Leicester chosen for international space science workshop

The workshop is one of a series, acknowledged as the premier forum for astronomers from around the world with an interest in white dwarfs. This will be the second EUROWD workshop hosted in Leicester, the last being in 1992, and the meeting has been scheduled to take place a week before the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly in Prague.

White dwarfs are the dying remnant cores of stars similar to the Sun. In fact, the formation of a white dwarf is the ultimate fate of most stars up to about 8 times the mass of the Sun. Many white dwarfs are among the oldest objects in the galaxy and can be used to map out its history. The process of producing white dwarfs in recycled carbon, nitrogen and oxygen into interstellar space, which are important elements for the existence of life in the Universe.

From its beginnings in 1974, the European Workshops on White Dwarfs has developed into the most important meeting on white dwarfs worldwide. Held biannually, the last meeting was in Kiel (2004), which was also the venue of the very first workshop.

The University of Leicester is one of Europe's leading centres for space research and was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education a decade ago for its world class research in space science. The University is a co-founder and a major partner in Leicester's Millennium Commission-funded National Space Centre.

Martin Barstow, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science and Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester commented: "The welcome return of the workshop to Leicester is a recognition of the high profile status of white dwarf research within the Leicester Department of Physics and Astronomy."

Dr Matthew Burleigh, PPARC Advanced Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the meeting, said: "As a young student, I helped organise the previous Leicester meeting, which fired my interest in the subject and led me to doing research in white dwarfs. Now I am even looking for planets around these stars! It is a real honour to be asked by colleagues from around the world to host the 2006 workshop, and recognises the international standing of our research."

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The 15th European White Dwarf Workshop is supported by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and the National Space Centre.


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