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European research agencies create sustainable entity for astroparticle physics

ASPERA - Brussels – 30 November 2012. European funding agencies for astroparticle physics celebrate today the successful work of the ASPERA European funded network and the launch of the newly founded APPEC, the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium.
 
Over the last six years, ASPERA brought together funding agencies and the physics community to set up coordination for astroparticle physics at the European level. The main achievement of ASPERA is the development of the European strategy for astroparticle physics defining the priority large infrastructures needed to solve some of the deepest mysteries of the Universe. ASPERA also developed activities stimulating the field such as R&D common calls and created closer relationships to Industry and other research fields.
 
APPEC will now take over and aims at developing a European common action plan to fund the upcoming large astroparticle physics infrastructures as defined in the ASPERA Roadmap. 10 countries already joined the new APPEC consortium and 9 additional countries are following the accession process.  APPEC’s activities will be organised through three functional centers located at DESY in Hamburg - Germany, APC laboratory of CNRS/CEA in Paris – France and INFN national underground laboratory in Gran Sasso – Italy.
 
The meeting was the opportunity for the very first General Assembly of APPEC during which Stavros Katsanevas from CNRS – France was elected as its Chairman, and Thomas Berghoefer from DESY – Germany was elected as its General Secretary.
 
“I’m very honored to have been elected to chair the new APPEC consortium. APPEC’s focus will be to enhance European collaboration and coordination in funding to strengthen astroparticle physics in Europe and keep the leading role of Europe in understanding the secrets of the Universe”, Stavros Katsanevas said.
 
“ASPERA was really a great success leading to the new APPEC structure. Implementing our large astroparticle physics infrastructures is a big challenge and it is a very good sign that 10 countries already joined to make a bright future possible.” Thomas Berghoefer said.
 
What is the nature of dark matter and of dark energy? Where do cosmic rays come from? What is the view of the sky at extreme energies? What is the role of neutrinos in cosmic evolution? Can we detect gravitational waves? To answer such kinds of questions, astroparticle physics develops specially designed particle detectors, telescopes and experiments at the frontier of astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology.
 

Website: www.aspera-eu.org


Contact:
ASPERA press officer - CERN
Arnaud Marsollier
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
+41 22 767 37 09
 
Available pictures for press: http://s.aspera-eu.org/PressPictures
 

* Note for editors:
 
APPEC is the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium. It comprises 10 countries represented by their Ministries, funding agencies or their designated institution: Belgium (FWO), Croatia (HRZZ), France (CEA, CNRS), Germany (DESY), Ireland (RIA), Italy (INFN), The Netherlands (FOM), Poland (NCN), Romania (IFIN), UK (STFC).
 
ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission as an ERA­NET. ASPERA comprises currently 23 national funding agencies in 19 countries, and CERN European Organization.


 
European funding agencies push forward large astroparticle physics projects
 

Press release
 
European funding agencies push forward large astroparticle physics projects


Paris - 22 November 2011 - European funding agencies welcomed today the priorities for the future of astroparticle physics defined by the scientific community , and accepted the recommendations included in the newly published update of the European roadmap for astroparticle physics.

This update comes after the first ever European roadmap for astroparticle physics published in 2008 whose main goal was to define the research infrastructures necessary for the development of the field: « the Magnificent Seven » of astroparticle physics. Astroparticle physics aims to investigate on fundamental questions such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, the study the high-energy Universe through new messenger astronomy (high-energy gamma, neutrinos, cosmic rays and gravitational waves) and the behaviour of interactions at the highest energies as revealed by the search of proton decay and the determination of neutrino properties.

"The update of the roadmap provides a better picture of what will come first on the menu" said Christian Spiering, chairman of the ASPERA and ApPEC* Scientific Advisory Committee that produced the roadmap. Funding for each project is still subject to national decision-making processes, and the roadmap recognises that not all funding agencies will necessarily support each project.

