Science on the Sphere

Science on the Sphere 

A Royal Society International Scientific Seminar 

14th and 15th July 2014, Chicheley Hall

This webpage is dedicated to the organisation of the Science on the Sphere meeting, to be held at the Royal Society Chicheley Hall on 14th and 15th July 2014.

Synopsis of the Meeting:

Scientific observations are made on spherical geometries in a diverse range of fields, where it is critical to accurately account for the underlying geometry where data live. In cosmology, for example, observations are inherently made on the celestial sphere. If distance information is also available, for example as in galaxy surveys, then the sphere is augmented with the radial line, giving three dimensional data defined on the ball. Future galaxy surveys will provide data of unprecedented detail; to fully exploit such data, three-dimensional analyses that faithfully capture the underlying geometry will be essential to determine the nature of dark energy and dark matter. On stellar scales new experiments are allowing the internal structure of distant stars, and our own Sun, to be analysed for the first time. At home, on Earth, our planet is being imaged and mapped in its entirety; an increasingly important endeavour as we face global challenges. On an individual level medical imaging, and also the computer gaming and special effects industries, require spherical analysis techniques in order develop efficient algorithms. All of these areas share common problems; this seminar series will bring together experts from across these fields to share common solutions and to create new ideas in the collaborative environment of the Royal Society.

Outcomes of the Meeting:

A diverse range of fields, from cosmology and astronomy, to stellar and geophysics, to medial imaging and computer graphics, share common data analysis challenges. In all of these fields, data are observed on spherical geometries; the subsequent analysis of such data must accurately account for their underlying geometry in order to draw meaningful scientific conclusions. Indeed, the field of principled data analysis on spherical geometries is a field in itself. However, all of these fields are largely disjoint at present. The goal of this multi-disciplinary seminar series is to bring together researchers from these fields in order to address their common data analysis challenges. Seminars will be organized to introduce the assembled experts to new fields, and to the topical spherical data analysis challenges faced in these fields, where it is envisaged that insights from one field will have wide-reaching implications in other fields. By fostering contact between these diverse communities and promoting interdisciplinary collaborations, a coherent and principled approach to the analysis of data observed on spherical geometries will gain wide-spread traction, potentially leading to new and robust scientific findings in a wide range of fields.

Invited Participants:

Alan Heavens Imperial
Andrew Jaffe Imperial
Ben Wandelt IAP
Bill Chaplin Birmingham
Boris Leistedt UCL
Chris Doran Geomerics
Domenico Marinucci Rome
Farhan Feroz Cambridge
Francois Lanusse CEA Saclay
Frederik Simons Princeton
Hiranya Peiris UCL
Jason McEwen UCL
Mike Hobson Cambridge
Pierre Vandergheynst EPFL
Richard Shaw CITA
Rod Kennedy ANU
Tom Kitching UCL
Yves Wiaux Heriot Watt
Yvonne Elsworth Birmingham

Local and Travel Information

The Royal Society provide local information here (

More information on the venue is available here (


Day 1

  • 0730 – 0830 : Breakfast

Day 2

  • 0730 – 0830 : Breakfast
  • Discussions and the Way Forward
  • 1600 – 1700 : Dr Jason McEwen (UCL), Dr Thomas Kitching (UCL)

This meeting is funded by the Royal Society International Scientific Seminar Scheme  

This meeting is organised by: Dr Thomas Kitching and Dr Jason McEwen