Scientists are gravitating towards Valencia as the city makes leading forays in the field of gravitational wave astronomy.

The Spanish city has been named as host of the 22nd International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation and the Edoardo Amaldi Conference on Gravitational Waves, in July 2019. The combined events are expected to attract some 1,000 specialists to the Valencia Conference Centre for a week of research and debate on topics including gravitational wave astronomy, cosmology, relativistic astrophysics, numerical and mathematical relativity, string theory or quantum gravity.

The conferences draw on a pool of strong local talent in the field, including co-chairs José Antonio Font, professor of the Faculty of Physics of the Universitat de València (UV), and José Navarro, professor at UV and researcher at the Institute of Corpuscular Physics (IFIC). Located at the university’s scientific park, IFIC undertakes leading experimental and theoretical research in the fields of particle physics, nuclear physics, cosmology, astroparticles and medical physics.

Researchers of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Department of Mathematics at UV joined the VIRGO Collaboration for the detection of gravitational waves in July 2016. The Virgo laser interferometer, near Pisa, Italy, is the largest European interferometer detector of gravitational waves – disturbances in the fabric of spacetime caused by violent processes in the universe, such as the collision of black holes.

The conferences will both showcase the existing knowledge in gravitational waves within Valencia and enhance the education and networking opportunities of locals working in the field, at what is a very exciting time, Font says. “The direct detections of gravitational waves by the detectors LIGO and VIRGO are causing real revolution in the knowledge that we have of the universe.”

It is the first time these two meetings will be held in Spain, testament to the country’s increasing participation in the astronomy community of gravitational waves. These forums coincide every six years (the first is held every two years, the other is every three years).

The events will be managed through ADEIT, the University–Business Foundation of UV, which encourages the development of joint activities between the university and business community to support ongoing innovation, assist in the transfer of knowledge, and, as a consequence, enhance economic progress.

To meet this aim, the Valencia Conference Centre and ADEIT have signed an agreement to work together more closely. They plan to attract events to the city which align with Valencia’s knowledge hubs, drawing on professionals linked to the university to boost the bid process.

“The fact of winning this candidacy – prepared with the help of the ADEIT Foundation, the Valencia Convention Bureau program of the Turismo València Foundation and the Valencia Conference Centre – demonstrates the important specific weight that Valencia and Spain have reached in the international panorama in the area of knowledge of gravitation,” notes Font.

(via ICCA and  Universitat de València)


Featured image via NASA