 2016

Conference Rationale
Galaxy clusters are unique astrophysical laboratories in which the powerful interaction of supermassive black holes with the surrounding intracluster medium, the complex effects of the cluster environment on galaxies, as well as a wide range of non-thermal processes like magnetic field amplification and cosmic ray acceleration can be studied. In addition, clusters form from the largest matter overdensities in the Universe that collapse under their own gravity. Due to their formation from these highest density peaks, clusters provide a large leverage to probe cosmological models. However, to make full use of this potential, the internal structure of clusters and how it affects observational signatures needs to be understood. This meeting will bring together both international experts on this subject and early career researchers to catalyse progress on puzzles like the discrepant cosmology results from galaxy clusters and the primary cosmic microwave background and to help interpretation of a wealth of upcoming, multiwavelength observational programmes, such as eROSITA, Athena, JWST, DESI, Euclid and SPTPol and Advanced ACT.

Previous Meetings

Putting Gravity to Work

21 July 2008 - 25 July 2008

Putting Gravity to Work: from black holes to galaxy clusters was a high energy astrophysics conference held at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, in celebration of Andy Fabian's 60th birthday.

Meeting Website

The Planet-Disc Connection

17 July 2006 - 21 July 2006

Observations of the later evolutionary stages of discs around young stars offer the best opportunity to study planet formation from an observational perspective. Localised clearing of dust and gas in discs can be inferred from a variety of imaging/spectroscopic diagnostics and is often interpreted as evidence for planet formation; alternatively, such clearing results from some other process which needs to be taken into account when assessing the environment in which planets form.

Meeting Website

Starbursts - From 30 Doradus to Lyman break galaxies

6 September 2004 - 10 September 2004

Large-scale starbursts are very common features of early galaxy evolution. At high redshifts, the majority of the present-day "normal" galaxy progenitors either appear to be undergoing violent gravitational interactions, or experience very active star formation throughout.

Meeting Website