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International conference at the KIAA contributes to resolving long-standing uncertainties in the astronomical distance scale.
From 11 to 15 September 2017, the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics hosted a high-level international conference on "Stellar Populations and the Distance Scale," honoring the career achievements of Professor Jeremy Mould (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia).
Spanning almost five days of excellent contributions by both junior and senior scientists hailing from all continents, the participants concluded that much progress had been made in understanding the astronomical distance scale, but that systematic uncertainties continue to affect our complete understanding of this fundamental aspect of our place in the Universe. Major efforts are underwayto remedy the remaining discrepancies, not least aided by the European Gaia spacecraft.
In addition to the formal scientific (and public) talks, lengthy breaks allowed the participants to network and plan for the next major steps needed to achieve a robust distance scale throughout the Universe on the basis of our detailed understanding of the physics of stars, galaxies, and the large-scale structure of our Universe as a whole. The excellent atmosphere and strong interpersonal relationships among the participants, old and new friends, contributed significantly to a highly successful conference.