The IWCAs and their predecessors, the American Workshops on Cometary Astronomy (four AWCAs were held in the United States between 1982 and 1987), were established by the ICQ as a forum for bringing amateur and professional astronomers together with the goals of (1) improving the acquisition of cometary information, (2) increasing understanding as to what science can be gained through observing comets by both amateurs and professionals, and (3) providing a forum in which cometary astronomers can meet others from distant geographical locations and discuss various issues. This concept was continued for IWCA I (held in February 1994 in Selvino, Italy), IWCA II in Cambridge, England, IWCA III in Paris, and we plan to continue it for future IWCAs.
We held a successful fourth IWCA in Shanghai, China, on 2009 July 23 (Thursday) -- one day after the long total solar eclipse of 2009 July 22. The IWCA IV was be co-hosted by the ICQ, the Chinese Astronomical Society, and the Beijing Planetarium, and the meeting was held at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum.
The Workshop started about 9:30 am and ended around 5:00 pm. A complimentary buffet lunch was provided by the Museum in their lunch area, allowing the participants to talk more with each other. The meeting was conducted in both Chinese and English, with Jin Zhu (Beijing) and DongYan Liu (SoZhou) serving as interpretors. [There had originally been plans to have the IWCA IV in Japan in July 2009, but international interest has unfortunately been too weak to warrant the effort of planning such a meeting.]
The Chinese astronomers established a webpage in Chinese for this Workshop: http://sites.google.com/site/iwcaivsh/Home.
Bernd Brinkmann has posted photos of the IWCA IV at his website. A group photo taken by Dongyan Liu and supplied by Donghua Chen is also available here (unfortunately, not all attendees were able to be present for the group photo at the end of the day).
People who indicated their intention to attend IWCA IV prior to the meeting: Jin Beize (China); Nicolas Biver (France); Bernd Brinkmann (Germany); Donghua Chen (China); Tao Chen (China); John Drummond (New Zealand); Daniel Fischer (Germany); Jim Gifford (Australia); Daniel Green (USA); Werner Hasubick (Germany); Tony Hoffman (USA); Stephen McCann (U.K.); Philippe Morel (France); Alain-Jo Motte (France); Syuichi Nakano (Japan); Edwin van Dijk (Germany); Bill Ward (U.K.); Raja Weissler (France); Jin Zhu (China). A full list of the actual attendees will be provided soon...