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

PLATO Week 7

5 December 2018 - 7 December 2018

The next Plato Week 07 meeting will take place at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK from 5th to 7th December 2018.

Registration is now open and will close 31 Oct 2018. 

Meeting Website

Previous Meetings


8 July 2013 - 12 July 2013

We are planning to host up to 150 registered participants and the main focus of the conference will be on theoretical and numerical modelling of physical processes relevant for galaxy formation. The programme is designed to be of scientific interest to non-numericists who want to learn about the scientific issues surrounding galaxy formation and evolution.

We aim to have participants from different scientific communities and extensive discussion of theoretical and numerical challenges will provide a common ground for close interaction.

Meeting Website

Towards the science case for E-ELT HIRES

13 September 2012 - 14 September 2012

ESO has recently released an Instrumentation Roadmap for the E-ELT that foresees a high-resolution spectrograph either as  Instrument Nr.4 or Nr.5. The optimal balance of the major science drivers for such an instrument need still to be defined. The aim of the workshop is to (further) define the science cases and science requirements for E-ELT HIRES, by bringing together people interested in the matter. This should be a rather informal meeting of about 50 participants.

Meeting Website

New Horizons for High Redshifts

25 July 2011 - 29 July 2011

Topics to be covered:

  • High-redshift galaxy evolution & star formation
  • Hydrogen Reionization
  • Evolution and enrichment of the early IGM
  • High-redshift QSOs and AGN
  • Lessons from He II Reionization
  • Other probes of the z > 5 Universe

Invited speakers will include: Frank Bertoldi, Jamie Bolton, Rychard Bouwens, Joanna Dunkley, Richard Ellis, Steven Furlanetto, Piero Madau, Matthew McQuinn, Masami Ouchi, Dominik Reichers, Michael Shull, Brian Siana, Chris Willott and Saleem Zaroubi.

Meeting Website

DARKNESS VISIBLE: Dark Matter in astrophysics and particle physics

2 August 2010 - 6 August 2010

The Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, summer conference will focus on Dark Matter, bring together recent progress in astrophysical studies, direct and indirect detection experiemnts, and the LHC.

We invite applications for contributed talks and posters to fill an expanded format for the Darkness Visible meeting to be held at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge (UK). This meeting will bring together particle- and astro - physicists (theoretical, experimental and observational) to present recent advances in our understanding of dark matter at scales ranging from particle pysics to cosmology.

Meeting Website

Angular Momentum Transport and Energy Release in Accretion Discs

7 September 2009 - 8 September 2009

The aim of this conference is to bring together an outstanding group of young researchers to discuss theoretical and observational progress toward understanding accretion disc physics in Young Stellar Objects, compact binaries, and galactic nuclei.

Meeting Website