The strategy of astroparticle physics reaffirms the needed support for current running experiments and planned upgrades, in particular in the areas of gravitational waves, dark matter search and neutrino property measurement, and to underground and space-based infrastructures. The mid-term planning (2015-2020) for astroparticle physics research includes four large projects to be constructed starting from the middle of this decade.

In the domain of TeV gamma-ray astrophysics the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is clearly the worldwide priority project. CTA is an initiative to build the next generation ground-based very high-energy gamma-ray observatory, combining proven technological feasibility with a guaranteed scientific perspective. Some 800 scientists from 25 countries around the world have already joined forces to build it.

Furthermore, KM3NeT, the next generation high-energy neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean Sea, is in its final stages of technology definition, with prototype deployment expected within the next 2-3 years. KM3NeT is an ESFRI project currently under an EU-funded preparatory phase, having obtained substantial regional funding.

Next is a global next-generation ground-based cosmic ray observatory following the footsteps of the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina and LAGUNA, a megaton-scale project for low energy neutrino physics and astrophysics. LAGUNA will combine the search for fundamental new phenomena in the cosmos with precise measurements of neutrinos from both cosmic and accelerator origins. LAGUNA is at the interface with the CERN European Strategy update to be delivered early 2013. It is currently under an EU-funded design study.

"What is described in the European strategy of astroparticle physics is great science. We look forward to seeing the first of these projects running" said Maurice Bourquin, Chairman of the ApPEC Steering Committee.

On longer time scales, very large infrastructures in the domain of dark energy or gravitational wave detection are considered and will need a global convergence or complementary approaches.

"We know that some of these large projects will need a global approach. It is why we invited our colleagues from other continents to discuss how we can succeed in implementing these infrastructures together" said Hermann-Friedrich Wagner, Chairman of the ASPERA Governing Board.

Astroparticle physics is a rapidly growing field of research, emerging from the convergence of particle physics and astrophysics. In the last decade, three Nobel prizes have been awarded to physicists working in areas close to astroparticle physics, demonstrating the relevance and vitality of this field.


Available pictures for press: http://s.aspera-eu.org/PressPictures

Statement from the European funding agencies: http://s.aspera-eu.org/AsperaAppecStatement

Brochure version of the Roadmap: http://s.aspera-eu.org/StrategyBrochure

Roadmap 2011 edition - full version: http://s.aspera-eu.org/RoadmapFull


Contact :

ASPERA press officer - CERN
Arnaud Marsollier
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
+41 22 767 37 09


* Note for editors:

ApPEC is the Astroparticle Physics European Coordination. It was founded in 2001 when six European scientific agencies took the initiative to coordinate and encourage astroparticle physics in Europe. 11 countries are currently members of ApPEC.

ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission as an ERA-­NET. ASPERA comprises currently 23 national funding agencies in 19 countries, and CERN European Organization.
 


 
PR - 18 October 2011 - Further step in the design of the LAGUNA large neutrino observatory...
 
Laguna neutrino observatory
Press release
 
LAGUNA-LBNO’s design study for a European very large underground neutrino observatory is launched at CERN.

 
 

ASPERA / Geneva, 18 October 2011. The kick-off meeting for the second phase of the LAGUNA’s design study starts today at CERN. The principal goal of LAGUNA (Large Apparatus for Grand Unification and Neutrino Astrophysics) is to assess the feasibility of a new pan-European research infrastructure able to host the next generation, very large volume, deep underground neutrino observatory. The scientific goals of such an observatory combine exciting neutrino astrophysics with research addressing several fundamental questions such as proton decay and the existence of a new source of matter-antimatter asymmetry in Nature, in order to explain why our Universe contains only matter and not equal amounts of matter and antimatter.

 

Underground neutrino detectors based on large, surface-instrumented, liquid volumes have achieved fundamental results in particle and astroparticle physics, and were able to simultaneously collect events from several different cosmic sources. Neutrinos interact only very weakly with matter so they can travel very large distances in space and traverse dense zones of the Universe, thus providing unique information on their sources and an extremely rich physics programme.

