Thursday, September 19, 2013

Join ESA for European Researchers' Night

European Researchers Night 2010 at ESA ESRIN Frascati. Credit: ESA

CERN, ESA, ESO and UNESCO in partnership with the Italian Institute of Astrophysics invite the public to Origins 2013, an exceptional event taking place simultaneously in Geneva, Paris and Bologna on European Researchers’ Night, 27 September. People around the world are invited to follow the event live through a webcast to celebrate the achievements of particle physics and astrophysics. Together, these research areas address fundamental questions linked to our origins, from the origin of matter to the origin of the Universe itself.

Major scientific breakthroughs have been made in these fields in just the last year. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider discovered a Higgs boson – one of the most fundamental particles of our Universe, predicted only by theory until now – while ESA’s Planck space telescope produced the most precise picture of the cosmic microwave background, the relic radiation from the Big Bang.

Meanwhile, the ground-based Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) was inaugurated in Chile and is already providing unprecedented views of the cosmos.

Origins 2013 will showcase these fascinating scientific endeavours and more, highlighting the strong link between the subatomic world accessed only by particle physics to the unimaginably large Universe studied by astrophysicists. 

European researchers working in these exciting fields will share their passion with the general public at three dedicated events held simultaneously at CERN in Geneva, UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and in the city centre of Bologna.

Guest speakers at the Paris event include Francois Englert, one of the theorists who predicted the Higgs particle, and François Bouchet, deputy principal investigator for Planck’s HFI instrument. In Geneva, Nobel Laureate Sam Ting, Principal Investigator for the AMS-02 cosmic ray detector on the International Space Station, will join Fabiola Gianotti and Joe Incandela, the two physicists leading the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the moment of the Higgs discovery announcement. Giovanni Fabrizio Bignami, the president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, will take to the stage in Bologna, together with Fernando Ferroni, INFN president and Marco Bersanelli, Deputy Principal Investigator for Planck’s LFI instrument.

Visitors will be taken on a journey back in time, to learn more about the origins of the Universe from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Guests at all three locations will also be able to register to meet the researchers through face-to-face ‘speed dating’ discussions.

“Origins 2013 gives us the chance to celebrate the achievements of European scientists who are changing our view of the Universe, and to share our excitement with a wider audience,” said Mark McCaughrean, Head of the Research and Scientific Support Department of ESA, who will open the CERN event on Friday with Sergio Bertolucci, CERN’s director for research, in a video conference connection with Paris, with Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences and Fernando Doblas, Head of ESA’s Communications Department will open the event at UNESCO.

Videoconferences will link the three European cities to ESA’s Planck’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, with Nazzareno Mandolesi, Principal Investigator for Planck’s LFI instrument, and to remote venues, such as ESO’s ALMA telescope site in Chile, to the Large Hadron Collider tunnel, 100 m underground, and to Luca Parmitano, ESA’s astronaut on the International Space Station.

Many researchers from partner institutes will also join the local and Internet audiences during the live webcast.

Participation in the speed-dating and live webcast at CERN is by reservation via the Origins website.

Credit: ESA

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