The year 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of the creation of IRAM. The institute was founded in 1979 by the French CNRS, the German MPG and the Spanish IGN - initially an associate member, becoming a full member in 1990. The story of IRAM represents a trailblazing European scientific and technical partnership that has set standards in millimeter radio astronomy.
Both of IRAM's observatories, the 30-meter telescope and the interferometer on the Plateau de Bure, are prime facilities for radio astronomy and the most powerful observatories today operating at millimeter wavelengths. The institute is also a worldwide leader in technical expertise related to high frequency technology, from ultra-sensitive super-conducting detectors to complex receiver systems, high-speed digital electronics and advanced data reduction software. Providing manufacture and supply devices to other radio astronomy centers, IRAM has highly valued partnerships with space agencies and is a major partner in the ALMA project.
Over the last 30 years, the IRAM telescopes have been at the origin of a large number of spectacular results. The goal of the conference 'To the Edge of the Universe: 30 years of IRAM' is to review the main results, obtained with the IRAM telescopes, from cosmology to the solar system and to present the technical developments that enabled these observations. The impact of these advances on millimeter and sub-millimeter astronomy will be discussed and future plans for upgrading the IRAM telescopes will be outlined.
The celebration of IRAM's 30 years will be an opportunity to discuss new scientific horizons that will be opened by the next generation of radio telescopes and to explore the role that IRAM will continue to play in this new and fast evolving landscape.