China Reaches for the Stars: Power Play and Challenges as China Sets Its Sights on Astronomy
When and Where
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
EU Delegation, South Wing, Galileo Room
15 Dongzhimenwai Dajie
China is making a concerted effort to become an international leader in astronomy for a number of reasons, scientific as well as geopolitical. China’s geography and climate do not naturally lend themselves to astronomical research, in the way that the deserts of the American Southwest or Latin America do, yet China has been striving to take the lead in this field in recent years, allocating time, people and resources to achieve this aim
Eric Peng will analyze why China is turning to astronomy as a new sphere to exercise its geopolitical influence, what the competing political forces are and why this other worldly field of research is so relevant to all of us. He will examine the challenges presented by China’s desire to be a leader in this field and whether or not it will be able to rise to the tasks it has set for itself. Peng will also explain how the cultural associations of astronomy in China go back a long way, providing a further twist in the tale of China’s quest for supremacy in this celestial sphere.
Eric Peng is an Associate Professor at Peking University holding a joint appointment in the Astronomy Department and the Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics. He is an observational astronomer who has used the world’s best telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, to study the structure and origins of nearby galaxies. He co-founded China’s Telescope Access Program (TAP), a US$13m program through which China’s astronomers can use telescopes in the U.S. and Chile. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University.