Contains untold stories about cooperation in astronomy before the creation of the IAU in 1919
Reveals IAU diplomatic activity during international tensions and crises
With contributions of astronomers and science historians giving backstage perspectives
Part of the book series: Historical & Cultural Astronomy (HCA)
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Table of contents (18 chapters)
The Creation of the IAU and the Aftermath of WWI
After WWII: Divided Countries
During and After the Cold War
The IAU, the United Nations, and UNESCO
About this book
This book illuminates a few highly significant events in history in which astronomers have helped keep contacts between astronomers of different states in moments of international political tensions or even crises. The chapters, written by 20 international authors, focus on four periods where astronomers were particularly active in international relations:
1. The WWI period, the epoch of the creation of the IAU, in the context of the simultaneous creation of other scientific unions. The book also singles out the important role of A.S. Eddington and his network “across forbidden borders”.
2. The Cold war period and its consequences, when several countries were divided between opposite blocs. “The China crisis” is told here from different viewpoints by Chinese astronomers, both from the mainland and from Taiwan, in parallel with the evolution of astronomy in South and North Korea. Germany’s twisted path in its membership of the IAU, from its admission in 1951 to its reunification in 1991 is shown as another example.
3. The book then highlights a third period, when radio astronomers, in particular, were very active in “building bridges” between East and West. It also tells the history of how the apparently innocuous issue of the “lunar nomenclature” became extremely sensitive. The part ends on two chapters on Russian robotic missions and lunar surface features as well on the Russian participation in the “International Virtual Observatory” project.
4. The fourth part reports for the first time on the “hidden story” of the relations between the IAU and the United Nations after the “Moon race” when the United Nations decided to challenge the IAU’s authority on “extraterrestrial names”. The final chapter reviews how twenty years later UNESCO and the IAU had become strong partners in the difficult, but highly successful organization of the International Year of Astronomy (2002-2009), and of the “Astronomy and World Heritage” intitiative (2008).
- International Astronomical Union IAU
- astronomy, International Year
- astronomy, Carte du Ciel
- International Research Council
- International Scientific Unions
- Bureau International de l'Heure
- Benjamin Baillaud
- astronomy, China
- astronomy, Germany
- astronomy, Korea
- Apollo, landings
- Moon, mapping
- lunar nomenclature
- United Nations, extraterrestrial names
- UNESCO, World Heritage Initiative
- Observatory, Pic-du-Midi
- Observatory, Paris
Editors and Affiliations
Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, PARIS, France
Groupe d’Histoire et de Diffusion des Sciences d’Orsay (GHDSO-EST), Université Paris-Saclay, ORSAY, France
About the editors
Thierry Montmerle has been General Secretary of the IAU from 2012 to 2015. In the framework of the centenary celebrations of the creation of the IAU and four other International Unions in 1919, he and co-Editor Danielle Fauque have organized an international conference in Paris, where the IAU Secretariat in currently located, honoring in particular the first President of the IAU, Benjamin Baillaud, who was Director of the Paris Observatory at the time. While this book is based on the conference, it has been vastly expanded to include more contributions. He has written two papers on the history of the IAU in the "IAU Centenary Symposium" held during the IAU General Assembly in Vienna (2018). During his long career in astrophysics (PhD Paris, 1975), he has edited many proceedings of international conferences (including the IAU General Assembly in Honolulu, 2015, edited by Cambridge University Press), and also contributed to books edited by Springer (Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, 2015+; Young Sun, Early Earth, and the Origin of Life, 2012).
Danielle Fauque graduated in physics, chemistry, and history of science. She is a member of the International Academy of History of Science. She is specialized in history of astronomical instruments (thesis on the history of the heliometer), astronomical navigation, optics and chemistry. She and co-editor Thierry Montmerle have organized a conference on history of IAU in Paris in October 2019. She has been a member of various committees (organization and scientific programme) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Congress in Paris in July 2019. She co-edited a special issue of Chemistry International, the IUPAC magazine on the history of IUPAC. She published papers on the history of the scientific unions, the last one with R. Fox (Oxford), in Acta Historica Leopoldina (2021), on the International Research Council (1919-1931). She has been also a member of the Editorial Council of the RHS for several years. Since 1983, she has published several papers on history of science in collective books (physics, optics, astronomy, science teaching history, scientific travels, chemistry) and continues to publish and organize national and international meetings on the history of science.
Book Title: Astronomers as Diplomats
Book Subtitle: When the IAU Builds Bridges Between Nations
Editors: Thierry Montmerle, Danielle Fauque
Series Title: Historical & Cultural Astronomy
Publisher: Springer Cham
Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022
Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-98624-7Published: 09 July 2022
Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-98627-8Published: 09 July 2023
eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-98625-4Published: 08 July 2022
Series ISSN: 2509-310X
Series E-ISSN: 2509-3118
Edition Number: 1
Number of Pages: XXV, 511
Number of Illustrations: 97 b/w illustrations, 127 illustrations in colour