row of astrolabes

Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop - ND XIII July 5-9, 2017

The Thirteenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop will be held 5-9 July 2017 at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and will include a one-day trip to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

Call for Proposals

We will accept proposals for both papers and sessions.

Single papers will probably have to be 15–20 minutes in length, depending upon the number of submissions.

Organized sessions, with multiple papers addressing a particular question or theme, can contain papers of longer length, but must incorporate significant time for discussion.

Proposals for papers should include a title and a one-paragraph abstract; session proposals should identify all presenters as well as titles and one-paragraph abstracts for each presenter.

Call for proposals flyer NDXIII Call for Proposals.pdf

We especially encourage proposals from graduate students and recent PhDs.

Proposals, including a one-page CV for all presenters, should be sent by 1 March 2017 to Elizabeth Hamm at All submissions will be shared with the organizing committee: Stephen Case, Jacqueline Feke, Elizabeth Hamm, Pedro Raposo, and Sarah Reynolds. Final decisions on paper and session acceptance are planned for 1 April 2017. All presenters will be expected to register for the workshop and pay the registration fee; questions about local arrangements should be addressed to Matt Dowd at

If you wish to propose a paper or session making use of items in the Adler Planetarium collections, please contact the Adler Planetarium’s curator, Pedro Raposo, at prior to submitting a proposal. To search the collections, please go to

Conference poster as PDF file - please post and circulate.

Workshop Details

Details about this year's workshop are available through the below links:

Registration and housing arrangements is similar this year to prior years. Registration is now available, please click here.

Conference Theme: Models and Mechanisms in the History of Astronomy

Models and mechanisms have played an important role throughout the history of astronomy, both as physical devices and as conceptual entities. In exploring this workshop theme, we invite you to consider such questions as: What do we know about historical astronomical models and mechanisms, including their origins, development, and abandonment? How have physical models and mechanistic devices influenced major developments in astronomy and related fields? How have mental models and mechanistic thinking shaped astronomical concepts and explanations? As in previous years, we expect that the theme can encompass a number of different time periods and geographical locations. Proposals that directly address the theme will receive preferential treatment.

Invited Speaker

Our invited speaker will be Emeritus Professor Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University, former Head of its School of Physics and Astronomy. His astronomical research career involved the determination and interpretation of the abundances of the chemical elements in the universe, and investigation of the origin of interstellar dust. His later work has included research in the history of astronomy, particularly on the history and implications of astronomical machines and mechanisms, and efforts to bring science to wider audiences. Edmunds is Chair of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, Chair of the Astronomical Heritage Committee of the Royal Astronomical Society, a former member of two UK Research Councils, and can occasionally be seen in his one-man play about Newton “Sir Isaac Remembers…”

© 2017 University of Notre Dame.     Image Credits