Council of the European Southern Observatory meets for first time in Switzerland

Bern, 27.02.2006 - The council of the European Southern Observatory, ESO, is meeting for the first time in Switzerland. On the agenda of the two-day conference 27-28 February in Bern is discussion of current and planned projects, the financing of long-term and strategic plans and requests by different European countries to participate in ESO activities as full members. The invitation to hold the 66th meeting of the ESO in Switzerland came from the State Secretariat for Education and Research, SER.

Switzerland joined the European Southern Observatory as a full member in 1982, 20 years after the founding of the organization which has its headquarters in Garching, Germany. Other members are Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. Spain will become the organization’s 12th member on 1 July 2006.  The ESO operates telescopes at three locations in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Very Large Telescope, VLT, at Paranal consists of four telescopes each of which are 8.2 metres in diameter.
During Switzerland’s 23 years as an ESO member, Swiss astronomers have repeatedly accomplished top-class research in cosmology and in the search for and study of planets outside the solar system. Switzerland is contributing CHF 6.68 million to the 2006 ESO budget.  The State Secretariat for Education and Research represents Switzerland at the ESO.
The ESO’s first official meeting in Switzerland 27-28 February is chaired by the president of the ESO Council Prof. Richard Wade. Twenty delegates from the 11 member states are taking part. Switzerland is repesented by Prof. Michel Mayor of the Geneva University observatory and Dr. Martin Steinacher of the SER. ESO representatives are the director-general Dr. Catherine Cesarsky and her deputy Dr. Ian Corbett.
Included on the agenda are such topics as the further enlargement of the VLT and global cooperation with North America and Japan on ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter Array) radio telescope. Discussion will also include the Extremely Large Telescope, ELT,  project, a new 60-metre telescope for which the ESO has already carried out advanced studies and implementation plans.

Address for enquiries

State Secretariat for Education and Research SER
Multilateral research cooperation unit
Dr. Martin Steinacher, Tel. 031 324 23 82
Dr. Jean Pierre Ruder Tel. 031 322 96 78
Hallwylstrasse 4
3003 Bern


State Secretariat for Education and Research (SER) - as of 1.1.2013 SERI

Last modification 03.10.2018

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