Exploring the Mysteries of Heaven with Ferdinand Verbiest SJ: Dialogue with China through innovation and science

Monday, October 9, 2023

This event is co-hosted by the Embassy of Belgium, Macau Ricci Institute at the University of Saint Joseph, the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies, and Yale Center Beijing.

Event Time

October 09, 2023 | Monday

04:00 - 07:00 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

October 09, 2023 | Monday

16:00 - 19:00 China Standard Time (CST)

Participation Format

Please join us through ZOOM. Registration is subject to approval. Please email yalecenterbeijing@yale.edu with your full name, organization / school, position / class year, and contact number by 14:00 China Standard Time, October 8. We will notify successful registrants about the ZOOM information of the event.

Please enter the Zoom meeting room 15 minutes before the starting time. When the room is full, latecomers will not be able to access the conference.

The language of the event will be English, with simultaneous translation into Chinese. 

The Event

October 9, 2023, is the 400th centennial of the birth of Ferdinand Verbiest, one of the subjects of late Yale Historian Jonathan D. Spence’s book To Change China. On that day, scholars and luminaries, including the Ambassador of Belgium to China and the Governor of the province of West Flanders in Belgium, will gather at Yale Center Beijing to discuss Verbiest’s life, work, and enduring influence. 

Unable to join the symposium in person? Join us for an exclusive virtual conference and immerse yourself in the remarkable legarcy of Verbiest. Get ready to embark on a captivating journey through the realms of innovation, science, and cultural exchange!


Welcome Address

Carol Li Rafferty

Executive Director, Yale Center Beijing


Opening Remarks

Bruno Angelet

H.E. Ambassador of Belgium


Dialogue with China through innovation and science: Opening Statement

Carl Decaluwé

Governor of the province of West Flanders


Ferdinand Verbiest in the TV series of Chinese court dramas

Li Bingquan

Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China


Verbiest Shaped by the Chinese

Nicolas Standaert

Director, Sinological Institute, KU Leuven


Science, politics and religion: Debates about Verbiest's involvement at the Imperial Astronomical Bureau

Thierry Meynard

Professor of Philosophy, Sun Yat-Sen University Guangzhou


History of evaluation and evaluation of history: The scientific image of Ferdinand Verbiest and the Jesuits in China

Lei Huanjie

Researcher, Institute of Philosophy, China Academy of Social Sciences


A copy of the Celestial Globe by Ferdinand Verbiest: Symbol of friendship and exchange between China and Europe

Jeroom Heyndrickx

Founder and Former Director, Ferdinand Verbiest Institute, KU Leuven


Concluding Remarks

Stephan Rothlin

Director, Macau Ricci Institute, University of Saint Joseph


Arts & Humanities

Public Event