EGO and Virgo at Bright Night, European Researchers Night

Sep 21, 2021

Research takes to the streets of Tuscany’s cities with talks, demonstrations and events. It will happen on Friday 24 September, for the BRIGHT Night European Researchers’ Night, an event – created by the European Commission – which every year offers citizens the chance to meet science and research through the direct protagonists. Here are all the activities organised by EGO and Virgo on the observatory’s website and in the city of Pisa.


  • [At the European Gravitational Observatory – from 14.30 to 17.00].

    Guided tour and meeting “Scientists for a day”

    For the first time since March 2020, the European Gravitational Observatory and the Virgo interferometer open their doors to a guided tour in presence, where the public can explore one of the three gravitational detectors in the world, and discover how Virgo is able to listen to the universe. This will be followed by the “Scientists for a day” workshop linked to the European citizen science project REINFORCE, which involves the active participation of non-scientists in research through activities designed for them. The workshop will present to the public an application, which can be used with a computer or mobile phone, that will allow participants to directly access data from gravitational antennas and contribute first-hand to the recognition of noise and signals!

    To book this activity send an email to


  • [Piazza XX Settembre, 17.00].

    Speech by Valerio Boschi on the “Research Stage”, on the theme “Climate, environment, sustainable economy”.

    In order to reveal the oscillations of space-time, generated millions or even billions of light-years from Earth, Virgo’s physicists have to recognise all the ‘noises’ of human or environmental origin that could cover the faint gravitational signals: seismic vibrations, sounds and disturbances of human origin (aircraft, agricultural or industrial activities), down to the slightest periodic movements of the Earth’s crust and tides. This makes Virgo and its network of sensors a highly sensitive ear listening to the environment, able to help tackle global environmental challenges such as climate change or earthquake monitoring.

  • [Logge dei Banchi, 18.00 to 00.00].

    Stand, “Virgo, listening to the universe and the environment”

    At the EGO and Virgo stand in the Logge dei Banchi, the public will be able to directly experience interferometry, the fundamental principle that enables the detection of gravitational waves, by means of a working model. Young and old will also be able to play

    “The plot of space and time”, an interactive installation in which the visitor, using his or her own body to deform a virtual wall, explores the principles of general relativity and generates gravitational waves with his or her own movements. EGO and Virgo researchers will be available to explain the installations and answer any questions.

  •  [Spazio La Nunziatina, 9.00 pm].

    “Space and the Senses”

    A journey through cosmic sounds and musical notes to discover how we listen to the Universe by EGO – European Gravitational Observatory, with Marica Branchesi, Wanda Diaz Merced, Stavros Katsanevas, Marina Mulopulos and a special contribution by Tomas Saraceno.

    This will be an evening dedicated to the many ways we can explore and listen to the cosmos, as well as the world around us, with two exceptional protagonists of astronomical and gravitational research.

    Marica Branchesi, internationally recognised for her contribution to the birth of so-called multi-messenger astronomy, which aims to study the same cosmic event with signals of a different nature: gravitational waves, electromagnetic signals, cosmic rays…

    Wanda Diaz Merced, a visually impaired astronomer, is considered one of the global leaders in research into the sonification of astronomical signals, i.e. the possibility of transforming astrophysical research data into sound, which opens up new possibilities for interpreting the same data as well as guaranteeing access to blind researchers and citizens.


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