Event Date/Time: Aug 10, 2009 End Date/Time: Aug 13, 2009
Registration Date: Jul 10, 2009
Early Registration Date: May 30, 2009
Abstract Submission Date: May 30, 2009
Paper Submission Date: Jun 30, 2009
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Synopsis/First Circular
Astronomy and Civilization, Budapest (Hungary), August 10-13, 2009

The conference, held to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009, is intended as an exceptional, multidisciplinary event on the most challenging questions of science, religion, and philosophy. Its motto and central theme can be stated as follows: “The level of knowledge attained in all ages has been determined by the generally accepted theory of the Universe”, as observed by Paul Couderc in Histoire de l'Astronomie, 1960, page 8. The goal of the conference is to call attention to the close relations between astronomy, natural sciences and civilization, first of all to the foundational, active and renewing role of astronomy in the development of our civilization and shaping our future. Astronomy has significant impact on science in general as well as on public imagination. The conference intends to combine plenary sessions on big questions in an inspiring manner with minisymposia on cutting-edge research in physics, astrobiology, complexity sciences, and on the relations between art, religion and astronomy. Therefore, in addition to the plenary talks, a few minisymposia will be held: “Physical Cosmological Models and the Astronomically Observed Universe”; “Complexity, Emergence and Astrobiological Aspects of the Universe”; “Astronomy and High Tech” and “Astronomy, Art and Religion”.

The main idea of the conference is to aid and promote the future of science by enlightening how the pursuit of astronomy has elevated our civilization and how it can improve the prospects of Homo Sapiens. We attempt to reach the highest possible impact on the public sphere with the help of large-scale media coverage. It has been our experience that most people, including a majority of astronomers, do not realize the key role that astronomy plays in the self-understanding of a culture, and how this shapes civilization. In ancient traditions, cosmogony played a central role. Nowadays, in the era of the consumer society, it is more and more usual to regard astronomy as an uneconomic, superfluous branch of science. This view presents a threatening danger not only to the intellectual and social status of astronomy in modern societies, but also to the future of science and civilization. The deep and complex idea of the Universe we suggest to promote seeks to elevate prevailing social viewpoints from the consuming attitude to a systematically developed, widened, and deepened concept of the real Universe that progressively captures its extraordinary complexity, and ultimately its integral unity. In the 21st century, the century of biology and complexity, the widest range of life (astrobiology) and complexity sciences is the real Universe, and so it offers the most general and complex context for the progress of natural sciences. We plan also Public Lectures in Hungarian and in English, to be broadcasted also locally and internationally.

We think that Asia contributed much of great significance to the culture and harmony of mankind, in their dealings with one other and with the Universe, than it is known today in the West. For this reason, besides presenting the Western achievements, we plan to give a special emphasis to the contributions of Asia to civilization.

Talks and poster contributions accepted by the scientific organizing committee of the conference will be published. We invest work securing the long-timescale impact of the conference on the wide public with the help of local and global press, videos, television and radio programs.

The themes of the Conference will be divided into the following topics:
1. Astronomy and Civilization; History of Astronomy; The Effect of Astronomy on the Foundations of Civilization
2. Astronomy and Physical Models; Theory of Cosmology and the Observed Universe
3. Astronomy, Complexity, Emergence and Astrobiology
4. Astronomy, Philosophy, Religion and Art

In particular, the meeting will focus on the following fundamental concepts, questions and problems:
– Why is astronomy so important for mankind?
– What is the basis of the concept of the Universe? What are the presuppositions of science
basic in our present physical world picture?
– What are the important differences between the observed Universe and its physical
models? What is the relation between our perceptions and the real Universe?
– What is complexity, and how can it be important in the study of the Universe?
– Does quantum mechanics play a non-trivial role in the astrobiological aspects of life?
– What are the most general aspects of life within cosmic conditions? Are there cosmic
life forms different from terrestrial ones?
– How can philosophy, religion and art contribute to obtain a more complete concept of the
– What are the most significant and genuine contributions of astronomy to civilization —
and how can it improve the perspectives of mankind?

Scientific Organizing Committee (SOC):
Paul Davies (Co-Chair, Arizona State University, Institute of Beyond, USA), Attila Grandpierre (Co-Chair, Konkoly Observatory, Hungary), Lajos Balázs (Director of Konkoly Observatory, Hungary), N. Chandra Wickramasinghe (Applied Mathematics and Astronomy at Cardiff University and Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology, U. K:), Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka (President of the World Phenomenology Institute, USA), Hans Köchler (University of Innsbruck, Austria, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila, Pamukkale University, Turkey, International Academy for Philosophy), Hans Haubold (UN Office for Outer Space Affairs Vienna International Centre, Austria), Metod Saniga (Astronomical Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Tatranska Lomnica, Slovakia), Sisir Roy (Physics and Applied Mathematics Unit, Indian Statistical. Institute, Calcutta, India, College of Science, George Mason University, USA).

List of Keynote and Invited Speakers:
Paul Davies, Stephen Wolfram*, Subhash Kak, Nancey Murphy, David Ray Griffin, John Gribbin*, Joel R. Primack, Nancy Abrams, William R. Stoeger, N. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Vladimir A. Lefebvre, Hans Köchler, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, Menas Kafatos, Helena Knyazeva, Sisir Roy (all confirmed except the ones indicated by *)

Local Organizing Committee (LOC):
Attila Grandpierre (Konkoly Observatory), Lajos Balázs (Konkoly Observatory), Gyula Jobbágy (Budapest College of Communication and Business), Zsigmondné Nagy (Roland Eötvös Physical Society), Zsolt Hetesi (Eötvös Lóránd University, Department of Complex Systems), Kristóf Petrovay (Eötvös Lóránd University, Department of Astronomy).

Important deadlines:
Abstract submission: 30 May, 2009
Early registration: 30 May, 2009
Registration: July 1, 2009

Important websites:
Downloadable flyer of the conference:


XI. Pazmany Peter setany 1/a

Additional Information

Registration Fees Before 10 May 2009 EUR 250 including VAT (20%) After 10 May 2009 EUR 300 including VAT (20%) Student discount: EUR 150 including VAT (20%) The registration fee includes - Admission to all sessions - Conference documentation, including the book of the Conference Proceedings (except in the case of student discount) - Coffee breaks - Welcome Party on 10 August 2009 (except in the case of student discount)