New Vision 400

Father Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-88) dressed as a Chinese astrologer (woodblock print) by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861).

New Vision 400: Engaging Big Questions in Astronomy and Cosmology Four Hundred Years after the Invention of the Telescope

The John Templeton Foundation is sponsoring a three-day international conference “New Vision 400: Engaging Big Questions in Astronomy and Cosmology Four Hundred Years after the Invention of the Telescope” and associated programs in Beijing in October 2008. The New Vision 400 Conference will be presided over by Professor Donald York, University of Chicago, as the program principal investigator. Professor Jiansheng Chen, chairman of astronomy at Beijing University, is the co-principal investigator and Sui-Jian Xue, of the Beijing Astronomical Observatory of China, is chairing the Local Organizing Committee.
The occasion to be celebrated is the invention of the telescope 400 years ago, by Hans Lippershey in 1608 in the Netherlands. The main activities are a public event featuring discussion of the role of creativity and technology in astronomical discovery; three days of scientific meetings, and a Young Scholars Competition (papers from Chinese scholars judged by international experts, the best being selected for public presentation, in a competition for cash prizes).
The discussions will focus on the history of the telescope, the present and future developments of astronomy, the role of technological innovations, the advancement of science and the Big Questions that have emerged from research and discoveries made with the telescope: the origin, creativity, and purposefulness of the universe; the place of humans in the universe; the implications of the discovery of planets around other stars; and the role telescopes may play in searching for life elsewhere in the universe. It is hoped that high-level research partnerships will develop as a result of this conference, benefiting astronomers from East and West.
The meetings will be co-sponsored by Beijing University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, The Chinese Astronomical Society, National Astronomical Observations in China and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.