A number of 8-10m class telescopes are now in operation, the latest of these, the GTC, is starting to produce scientific data on a routine basis. Meanwhile, the next generation of large telescopes is now on the drawing boards both in Europe and the USA. Also the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the successor to the Hubble Space telescope, is due for launch in 2014. With this panorama in mind, the GTC inauguration offered an ideal occasion for the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) to organise an exchange of ideas on the role of the 8-10 m telescopes when the new generation of giant telescopes and space observatories comes on line. Other topics debated included the professional future of young astronomers confronted with the extremely competitive access to these giant telescopes, and the implications of the scarcity of observing time available to the astronomical community at large.

An elite group of influential astronomers  gathered on the Island of La Palma to discuss the above points, as well as present their views on the future trends of astronomy that will be allowed by the current and the extremely large future facilities, and to join the celebration of the GTC’s Inauguration by H.M. the King of Spain on July 24, 2009.  The talks and conclusions are now available as pdf chapters of the 4 colour book that has been published by the Fundación Ramon Areces.  It is possible to request a copy, while stocks last, by e-mail: cci@iac.es

The conference was organized by the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) with the support of Red de Infraestructuras de Astronomía (RIA), Fundación Ramón Areces and "Encuentros Blas Cabrera", Grupo Banco Santander.