550 Years of the Copernican Universe: our Place in the Cosmos


10 Nov 2023


Humboldt Carré, Berlin

Scientific organizers:

Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz, Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP) • Dr. Noam Libeskind, Leibniz-Institut
für Astrophysik (AIP)

Copernicus changed Astronomy, the world and humanity when he demoted Earth's otherwise privileged position at the center of the universe. With this simple empirically evidenced idea, Copernicus forever changed the human experience, relegating us to mere bystanders in a universe where no place nor no thing is special: a universe of bystanders. Further demotions followed (the galaxy is not special, nor the solar system nor even the matter we are made of) and the largest demotion (we are not alone) may be ahead of us. By questioning our place in the universe Copernicus’s gesture had a unifying effect on humanity, forcing us to appreciate that, as Buckminster Fuller said, “we are all astronauts on space ship earth”.

In the spirit of Copernicus’s revolutionary idea and in honor of his 550th anniversary this one day symposium focuses on our place in the universe, galaxy and solar system. With a wide variety of world leading astronomers giving lectures on the state of the art in their respective fields, we will celebrate Copernicus’s Idea that our place in the universe, although not special, is nevertheless unique. From exoplanets to the search for extra terrestrial life, from dark matter particle physics to black holes across the cosmos, from how galaxies form to how they die, this meeting will honor a European who united the world in appreciation for our special place in the universe.