Gravitational Waves and cosmic sounds during the summer around Pisa

Jul 15, 2022

A series of events about science, art and the cosmos organised and promoted by the European Gravitational Observatory, with the support of the Municipality of Cascina and the Municipality of Lajatico, will light up this year’s summer around Pisa: shows and talks to spark your fascination about the wonders of the universe and meet the researchers who study it.

The first event will be held in Cascina (PI), in the courtyard of the Banca di Pescia e Cascina, on Friday July 15th at 9.15 PM, with Virgo researchers Pia Astone (La Sapienza University Rome and Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics), Julia Casanueva (European Gravitational Observatory – EGO) and Eleonora Capocasa (APC – Sorbonne Paris Cité). In the setting of “Metti una sera a Cascina” they will tell us about their path as scientists, what it means to be “listening to the Cosmos”, how the Virgo interferometer works, and much more.

On July 19th we meet in Lajatico (PI), in Piazza Vittorio Veneto at 9 PM for the event “Il suono dell’Universo – Dialogo sotto le stelle tra onde gravitazionali e suoni cosmici” (The sound of the Universe – Dialogue under the stars between gravitational waves and cosmic sounds). Stimulated by the engaging curiosity of Patrizio Roversi and accompanied by the sound design of Massimo Magrini, EGO director Stavros Katsanevas and Wanda Diaz Merced, world leader in the sonification of astronomical data, will lead us to listen to the Cosmos. And they will explain why we are increasingly able to listen to, as well as observe, the Cosmos, thanks to extraordinary gravitational antennas such as Virgo, which pick up signals generated by black holes or stars billions of light years from Earth. Event organized in collaboration with the European Reinforce project.

Cascina will again be the venue for EGO’s third summer event: the performance, for two voices and a pencil, “Le Mappe del Cosmo” (Maps of the Cosmos), which will be staged on 4 August in the courtyard of Cascina’s Municipal Library. With Diana Hobel, Marco Sgarbi and the drawings of Gabriele Peddes the show will introduce you to the stories of scientists who revolutionised our vision of the universe, from the Big Bang to the discovery of pulsars, up to the detection of gravitational waves.

The last event will be in the last week of September in Pisa in the garden of the Nunziatina for another contamination of languages and dialogue between art and science under construction.

Event posters and images can be downloaded here:

Guests Bios

Wanda Diaz Merced is an astronomer who, after losing her sight at the age of 20, embarked on a research path aimed at the sonification of astronomical data, i.e. turning visible signals, as well as invisible ones such as X-rays or gamma rays or gravitational waves, into sounds. Today, she is a world leader in this field of research and works at the European Gravitational Observatory in Cascina. She was included in the list of the 7 most innovative women in contemporary science by the BBC and has received numerous awards for her work internationally. 

Stavros Katsanevas is a physicist and professor at the Université Paris Citè in Paris and the director of the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) in Cascina, the international centre that hosts Virgo. He is one of the fathers in Europe of the so-called Astroparticle Physics, a field of research that has inaugurated a new way of studying the Cosmos, thanks to the detection of new cosmic signals: such as cosmic rays, gamma rays or neutrinos… He is one of the promoters of a space research project, which aims to build a gravitational wave detector on the Moon.  He has also dedicated himself for many years to research and communication between science and art, collaborating with important contemporary artists such as Tomas Saraceno and Liliane Lijn. 

Pia Astone: researcher in experimental physics at the Rome Unit of the INFN. She started working in the field of gravitational waves (GW). She started her career on data at Explorer (CERN) and Nautilus (LNF). She was particularly involved in the analysis of gravitational wave data revealed by the LIGO and Virgo interferometers. She was among the researchers on the ‘paper writing team’ responsible for writing the first scientific paper, which – in February 2016 – announced the discovery of gravitational waves. She currently leads the Virgo group at the Sapienza University of Rome and has also always been intensively involved in dissemination and communication to the general public. 

Julia Casanueva: she studied physics at the ‘Universidad de Cantabria’, in Spain, and then moved to Paris for her master’s degree. There she began her PhD at the ‘Laboratoire de l’Accelerateur Lineaire’ in the commissioning of the Advanced Virgo gravitational wave detector, which she finished in 2017. Since then, she has been working at the European Gravitational Observatory, focusing on the design and implementation of the various upgrades needed to improve the detector’s sensitivity.

Eleonora Capocasa studied physics at the University of Pisa and then did a doctoral thesis at Paris Diderot University on the Virgo gravitational wave detector. She then worked in Japan on the commissioning of the Japanese KAGRA detector. Since 2020 she has been a researcher at the Laboratoire AstroParticule et Cosmologie (APC) in Paris and contributes to the instrumental development of Virgo by spending long periods at the EGO site in Cascina. 

Massimo Magrini, computer scientist, electronic musician and interaction designer has collaborated for a long time with the Computer Art Lab, part of SILab, Signal and Images Laboratory of the ISTI Institute of the National Research Council, where he is currently working. Since 2017, he has been teaching Interaction Design at the “Alma Artis” Academy of Fine Arts in Pisa. He has been active for years as an electronic musician with various projects (Bad Sector, Olhon, Derma etc.). In particular, As Bad Sector has released around 20 albums and performed live throughout Europe.


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