Celebratory Event and Press Conference in Garching (Germany) on Monday, September 9, 2002

ESO 40 Years - 1962 - 2002

This autumn, the European Southern Observatory is celebrating its 40th anniversary. From an idea by visionary European astronomers in the 1950s, to the signing of the ESO Convention in 1962 and to its present position as one of the leading research organisations in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, ESO has undergone a tremenduous development during these decades.

In this connection, a Press Conference was organised at the ESO Headquarters in Garching (near Munich, Bavaria, Germany) on Monday, September 9, 2002. It was held in conjunction with the visit of the German Secretary of State, Dr. Uwe Thomas, from the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF, cf. the BMBF Pressemitteilung), together with other distinguished guests, including Consuls General of the ESO member states in Munich and scientist-colleagues from German research institutes.

The comprehensive programme started at 15:30 hrs with a number of official speeches, followed by the world premiere of the ESO film "Europe Reaches towards the Stars - 40 Years ESO". This new EPR production provides a unique overview of the development of our organisation, from the first ideas to the present successes and also with a view towards the future.

After a brief walk through the HQ building, there was a live video connection to Paranal, followed by the presentation of a new book "Geheimnisvolles Universum - Europas Astronomen entschleiern das Weltall" by German science journalist Dirk Lorenzen, published by the Kosmos Verlag on the occasion of ESOs 40th anniversary.

The event terminated at 18:10 hrs after a final session during which representatives of the media posed questions to the participants.