1,000 visitors for EGO and Virgo Open Day!

May 29, 2024

All day last Friday, the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) in Cascina welcomed almost 1,000 visitors for the research centre’s first big Open Day since the pandemic started. Workshops, games, shows and activities for the whole family to discover gravitational waves and Virgo, the only observatory in Europe capable of listening to them.

A great festival dedicated to curiosity for science and fun education for young and old, which, in addition to guided tours of the experiment, people could find interactive workshops on the most compelling and exciting aspects of gravitational wave research. Dozens of researchers and technicians from EGO and Virgo devised and conducted workshops and guided tours, opening the doors of their workspaces to the public and finding fun and interactive ways to talk about what they do on a daily basis. A special encounter between the general public and frontier science that enriched both parties.

“This Open Day once again highlighted the liveliness of EGO and our entire research community,” said Massimo Carpinelli, Director of EGO. “The extraordinarily numerous, interested, and attentive public joyfully invaded us, showing an interest and appreciation for EGO and Virgo that, I believe, few research centres in Europe can boast. A very special thank you goes to those who, until late in the evening, welcomed visitors, led tours and conducted workshops, with a passion that, alone, tells the public what the world of research is all about.”

Considering the delicate data-taking period of the experiment, the preparation of the Open Day was particularly complex, requiring the collaboration of researchers in the experiment’s control room in defining the areas and methods of public access. The flow of people was naturally managed in shifts with limited capacity. The effort was repaid by the result, as the success of the Open Day in no way interfered with the scientific activity, which continued without a hitch!

Visitors discovered how Virgo scientists hunt down ‘noises’ that might disturb gravitational waves and played with the experiment’s ‘ultra-high vacuum’ in a dedicated laboratory. Children built ‘Coloured Circuits’ and played at making a ‘Human Interferometer’ by mimicking the different components of the interferometer to the rhythm of music.

Then, during the evening, EGO and Virgo hosted a spectacular live performance of ‘ORA – I limiti del pianeta’, a show for videomapping, original music and sounds by Imaginarium, the Tuscan visual arts studio directed by Davide Giannoni and Francesca Pasquinucci, realised with the scientific contributions of ESA European Space Agency, ASI Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, EGO European Gravitational Observatory and INGV Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. Following this, expert astrophiles from the Associazione Cascinese Astrofili (ACA) guided visitors in observing the night sky.

The Open Day was a special occasion, which we hope will become a tradition again, but if you missed it EGO and Virgo continue to be open for guided tours every Tuesday and Saturday morning. For info and bookings: https://www.ego-gw.it/visite-guidate/ 



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