The IAU GA 2018 Logo and Poster: Science Meets Culture

The IAU General Assembly 2018 logo, which appears under the main menu on the left side of the conference website, combines elements from both astronomy and the city of Vienna.

Logo and Poster

The IAU GA 2018 logo (left) and poster (right).

The logo’s background shows the constellation Orion, with the three Belt stars as red X’s to indicate that this is the 30th (XXX) IAU GA. The left part of the accompanying sketch represents an astronomical radio dish but also resembles the Wiener Riesenrad — the 65-meter-tall Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel — located at the Prater park in the city’s Leopoldstadt district. The sketch continues to the right as a Lyman-alpha emission line, but again resembling a Viennese landmark: St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the city’s most important Gothic structures. Located in Stephansplatz, the cathedral is 107.2 meters long and 34.2 meters wide; the tallests of its four towers stretches 136.4 meters skyward.

The official poster of the GA, which you may download from the conference website as a high-resolution PDF, is a modern twist on historical scientific imagery. It is inspired by a sketch of the “vortex of the plenum” by French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes in his 1644 book Principles of Philosophy (Principia Philosophiae). The Local Organizing Committee commissioned Austrian artist Ulrike Kuchner to create the poster using Descartes’s sketch as the starting point.

THILINA HEENATIGALA is a science communicator focused on engaging students and the public via new media. A native of Sri Lanka, he works with Leiden Observatory (Netherlands) as the Assistant Editor of IAU’s astroEDU. His science, travel and poetry adventures can be found on Twitter and Instagram.