Looking forward to ASPERA-2 Print E-mail

ImageAn interview with Antonio Ferrer, professor at the University of Valencia and leader of the workpackage for outreach & electronic tools within ASPERA-2.

ASPERA is about to enter phase 2. What does this mean in terms of communication?
For ASPERA-2 we want to maintain and improve the status of the ASPERA website. We want to develop new content. In order to do that, we want to set up an outreach network of communicators. We will try to find in the different countries people that are able to create new materials that we can use.
Are you looking for professional journalists or for scientists?

Both! We don’t want to have only physicist profiles. We want to have communicators in a large sense. That could be scientists or journalists and teachers. We will be happy to have professionals of communication, as well as scientific experts.

What about the communication inside the network?

We have another very important objective, that is more technical. It depends more on the European agencies. We would like to create an inventory of all the electronically available project information and tools in the respective national agencies. Ideally we could interface them and provide in some way help for decision-making processes related to the common calls and procedures that we set up in the ASPERA framework. This is a very ambitious project.

How do you feel about the continuation of ASPERA?

ASPERA-1 has been a real success. The title for ASPERA-2 exactly describes what we need to do now: Deepening, enlarging and widening of the network. The scientists have collaborated in an excellent way in ASPERA-1. We have co-operated very positively with all the agencies. We had very nice national meetings where all the people have felt their common interest. But we can do even better!
Antonio Ferrer

Is it important to communicate astroparticle physics to the general public?

Absolutely! In the recent years, I have dedicated part of my time to dissemination of  science. I was responsible of the particle physics committee in Spain, the funding agency of particle physics and astroparticle physics in Spain. At that time I realised that communicating and disseminating science is one of the necessary activities of our work. We have not only to teach to students, but we need and we want to explain to the large public why we are doing this research and what we are looking for. We have to tell them the properties of the universe in which we live, how the Universe develops and what the particles that are coming from the universe are telling us. I think it is absolutely mandatory that we explain clearly to the general public, not only the students, what the objective is for astroparticle physics. In October 2009, with the «European week of astroparticle physics» we are organizing, for the first time the whole astroparticle physics community to meet the general public with events happening all over Europe.


If a student asks you why to follow a career in astroparticle physics, what do you answer?

I would say that there are many missing pieces in our knowledge of the Universe – and that we need the help of future students. Of course, we know a lot, we have nice theories. We have discovered lots of things concerning neutrinos, cosmic rays, we are studying the life-time of the proton, gravitational waves and so on. But it is very difficult to tell to the people that we only know 3% of the Universe in which we live. This is really a very interesting puzzle to be solved by future students. I would ask him or her: Could you please come and help us in order to find those pieces that are still missing in the general knowledge of the Universe?

Good job. I am sure, he or she will apply immediately!

[Laughs] I would be very happy, yes.

 Submitted by Dirk Lorenzen

>> European week of astroparticle physics:  http://europeanweek.astroparticle.org

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