Upcoming Forums

Forums are informal and free debates among some fifteen to twenty-five high-level participants on open questions of scientific nature or science policy matters. Forums do not necessarily lead to formal recommendations or decisions. They are generally held once a year at ISSI for two days.


Solar System/Exoplanet Science Synergies in the Horizon 2061 Perspective (19-20 February 2019)

first Forum of the H2020 contract of Europlanet was built on the concept of Planetary systems as a new unifying paradigm of planetary sciences gathering the solar system, giant planets systems and extrasolar planetary systems into a single class of astrophysical objects. This forum made it possible to identified six key questions for future research on Planetary systems in general:

  • Origins of planetary systems
  • Causes of the diversity of their architectures
  • Causes of the diversity of the objects composing them
  • How do they work?
  • What are the conditions for the emergence of habitable worlds?
  • Where and how to search for life?

It then specifically examined how these generic questions could be addressed by space observations in the Solar System, up to the 2061 Horizon. In a symmetric approach, we propose to devote the Second Forum to discussing how synergetic research between the Solar System and Exoplanet communities and their space projects could address and try to solve these same key questions for extra-solar planetary systems in the coming decades, e.g. in the same Horizon 2061 timeframe.

The objectives of this Forum are to assess: a set of suggestions for synergistic research studies between the two communities, possibly new concepts of observation programs (space-based or ground-based) that could derive from these synergies, themes for future ISSI workshops and/or forums, that would be instrumental in helping to successfully address the six key questions.

Forum Webpage >>


SCOSTEP ISSI Fora at ISSI Beijing (14-16 November 2018) and ISSI (25-27 February 2019)

The objective of the ISSI Fora is to bring community leaders together to define the next scientific program of SCOSTEP for the period 2019-2024. SCOSTEP is tasked by the International Council for Science (ICSU) with running long-term scientific programs in solar terrestrial physics (STP). SCOSTEP has formed a committee for the next scientific program (NSP) and the committee has been gathering input from the community. During the For a, the committee will meet with experts from the community in discussing the current inputs and develop a document that identifies the projects that can be carried out over a period of 4-5 years with participation from the widest possible cross section of the STP community. The projects need to be international and interdisciplinary in nature addressing the objectives of a plurality of the constituent organizations (COSPAR, IAGA/IUGG, IAMAS, IAU, IUPAP, SCAR, URSI, and WDS). The Fora will also identify the modus operandi for the projects including metrics for the progress and means for disseminating results.
These Fora will be modelled after the previous ISSI Forum held in 2012 in Bern, which defined the highly successful Variability of the Sun and Its Terrestrial Impact (VarSITI) program.

Forum Webpage for the Meeting in Beijing (14-16 November 2018) >>

Forum Webpage for the Meeting in Bern (25-27 February 2019) >>


The Impact of Big Data in Astronomy (4-5 July 2019)

The explosion of digital data in volume and complexity available through internet has driven a revolution in the way to handle large flows of information. This challenge has developed into new opportunities in many domains like health, transport, security, tourism, or e-commerce, with a blooming of new applications. Computers changed the way to do business few decades ago and the new challenge is to exploit large and diverse amounts of data. In fact, we refer to Big Data when the volume itself becomes part of the problem, when available techniques are not efficient enough. Scientific research in general, and Astronomy in particular, should of course benefit of the new data handling tools, like it did with computers before, and, e.g., deep learning, an active research area in machine learning and paIern recognition, offers excellent opportunities.

Astronomy is indeed a paradigm case for Big Data science. The continuing development of ground and space-based observatories, including large sky surveys, brings Astronomy to the Big Data era. Gaia or Euclid are examples in space but new groundbased projects, like LSST or SKA, will need the new tools even more. Means and methodologies to do research with these facilities will have, no doubt, to be evaluated.

Young astronomers will be more and more involved in the use and development of Big Data science for their research, not only mining data bases to get answers, but also producing complex simulations or even finding out new questions by recognising unexpected paIerns in the data, in other words, moving from a model-driven to adata-driven approach. Moreover, the traditional way of asking for observing time to investigate specific targets will also be drastically modified.

The purpose of this ISSI Forum is to convene a number of experts in the use of Big Data science for Astronomy with the aim of reflecting on the benefits and challenges of this new research tool.

Forum Webpage >>


Overview of the Past Forums >