Illuminating the Dusty Universe: A Tribute to the Work of Bruce Draine

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Image: Roberto Baglioni (University of Florence), Leslie Hunt (INAF-Arcetri Observatory), Spitzer Infrared Array Camera

October 30  November 3 2023

Conference: Illuminating the Dusty Universe: A Tribute to the Work of Bruce Draine

HostUniversità degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Organized by INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri

Venue: Galileo Galilei Institute for Theoretical Physics, Florence, Italy

Scientific Organizing Committee:

     Simone Bianchi (INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri)
     Danny Dale  (University of Wyoming)
     Brandon Hensley  (JPL/Caltech, Chair)
     Leslie Hunt  (INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri)
     Karin Sandstrom  (UC San Diego)
     Aigen Li  (University of Missouri)
     J.D. Smith  (University of Toledo)
     Joseph Weingartner  (George Mason University)

Local Organizing Committee (INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri):

   Simone Bianchi
   Patrizia Braschi
   Leslie Hunt (Chair)
From catalyzing the formation of molecules, to building up planets, to tracing cosmic star formation rates, dust has an outsized impact on the astrophysics and observational properties of the Universe. This conference is dedicated to both the nature of dust -- what is it made of? where and how does it form and evolve? -- and to the role dust plays in astrophysics, both directly and as a diagnostic tool. We seek to bring together a diverse set of perspectives on dust, including laboratory astrophysics, meteoritics, astrochemistry, optics, and observational astronomy across the electromagnetic spectrum.

Few have contributed more to illuminating our own understanding of the dusty universe than Bruce Draine of Princeton University. As we discuss the physics and astrophysics of dust, we will also celebrate his past and ongoing work in this field as well as the enduring collaborations and friendships formed along the way. The conference will be held in the beautiful and historic Arcetri district in Firenze, Italy, where Bruce spent many a sabbatical and wrote a portion of his text Physics of the Interstellar and Intergalactic Medium.

Conference Topics

  • What is dust?
    • Observed Properties of Dust
    • Dust in the Solar System
    • Optics of Dust
    • Dust in the Laboratory
  • Where does dust come from, and where does it go?
  • What role does Dust play in the Universe?
    • Physical and Chemical Processes of Dust
    • Dust as a Diagnostic Tool

Conference Schedule

Confirmed Speakers

  • François Boulanger, École Normale Supérieure
  • Daniela Calzetti, UMass Amherst
  • Paola Caselli, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
  • Lia Corrales, University of Michigan
  • Karl Gordon, Space Telescope Science Institute
  • Hiroyuki Hirashita, ASIAA
  • Cornelia Jäger, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
  • Ed Jenkins, Princeton University
  • Biwei Jiang, Beijing Normal University
  • Alex Lazarian, University of Wisconsin
  • Ingrid Mann, The Arctic University of Norway
  • Larry Nittler, Arizona State University
  • Takashi Onaka, University of Tokyo
  • Els Peeters, University of Western Ontario
  • Ewine van Dishoeck, Leiden Observatory
  • Raffaella Schneider, University of Rome


Florence is one of the major touristic destinations in Italy. For this reason, there is a wide choice of hotels in the city. Nevertheless, tourists are many so be sure to book your hotel as soon as possible.

The areas closer to the venue are those south of the river Arno (Oltrarno district) and around Porta Romana. We suggest here a few hotels that are frequently used by our guests:

Hotel Classic (in Porta Romana, 20 minutes uphill walk to the venue)

Hotel Villa Betania (10 minutes uphill)

Hotel Villa Agape (15 minutes, around the Arcetri research area)

Getting to the meeting from Florence city center

The meeting will be held at the Galileo Galilei Institute for Theoretical Physics, on the premises of the Garbasso building of the Dipartimento di Fisica & Astronomia, Università degli Studi di Firenze.

The building is located in Largo Enrico Fermi 2, Firenze (within the Arcetri research area, a few hundred meters from the Osservatorio Astrofisico).

The easiest way to get to the venue from the city center is by taxi (around 15 minutes from the S. Maria Novella railway station in normal traffic conditions). You can also use public transport from Porta Romana. Bus 38A (timetable) leaves Piazza della Calza (just inside the old gate) towards direction Largo Fermi and stops at the main entrance of the Arcetri research area (bus 38B, direction Pian dei Giullari, takes a different route and you will need to walk more). The bus is small and runs unfrequently, so another option could be bus 11 (timetable) leaving from Calza Romana (around the corner from Piazza della Calza) towards direction Galluzzo-La Gora: you have to get off at Gelsomino-Magalotti and reach the venue on foot (10 minutes, uphill). Bus 11 can be taken also from the railway station.

Check the map here for these and other options.

Traveling to Florence

By car

  • From the A1 (highway) exit at: Firenze Impruneta. Follow directions for downtown Firenze for about 3 km up to a crossroads (it is the fourth crosslight). Turn right along V.le del Poggio Imperiale and then left to reach the Arcetri gate in Largo Enrico Fermi.

By train

  • Get off at Firenze S.Maria Novella railway station. Then follow the directions from the city center given above.

By plane

  • The airport Amerigo Vespucci in Firenze is connected with many European and Italian main cities, and with the two Italian intercontinental airports (Roma and Milano). From the airport you may take a taxi to downtown (20 min.) or to Largo Fermi (30 min.). Otherwise you can get the tram line T2 to the S. Maria Novella railway station (20 min), and follow the directions given above.

  • The airport Galileo Galilei in Pisa is also connected with European and Italian main cities and with the intercontinental airports in Roma and Milano. From Pisa airport you can take the Pisamover shuttle to the Pisa Centrale railway station and then take a train that will get you to the Firenze S. Maria Novella railway station in about one hour.

  • From Bologna Marconi airport you can get a shuttle to the Bologna Centrale railway station from where you will get to Firenze S. Maria Novella in about one hour.

  • From the Roma L. da Vinci airport you can reach by train the "Roma Centrale" railway station from where you can reach Firenze S. Maria Novella in less than two hours by a fast train.

The organizers are committed to making this meeting productive and enjoyable for everyone involved, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, nationality, physical appearance, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion or sexual orientation. 

We adopt the Code of Conduct for the ESO workshops and conferences. Participants are expected to adhere to these guidelines.