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CERN and ESA Examine Future Fundamental Physics Research in Space

Geneva, 4 April 2000. A special workshop on Fundamental Physics in Space and related topics will be held at CERN1 in Geneva from 5 to 7 April 2000. Remarkable advances in technology and progress made in reliability and cost effectiveness of European space missions in recent years have opened up exciting new directions for such research. The workshop provides a forum for sharing expertise gained in high energy physics research with colleagues working in research in space.

Recent advances in accelerator based research will find promising applications in space research. In particular research and development carried out for the detectors for CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have generated advances which have particular application in ESA's research programmes. LHC computing, for example, represents a tremendous technical challenge with demands for processor power, storage and networking at least two orders of magnitude more than can be handled today. At the workshop CERN will share its experience in a session focussing on data acquisition and data handling challenges. Other sessions on subjects such as, radiation hardened electronics, silicon detectors, cryogenic detectors will point out space research applications of high energy physics developments. The workshop will also allow presentation of results from research in particle and astroparticle physics on subjects relevant to future space research programmes.

The workshop is organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and was initiated by the Board of the Joint Astrophysics Division of the European Physical Society and the European Astronomical Society. It is one of the concrete results of the decision in May 1998 by ESA and CERN Directors-General to create Working Groups to study and propose systematic joint activities. (PR01.98)

The programme of the workshop is divided in two parts. On 5-6 April there are specialized parallel sessions to review and discuss new developments in cosmology and astroparticle physics in the context of space technology possibilities. One such subject is LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), an approved project at ESA, which will detect and observe gravitational waves from galactic and cosmological sources in a highly promising wave-band. The detection and measurement of gravitational waves will open an entirely new window on the Universe. The LISA mission may be launched by the end of this decade as joint venture between the European and US agencies.

On 7 April, Luciano Maiani and Antonio Rodotà, Directors-General of CERN and ESA, will open a one-day symposium addressed to a wide scientific audience, to examine the perspectives for fundamental physics in space. The talks, which will summarize the outcomes of the parallel sessions, will focus on gravitation, astroparticle physics and the enabling technologies. For full information you can access the following web site.

1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.