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

PLATO Theory Workshop 2018

3 December 2018 - 5 December 2018

Welcome to the home page of the PLATO Theory meeting 2018, which will be hosted at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge. PLATO was adopted as ESA’s M3 mission in June 2017, and is currently scheduled for launch in 2026. The mission is designed to discover and characterise thousands of extrasolar planets through a combination of space-based transit detections, a ground-based radial velocity follow-up programme and asteroseismic characterisation of the host stars, yielding accurate masses, radii and ages for the detected planetary systems. The unique capabilities of the PLATO mission will allow it to discover and characterise a broad diversity of exoplanets and planetary system architectures, including terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of their stars.
PLATO’s key science goals include understanding the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and this goal will be achieved by using theoretical models of planetary system formation and evolution to interpret the observations. A number of theory Work Packages have been established to provide a focus for the theoretical work that needs to be undertaken in time for the mission launch. The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for members of these work packages to present and discuss recent relevant work, and to plan for future activities. Researchers who are not yet involved in the mission, but who are interested in becoming involved, will also be welcome to attend and present their work.
The plan for this two and half day meeting is to organise the sessions according to the various work packages that comprise the PLATO theory programme focussing on the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems. More information about the theory packages can be found here. When registering and submitting a title and abstract for a presentation (oral or poster), it would be useful in you could indicate which work package you wish to be affiliated with for the purpose of organising the sessions. The end of the workshop is scheduled to overlap with the PLATO Week 7 meeting that will be held at the IoA from 5-7 December. Information on previous PLATO Week meetings can be found here.
We look forward to seeing you in Cambridge in December 2018.


Yann Alibert
Melvyn Davies
Oliver Gressel
Tristan Guillot
Anders Johansen
Willy Kley
Jacques Laskar
Christoph Mordasini
Alessandro Morbidelli
Richard Nelson (co chair)
Frank Sohl
Nic Walton
Mark Wyatt (co chair)

Steve Brereton
Richard Nelson
Fatima Rasool
Amanda Smith
Mark Wyatt

Key dates: abstract and registration deadline 2 November 2018

Previous Meetings

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.

LSST@Europe: The Path to Science

9 September 2013 - 12 September 2013

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) project is at an exciting phase, with first light planned for 2019 and science operations to start in 2021. This major conference will bring together LSST and European scientists to consider the scientific opportunities of LSST, its current status, the role of European expertise and facilities in partnership with LSST, and the science challenges.

Meeting Website