 

In order to move forward, a next-generation very large multipurpose underground neutrino observatory of a total mass of around 100 000 to 500 000 tons is needed. This new facility will provide new and unique scientific opportunities, very likely leading to fundamental discoveries and attracting interest from scientists worldwide.

 

This further step newly includes the study of long baseline neutrino beams from CERN accelerators. When coupled to such a neutrino beam, the neutrino observatory will measure with unprecedented sensitivity neutrino flavor oscillation phenomena and possibly unveil the existence of CP violation in the leptonic sector.

 

In addition, the observatory will detect neutrinos as messengers from further distant astrophysical objects as well as from the early universe. In particular, it will sense a large number of neutrinos emitted by exploding galactic and extragalactic type-II supernovae. The neutrino observatory will also allow precision studies of other astrophysical or terrestrial sources of neutrinos, such as solar and atmospheric ones, and will search for new sources of astrophysical neutrinos like, for example, the diffuse neutrino background from relic supernovae, or those produced in hypothetic dark matter particle annihilation in the centre of the Sun or the Earth. Furthermore, it will allow unprecedented search for the proton lifetime with sensitivities up to 1035 years, pursuing the only possible path to directly test physics at the grand unified theory scale.

 

Called LAGUNA-LBNO, this design study is funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme and will last three years. LAGUNA is one of the Magnificent Seven , the large infrastructures included in the European Roadmap for astroparticle physics developed by the ASPERA* European network of funding agencies. There is currently an intense competition worldwide to host the next generation large neutrino observatory. Europe is currently leading deep underground science with a strong expertise in this area, thanks its four long running deep underground laboratories. LAGUNA will provide an important asset for Europeans to keep this leadership in deep underground physics.

 

LAGUNA-LBNO brings together 300 scientists, CERN and 38 other institutions from Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, United-Kingdom and Switzerland. It is coordinated by André Rubbia from ETH Zurich.



LAGUNA website: http://www.laguna-science.eu/

 
Media contact:

Arnaud MARSOLLIER
ASPERA press officer
Tel. +41 22 767 37 09
Mobile: +41 76 487 2789
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
  
 
Note for editors:
ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission, bringing together 19 countries and CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research): http://www.aspera-eu.org

 
PR - 20 May 2011 - Einstein Telescope
 
gravitational wave simulation
Plans Shape Up for a Revolutionary New Observatory to Explore Black Holes and the Big Bang
 
Scientists present their design for Einstein Telescope – Europe’s next-generation detector that will ‘see’ the Universe in gravitational waves.

 
 
Cascina - Italy, 20th of May, 2011. A new era in astronomy will come a step closer when scientists from across Europe present their design study today for an advanced observatory capable of making precision measurements of gravitational waves – minute ripples in the fabric of spacetime – predicted to emanate from cosmic catastrophes such as merging black holes and collapsing stars and supernovae. It also offers the potential to probe the earliest moments of the Universe just after the Big Bang, which are currently inaccessible.

The Einstein Observatory (ET) is a so-called third-generation gravitational-wave (GW) detector, which will be 100 times more sensitive than current instruments. Like the first two generations of GW detectors, it is based on the measurement of tiny changes (far less than the size of an atomic nucleus) in the lengths of two connected arms several kilometres long, caused by a passing gravity wave. Laser beams passing down the arms record their periodic stretching and shrinking as interference patterns in a central photo-detector.

The first generation of these interferometric detectors built a few years ago (GEO600, LIGO, Virgo and TAMA) successfully demonstrated the proof-of-principle and constrained the gravitational wave emission from several sources. The next generation (Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo), which are being constructed now, should make the first direct detection of gravitational waves – for example, from a pair of orbiting black holes or neutron stars spiralling into each other. Such a discovery would herald the new field of GW astronomy. However, these detectors will not be sensitive enough for precise astronomical studies of the GW sources.

“The community of scientists interested in exploring GW phenomena therefore decided to investigate building a new generation of even more sensitive observatories. After a three-year study, involving more than 200 scientists in Europe and across the world, we are pleased to present the design study for the Einstein Telescope, which paves the way for unveiling a hidden side of the Universe,” says Harald Lück, deputy scientific coordinator of the ET Design Study.

