1st Doha International Astronomy Conference: “Gravitational Microlensing – 101 years from theory to practice”
1st Doha International Astronomy Conference: “Gravitational Microlensing – 101 years from theory to practice” – 2013 marks the 101st anniversary of Einstein’s notebook entry in which he first discussed the transient brightening of an observed distant star caused by the bending of light due to the gravitational field of an intervening foreground star – a phenomenon now commonly known as ‘gravitational microlensing’. Still in 1936, Einstein concluded that there is ‘no great chance’ for observing it, and it was not before 1993 that the first detection of a microlensing event was reported. Since then, microlensing observations have evolved into a powerful astrophysical tool for studying various different objects that are inaccesible by other means. Applications prominently include the observational study of stellar atmospheres, baryonic dark matter, the structure and kinematics of the Milky Way and other nearby galaxies, the low-mass end of the stellar mass function and the substellar mass function, the frequency of stellar binaries, compact objects (white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes), and finally extra-solar planets.