The travelling astronomers


International collaborations after World War II
and the reorganization of European astronomy (1953-1985)

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This research project investigates the history of astronomy in Europe after World War II


The analysis focuses on the international collaborations for professional research in astronomy and the construction of ground-based facilities for optical astronomy and solar physics. Between 1953 and 1985, several initiatives were taken by European countries aimed at strengthening astronomical research in terms of capacity and competitiveness. These initiatives resulted in new transnational scientific networks and new international observatories being built in both hemispheres. They inaugurated in fact a new era of international cooperation in astrophysics in Europe.

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Matteo Realdi

Institute for History and Social Aspects of Science

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

My research interest is the history of astronomy and cosmology in the nineteenth and twentieth century. I got a PhD in astronomy at the University of Padova (2009), with a dissertation on the history of the early phases of modern relativistic cosmology. I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Padova, and the Center for the History of Science (CEHIC) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. I have also collaborated with the Tridentine Museum of Natural Sciences (Trento) on astronomy education activities. At the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, I am carrying out a project on the history of the organization of optical astronomy and solar physics in Europe after the Second World War.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement n. 656139