ESA Fundamental Physics Day at Coimbra University, Portugal
26 April 2001For the first time since Portugal became the 15th ESA member state, a delegation of the Scientific Programmes Directorate, led by the Director, Roger Bonnet, met members of the Portuguese scientific community to present ESA's future activities and to explore the possibility of involvement of the Portuguese scientific and industrial communities. The meeting, held on 18 April at Coimbra University, focused specifically on the field of fundamental physics. It prepares the ground for a forthcoming session in Lisbon on 3 May, which will be targeted more to the industrial community.
Prof. Roger Bonnet opened the meeting with a general introduction to the European Space Agency and its scientific programme. ESA scientists then explained the Agency's fundamental physics programme.
There was particular emphasis on the LISA mission, which aims to detect gravitational waves. Although their existence was predicted early last century by Albert Einstein, gravitational waves have yet to be detected directly.
The LISA Study Manager, Alberto Gianolio, illustrated the LISA 'roadmap', which starts with technology development activities, which have recently been initiated or which are already underway, continues with the SMART-2 technology demonstration project, and finishes with the LISA project.
In the afternoon, the floor was given to Portuguese scientists who presented their own work in the field of gravitational physics. A large number of science students also attended the meeting.