The design study, which will be presented at the European Gravitational Observatory site in Pisa, Italy, outlines ET’s scientific targets, the detector layout and technology, as well as the timescale and estimated costs. A superb sensitivity will be achieved by building ET underground, at a depth of about 100 to 200 metres, to reduce the effect of the residual seismic motion. This will enable higher sensitivities to be achieved at low frequencies, between 1 and 100 hertz (Hz). With ET, the entire range of GW frequencies that can be measured on Earth – between about 1 Hz and 10 kHz – should be detected. “An observatory achieving that level of sensitivity will turn GW detection into a routine astronomical tool. ET will lead a scientific revolution”, says Michele Punturo, the scientific coordinator of the design study. An important aim is to provide GW information that complements observational data from telescopes detecting electromagnetic radiation (from radio waves through to gamma-rays) and other instruments detecting high-energy particles from space (astroparticle physics).

A multi-detector
The strategy behind the ET project is to build an observatory that overcomes the limitations of current detector sites by hosting more than one GW detector. It will consist of three nested detectors, each composed of two interferometers with arms 10 kilometres long. One interferometer will detect low-frequency gravitational wave signals (2 to 40 Hz), while the other will detect the high-frequency components. The configuration is designed to allow the observatory to evolve by accommodating successive upgrades or replacement components that can take advantage of future developments in interferometry and also respond to a variety of science objectives.

The European dimension
The European Commission supported the design study within the Seventh Framework Program (FP7-Capacities) by allocating three million Euro.
“With this grant, the European Commission recognized the importance of gravitational wave science as developed in Europe, its value for fundamental and technological research, provided a common framework for the European scientists involved in the gravitational wave search and allowed for a significant step towards the exploration of the Universe with a completely new enquiry instrument”, says Federico Ferrini, director of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) and project coordinator of the design study for the Einstein Telescope.

ET is one of the 'Magnificent Seven' European projects recommended by the ASPERA network for the future development of astroparticle physics in Europe. It would be a crucial European research infrastructure and a fundamental cornerstone in the realisation of the European Research Area.

Further information: http://bit.ly/EinsteinTelescope

Images and movies: http://www.et-gw.eu/etimages


Media contacts:

Arnaud MARSOLLIER
ASPERA press officer and press contact for France
CERN / CNRS
Tel. +41 22 767 37 09
Mobile: +41 76 487 2789
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Press contact for Italy:
Antonella Varaschin
INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
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Uff. +39 066868162
 
Press contact for the Netherlands:
Melissa van der Sande
Nikhef
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Tel: +31 20 592 5075

Press contact for Germany and the UK:
Susanne Milde
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Tel: +49 331 583 93 55
 
 
Note for editors:
ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission, bringing together 17 countries and CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research): http://www.aspera-eu.org

The Einstein Telescope Project (ET) is a joint project of eight European research institutes, under the direction of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO). The participants are EGO, an Italian French consortium located near Pisa (Italy), Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy, the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the German Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) in Hannover, the Universities of Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow in the UK, and the Dutch Nikhef in Amsterdam. Scientists belonging to other institutions in Europe, as well as the US and Japan, actively collaborated in the realisation of this design study.
 
PR - 25 November 2010 - Whales & neutrinos

25 November 2010

Listening to whales with neutrino telescopes

Whales sing at the same wavelength as the neutrinos emitted by stars. This happy coincidence gave physicists the idea to share their undersea telescopes with marine biologists. By helping the development of a bioacoustics network to monitor the deep sea environment, they have already enabled the discovery of the unexpected presence of sperm whales in the Mediterranean Sea. It is even possible to listen to the song of whales live from home with a personal computer connected to the web, thanks to the LIDO platform (Listen to the Deep Ocean) : http://listentothedeep.com/

European astroparticle physicists are developing together KM3NeT, a large undersea neutrino telescope in the Mediterranean, dedicated to tracking neutrinos from astronomical sources. The deployment of deep sea neutrino detection lines for current experiments such as ANTARES in France, Nemo in Italy and Nestor in Greece has opened up the possibility of also installing monitoring devices for the permanent study of the deep sea environment: studies of ocean currents, of bioluminescence, of fauna and of seismic activity.

