Astrophysicist Mario Spera is to head the SISSA Research Unit that will form part of the Einstein Telescope Collaboration, which brings together 79 organisations from 13 different countries and was established at the 12th Einstein Telescope Symposium held in Budapest on 7 and 8 June. It is regarded as the fundamental first step for construction of the telescope, which will begin operation between 2030 and 2040.
The Einstein Telescope project of the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) began in 2021 and will create a third-generation observatory for the detection of gravitational waves. Its unprecedented capabilities will allow exploration of far more distant regions of the Universe than those studied so far. This advanced scientific initiative is supported by a number of countries including Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Spain.
Gravitational waves are defined as "ripples" in the fabric of space-time produced by events occurring in the Universe; their existence was predicted by Albert Einstein and first proved by observations made by the LIGO observatory on 14 September 2015 and announced in February 2016. Analysis of these waves is of fundamental importance in studying the Cosmos and in the confirmation and development of old and new astrophysical theories.
The ET-SISSA research group led by Spera has 11 research workers, all affiliated to SISSA, and will work primarily on providing astrophysical predictions and interpretations of observations made by the interferometer.
Spera comments: “Although it will take several years to build the Einstein Telescope, it is vital to start now on developing the astrophysical models that will allow us to predict what it will be able to observe. Our unit in SISSA plays an important role in this task. Our goal is to be ready to reconstruct the astrophysical story of the thousands of gravitational wave sources that the Einstein Telescope will capture.”
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