Symposium on the Milky Way receives Potsdam Conference Award

28 February 2019. On the evening of February 28, the Potsdam Conference Award was awarded for the seventh time. The IAU symposium "Rediscovering our Galaxy" hosted by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) won the award in the category "Single Events" and the special award for using innovative technologies.
Symposium on the Milky Way receives Potsdam Conference Award

Winners of the Potsdam Conference Award

The international conference in July 2017 with almost 200 participants from 25 countries was dedicated to our home galaxy: "Knowledge of the Milky Way is growing rapidly. We took this development as an opportunity to discuss the latest scientific findings at an international conference", says AIP scientist and chair of the scientific organizing committee Cristina Chiappini. "It was a rich program, involving data and modeling, as well as two one-hour discussion panels with renowned panelists", adds AIP researcher and chairwoman of the local organizing committee, Marica Valentini. The results of the meeting were published in a book.

The symposium also included the visit of around 40 children from an international school in Berlin, who visited the Great Refractor and the Einstein Tower. They also had the opportunity to enjoy a virtual reality trip across a cosmological galaxy formation simulation. “These kids from Europe, South America and Africa helped us to bring awareness to the fact that science, although very international, still struggles to include participants from all over the world”, says Cristina Chiappini, who is herself of Italian and Brazilian nationality.

The AIP in Potsdam has a leading role as a research institute in the field of the Milky Way. The event, which was funded by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the German Research Foundation (DFG), was specifically hosted in Potsdam due to its connection to the location for science and the city's attractiveness with its numerous sights played an important role for the international participants. The conference drew experts in the field of the Milky Way to Potsdam and is regarded as trend-setting for the research area.

The Potsdam Conference Award is awarded in three categories. The jury is guided by criteria such as internationality, innovation and touristic as well as economic relevance for the region. The application of the AIP was able to convince the jury in almost all respects: a high scientific significance, a comprehensive supporting program with a strong image effect for Potsdam and study trips to other scientific institutions. The issues of equality and tolerance were given great importance.


Conference webpage

Potsdam Conference Award


Scientific Contact Cristina Chiappini, 0331/7499 454,

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