Astroparticle physics is a new field mixing both particle physics and astrophysics and offering many new opportunities for environmental disciplines such as oceanography, climate science and studies of the atmosphere, geology…

The ASPERA* European network for astroparticle physics and CNRS/IN2P3 invite the media to participate in the workshop « From the Geosphere to the Cosmos » on 1st and 2nd December at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris, where the new synergies and challenges of environmental sciences and astroparticle physics will be presented.

Journalists are very welcome to attend the whole event. A press briefing will be held on the 1st December 16:15 at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris, where the following projects will be presented:

  • LIDO - for listening to the deep sea environment from home over the internet,
  • The CLOUD experiment at CERN, which studies the impact of cosmic rays on clouds and climate,
  • 3D-radiography projects for volcanoes, using particle detectors

Exploring new territories

Astroparticle physics is an excellent example of interdisciplinarity, combining the research and technologies of both particle physics and astrophysics. Over the last few years, new methods for observing the Universe have been devised. With astroparticle physics, it is no longer a question of simply studying the light that comes from the stars. Rather, the very particles emitted by cosmic bodies can be detected and analysed. Cosmic rays and neutrinos have a whole new story to tell about the violent processes underway in black holes and supernovae. Be it tracking dark matter particles in underground laboratories, or fishing for neutrinos in the ocean’s depths, today’s physicists can appear almost like characters from Jules Verne, modern-day explorers of the wonders of our Universe.

By deploying large infrastructures in unusual places, astroparticle physics offers new opportunities for other scientific disciplines for studying the atmosphere, the ocean, biology in extreme conditions…

Developing new technologies

Astroparticle physics also offers a perspective of extremely promising technologies to come. Just as it is possible to image the human body with X-rays, particle physics detectors should soon be able to make three dimensional images of volcanoes and thus help in better understanding their mechanisms and indeed risk prevention. As they interact very weakly with ordinary matter, some particles such as neutrinos and muons cross huge thicknesses of rock, revealing the densities of the different layers they go through. In addition, geoneutrinos could allow for studies of the Earth’s core.

Better understanding of the atmosphere and climate

Cosmic rays are charged particles that bombard the Earth's atmosphere from outer space. The deployment of large cosmic ray experiments such as the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, or indeed satellite-based experiments, helps to continuously and precisely monitor the atmosphere on a large scale. Such experiments offer the possibility to study the role that cosmic rays could play in triggering lightning in thunderstorms. Moreover, studies suggest that cosmic rays might even have an influence on the amount of cloud cover through the formation of aerosols. CLOUD is an experiment at CERN in Geneva that uses a cloud chamber to study the possible link between cosmic rays and cloud formation. The results could greatly modify our understanding of clouds and climate.



Press conference practical details:

Place:
Palais de la Découverte
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt 75008 Paris – France
Access: Metro : Champs Elysées-Clemenceau (Lines 1 & 13) or Franklin-D.-Roosevelt (lines 1 & 9)
Bus lines: 28, 42, 52, 63, 72, 73, 80, 83, 93

Detailed programme of the event: http://bit.ly/agFINp

Pictures available at: http://bit.ly/1oUOnV


To register please contact Christina Cantrel (IN2P3/CNRS):
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it / Tel. +33 1 44 96 47 60

For any interview request, please contact Arnaud Marsollier (ASPERA press officer):
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it /Tel. +41 76 487 2789

Press contact for Italy:
Antonella Varaschin / This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it / Tel. +39 06 68 68 162

Press contact for Greece:
Ino Agrafioti / This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it / Tel. +30 210 6503591



* ASPERA, the AStroParticle European Research Area is a network of European national funding agencies responsible for astroparticle physics. ASPERA is funded by the European Commission, bringing together 17 countries and CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research): www.aspera-eu.org

 
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