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Conference to celebrate 400th anniversary of telescope patent

History, science, and technology experts will present

CARDIFF, WALES, UK - 16 September 2008 - A patent filed in September 1608 that paved the way for the development of modern astronomical telescope technology will be celebrated at a conference beginning later this month in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

The conference, titled "400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes -- A Review of History, Science and Technology," will take place at ESTEC (the European Space Agency/ European Space Research and Technology Centre) from 29 September to 2 October. The timing celebrates filing of a patent for an early telescope design by eye-glass maker Hans Lipperhey, which rendered the technology available for public use. Other patent applications, design improvements, and applications soon followed, including the first astronomical observations through a telescope, made by Galileo Galilei.

A programme of invited speakers will review 400 years of developments in optical and non-optical telescopes, world-famous observatories, key technologies and components, the interplay of scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs, and political and sociological aspects, and will speculate about the future of astronomical telescope technology.

Speakers -- all experts in their respective fields -- include Albert Van Helden, George Rieke, Riccardo Giacconi, Reinhard Genzel, Lo Woltjer, Roger Angel, Malcolm Longair, Virginia Trimble, Bob O'Dell, Martin Harwit, and Tim de Zeeuw. Poster papers are encouraged and will be considered for publication in a volume with the invited talks.

Bernhard Brandl is chair of the Symposium Organizing Committee and Remko Stuik chairs the Local Organizing Committee; both are from Leiden University. SPIE Europe is among several cooperating organisations and sponsors of the event.

For more details see 400yearsoftelescopes.org.