various astronomy-related historical images

Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop - ND IX July 8 - 12, 2009

Call for Proposals

This year the workshop falls during the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). Among the main goals of the IYA are to celebrate the impact that astronomy has and has had on human societies and cultures, as well as to increase the public’s awareness of this rich heritage. (For more, see We invite papers and sessions that promote these goals.

Paper and session themes can include such diverse subjects as advances in the science itself, for example, through scholarship or instrumentation; the impact of astronomy on the broader culture, such as through literature or religion; and the means to promote knowledge of astronomy and its history among the public, such as through museums, teaching, and public outreach. As always, we are open to proposals that deal with subjects from a broad range of time periods and geographical regions. We are also open to nontraditional sessions, such as hands-on activities that could be used in classrooms or in public outreach.

The invention of the telescope and its use as an astronomical instrument was a watershed event in the history of astronomy. It changed the human understanding of the universe and our place in it. Those of us who study and appreciate the history of the science of astronomy recognize the immense impact that this instrument had on the science, even if our specific studies are not oriented around the telescope. For this reason we encourage papers and session proposals that will consider how the telescope has been treated by historians over the past four centuries. Have we been asking the most useful questions about the telescope over time? What should we be asking about the role of the telescope in shaping the practice of astronomy? What should historians of today be asking about the telescopes of today to help the historians of tomorrow answer the questions they may be asking?

Proposal Details

All papers must address a topic in the history of astronomy, but a wide variety of time periods and approaches are acceptable. Graduate students reporting on dissertation projects and speakers who did not present a paper at ND VIII will receive preference.

Session Proposals: Session proposals should state the theme, indicate the requested allowance of time and include a 250-word abstract and a one-page cv for each participant. Time allotted for sessions will be between 1 and 2.5 hours, a significant portion of time must be devoted to discussion.

Individual Paper Proposals: Work-in-progress paper proposals should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and be accompanied by a one-page cv. Oral presenters will be given ten to fifteen minutes to give their paper followed by five minutes for discussion.

Poster Paper Proposals: Poster paper proposals should include an abstract of no more than 250 words and be accompanied by a one-page cv. The proposal should include a short statement regarding how the topic benefits from a visual presentation. Poster papers should take advantage of the poster format, and therefore must be visually appealing and convey information to the viewer through quality images (photos, diagrams, tables, etc.) and succinct text. Poster papers will be displayed throughout the workshop.

Proposal Deadline

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2009

Please note that no person may submit more than one proposal for a work-in-progress paper, but that the same person may submit a proposal for both a work-in-progress and a poster paper.

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