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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Conference topics:

  • Introduction to, and the status of, Gaia and leading spectroscopic surveys
  • The kinematics of the Milky Way disc: signatures of the bar, spirals, vertical excitation, secular dynamical evolution
  • The chemistry and chemical evolution of the Milky Way disc
  • The bulge/bar: its structure, history and relation to the thin & thick discs
  • Stellar physics: chemically peculiar and ultra metal-poor stars, asteroseismology
  • The halo: structure of the stellar halo, the Milky Way's accretion history, mapping the dark halo
  • Future spectroscopic surveys (including LAMOST-2, 4-MOST, WEAVE, PFS, and SDSS-V)

Call for paper


Scientific Organising Committee:

  • Martin C. Smith (Shanghai Astronomical Observatory; chair)
  • Vasily Belokurov (University of Cambridge; co-chair)
  • Gail Zasowski (University of Utah; co-chair)
  • James Binney (University of Oxford)
  • Masashi Chiba (Tohoku University)
  • Paola Di Matteo (Observatoire de Paris)
  • Sofia Feltzing (Lund University)
  • Ken Freeman (Australian National University)
  • Chao Liu (National Astronomical Observatories of China)
  • Xiaowei Liu (Peking University & Yunnan University)
  • Sarah Loebman (University of California, Davis)
  • Heidi Newberg (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • Matthias Steinmetz (Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics)
  • Gang Zhao (National Astronomical Observatories of China) 

Local Organising Committee: <>

  • Jinliang Hou (chair)
  • Yang Yang (co-chair)
  • João A. Amarante
  • Caili Li
  • Zhao-Yu Li
  • Fu Jian
  • Zhong Jing
  • Zhen Yuan
  • Yanqiong Zhang



  • Shanghai Astronomical Observatory
  • National Astronomical Observatories of China
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences


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Contact information

  • Martin C. Smith