This autumn, Shanghai will host a large international conference addressing the birth, evolution, and current status of the Milky Way. We are now in a golden age for understanding our Galaxy. Surveys are providing data of unprecedented quality, volume, and dimensionality, allowing us to study both individual stars and composite populations in exquisite detail. This rapid progress is being spearheaded by the combination of Gaia data and large, ground-based spectroscopic surveys. From these, we are extracting a complete picture of the Milky Way’s dynamical and chemical phase space, allowing us to unveil the history of our Galaxy as never before.
The conference occurs at a crucial time for this field, coming 6 months after the first major astrometric data release of the Gaia mission. Other expansive spectroscopic surveys are continuing apace, as evidenced by the completion of the first phase of the LAMOST survey (totalling over 7 million stellar spectra), the completion of the Gaia-ESO survey, and the ongoing data releases from both APOGEE-2 and GALAH. Participants will therefore hear about new and previously unattainable findings on the nature of our Galaxy.
With this meeting, we will bring together both theorists and observers to share progress on a number of topics related to our Galaxy, including the evolution of the disc and the accretion history of the stellar halo. We will emphasise invited talks from leading young researchers at the senior postdoc or junior faculty level, with an aim of a vibrant meeting tackling the most relevant issues of the day. Participation from graduate students and postdocs is especially encouraged and a significant amount of time will be set aside for discussions. It is anticipated that in the week following the conference we will also host a supplementary three-day hands-on session, where enthusiastic researchers can remain in Shanghai to work together on simulations and data, forging new collaborations in an interactive environment.
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