Einstein Telescope

Consortium presents plans for a high-tech observatory for gravity waves

Scientists go underground with Einstein

If it’s up to a consortium of Belgian, German and Dutch universities and research institutions, the coming years will be marked by intensive construction of the Einstein Telescope in Dutch Limburg, 200–300 metres beneath the earth’s crust. With this prestigious international project, scientists hope to monitor gravity waves, which will also be beneficial to the industry.

In the early 20th century, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravity waves – fluctuations in the curvature of spacetime – in his theory of relativity. These gravity waves were observed for the first time in 2015. Two years later, this would result in a Nobel Prize in Physics for the three scientists involved. Since that time, gravity waves have been attracting considerable attention. This has even led to a new area of scientific research: gravitational-wave astronomy.

‘We use telescopes to monitor these gravity waves’, notes Nick van Remortel, a physics professor at the University of Antwerp. ‘In order to view stars, these telescopes should ideally be placed in the most remote locations possible. This is not the case for telescopes that are used to study gravity waves. We therefore need specific infrastructure, including high-tech lasers, with underground tunnels, which can be created even in densely populated areas. The underground character is important in order to suppress natural vibrations, as well as those caused by human activity’.

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Particle Physics Group (EDF)

The Particle Physics Group at the University of Antwerp has a long and outstanding tradition in experimental and phenomenological research concerning particle collisions as conducted by the largest particle accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (Switzerland). Our research focuses on the study of quantumchromodynamics, the search for Higgs boson, the search for extra dimensions of space, the search for sterile neutrinos at the Belgian BR2 reactor and most recently the monitoring of gravity waves with the future Einstein Telescope.

Contact

Particle Physics Group (EDF)
Sarah Van Mierlo
Campus Groenenborger
U.239
Groenenborgerlaan 171
2020 Antwerp
Belgium
Tel. +32 3 265 35 60
sarah.vanmierlo@uantwerp.be