The exploration of dust and molecules in the universe has made great leaps forward in the past decades. This one–day symposium is organized on the occasion of Karl Menten's 60th birthday later this year. We will review the recent evolution of this field. Invited talks will cover subjects such as research into high–mass star formation, astrophysical masers, evolved stars, circumstellar envelopes, the Galactic Center, spectroscopy, as well as astrochemistry and star formation at cosmological distances.
By learning from the past we wish to chart possible paths research might take in the next few decades. This meeting will therefore provide ample time for scientific discussions in an informal setting.