Back in 2007 I conceived of a new type of professional conference aimed at coordinating innovations in both technology and science. I believed that we would not live up to our potential if the experts in the latest technologies and methods were going to SPIE meetings, while the astronomers who advance the science were attending completely different meetings, such as Protostars and Planets.
I called my new meeting “Spirit of Lyot” because Bernard Lyot was the type of scientist who could both innovate on the technical side of things and carry out cutting-edge scientific investigations. The entire field of directly imaging extrasolar planets largely depends on a device called a “coronagraph” which has a “Lyot stop” that he invented in order to study the Sun without the need to wait for a total solar eclipse.
The first Spirit of Lyot was held at my home institution, UC Berkeley, and you can still look at the conference web page. Every 2–3 years someone would volunteer to host another Spirit of Lyot, and thus we went to Paris in 2010 and Montreal in 2015.
Now that we are planning the fourth Spirit of Lyot in Tokyo for 2019, I feel very rewarded that this idea caught on and grew into a conference series. Having the meeting travel to four different countries and involve so many diverse groups genuinely fulfill my original goals.
So, save the dates, October 21–25, 2019, for the next Spirit of Lyot in Tokyo. The official announcement and conference web site will be forthcoming from the local organizers (Motohide Tamura & Mihoko Konishi). The sponsors include the Astrobiology Center (ABC/NINS) and NAOJ/TMTJ.
The venue will be located on the futuristic island called Odaiba which is an easy train ride to/from other parts of Tokyo. Since I am on the Scientific Organizing Committee, I will post updates as I receive them.