Over this week Warsaw is the centre of attention for all physicists involved in gravity. Nearly 900 scientists are participating to the XX International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation (GR20), being held in conjunction with the 10th Edoardo Amaldi Conference on Gravitational Waves (Amaldi10).
International Conferences on General Relativity and Gravitation are held every three years under the auspices of the International Association of the Theory of Relativity and Gravitation. This year, the twentieth conference is being held together with the biennial Edoardo Amaldi Conference on Gravitational Waves organised by the International Gravitational Waves Committee. The Polish organizers of the GR20/Amaldi10 conference are the University of Warsaw and the Polish Society on Relativity. The patrons of the conference are the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Rector of the University of Warsaw.
Yesterday, the Conference was opened by Professor Jerzy Lewandowski, President of the Polish Society on Relativity, Professor Michał Kleiber, President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Professor Malcolm MacCallum, President of the International Association of Relativity and Gravitation, and Professor Eugenio Coccia, president of the International Committee on Gravitational Waves. The conference will run until July 13.
“The combined GR20/Amaldi10 conference is an unprecedented event, which has attracted close to 900 researchers in various theories of gravity, gravity waves and related astrophysical issues to Warsaw. Over the next week we will see major physicists from nearly 50 countries around the world,” says Professor Jerzy Lewandowski (FUW), Chairman of the Organizing Committee. Every day the GR20/Amaldi10 conference programme includes a morning session consisting of consecutive hour-long lectures by eminent scientists, and a number of parallel afternoon sessions, consisting of many 15-minute presentations.
During the conference, physicists plan to discuss string theory and loop quantum gravity, the properties of gravitational waves, current and future gravitational wave detectors, and the latest measurements of the cosmic microwave background. Topics of astrophysical discussion will include binary systems of neutron and strange stars, stellar collisions, the formation of supermassive black holes in galactic nuclei, the processes by which black holes combine, and their interaction with dark matter.
The researchers will be looking for answers to many intriguing questions. What is the geometry of the Universe? What is the structure of the cosmic vacuum? Are the effects of gravity and those observed during acceleration definitely the same? Is it possible to build a gravitational wave observatory the size of a galaxy? Is it possible to observe gravitational waves associated with gamma-ray bursts? How big is the population of black holes near the galactic nucleus? The topics discussed at the conference will also include some speculative issues, such as tunnelling through the event horizons of black holes in higher dimensional space-time, the formation of wormholes and the study of their properties, and even the formation of baby universes. At the conference, Professor Carlo Rovelli, a prominent expert in the field of loop quantum gravity, will deliver a public lecture – the “Quanta of Space” – on July 9 at 20:30. The lecture, in English, will be held in the Auditorium Maximum of the University of Warsaw at 26/28 Krakowskie Przedmieście.
The International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation is being hosted in Poland for the second time. More than half a century ago, in July 1962, the third conference of its kind took place in Warsaw and Jabłonna. It was then organized by the prominent Polish physicist Leopold Infeld, a colleague of Albert Einstein’s. Guests of the conference included such physicists as Paul Dirac, Richard Feynman and John Archibald Wheeler.
“The conference in Jabłonna was a milestone for research in the field of quantum gravity, gravitational waves, astrophysics and mathematical methods in the theory of relativity. We very much hope that the present conference will be equally significant for the development of the world of physics and the consolidation and expansion of environmental Polish relativistic physics,” concludes Professor Lewandowski.
A detailed description of the GR20/Amaldi10 Conference can be found online at: