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900 Experts on the Evolution of Stars and Planets Meet in Heidelberg

Astronomical conference “Protostars & Planets” to take place from 15 to 20 July 2013

Nine hundred scientists will be meeting in Heidelberg between 15 and 20 July 2013 for one of the biggest astronomical conferences anywhere in the world. On these six days, the experts intend to exchange views and knowledge about the present state of research on the evolution of stars and planets.

They will also be discussing the development of future strategies that might lead to the discovery of a second Earth. This major international event entitled “Protostars & Planets” last took place on Hawaii in 2005. After years of planning it will now be organised jointly by the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (Heidelberg).

In astronomical research, planets like Earth are referred to as “seed corns of the Universe” because life can evolve and develop on them. On this point researchers are largely in agreement. But the question of how stars and their planetary systems can form and evolve in the first place and how planets capable of supporting life can be identified is at present one of the most exciting and spectacular research areas in astronomy and astrophysics.

“Knowledge here is progressing at such a rate that scientists working in this area meet regularly at a special international conference to obtain an overview of the state of research, cultivate connectivity and receive new impulses for their work”, says Prof. Dr. Cornelis Dullemond of the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University. The results of the scientific exchange in Heidelberg are to be ploughed into a publication of over 1,000 pages that will function as the standard work on research in this area for the years to come. The upcoming sixth “Protostars & Planets” conference will be the first to take place outside the United States.

The programme of the conference and other relevant information can be found at

Invitation to the press conference

Initial important results from the conference will be communicated at a question-and-answer session for the press at 12.30 to 2.30 pm on Wednesday, 17 July 2013, in the Robert Schumann Room (1st floor) of the Kongresshaus Stadthalle conference centre, Neckarstaden 24, in Heidelberg. Renowned international scientists will be on hand to answer questions about the evolution of stars and planets or the discovery and features of inhabitable planets. They include

Prof. Dr. John Bally (University of Colorado at Boulder / USA)
Prof. Dr. Isabelle Baraffe (University of Exeter / Great Britain)
Prof. Dr. Willy Benz (University of Bern / Switzerland)
Prof. Dr. Cornelis Dullemond (Heidelberg University)
Prof. Dr. Alyssa Goodman (Harvard University / USA)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Henning (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy)
Prof. Dr. Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden University / Netherlands)
During the session, researchers will also be available to translate questions and answers. Members of the organisation team will also be present.

Note for newsdesks

The location of the conference from 15 to 20 July 2013 is the Kongresshaus Stadthalle, Neckarstaden 24, in Heidelberg. Members of the press will have the opportunity of establishing contact with individual researchers and interviewing them on selected topics. Filming and documentation are also possible. Liaison support in establishing contact and coordinating appointment dates is provided by Dr. Markus Poessel of the Haus der Astronomie (literally House of Astronomy) and Dr. Guido Thimm of the Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University.


Dr. Markus Poessel
House of Astronomy / Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
Phone: +49 6221 528-261
Dr. Guido Thimm
Centre for Astronomy of Heidelberg University
Phone: +49 6221 54-1805
Heidelberg University
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone: 49 6221 54-2311

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
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