Public talk by the Italian physicist Eugenio Coccia

  • 4.1.2018, 17:15 - 18:15


The Icelandic Academy of Sciences (Vísindafélag Íslendinga), the Icelandic Centre of Excellence in Theoretical Computer Science, the Icelandic Physical Society and Reykjavik University warmly invite you to a public talk by the Italian physicist Eugenio Coccia on the 2017-Nobel-Prize-winning work that led to the discovery of gravitational waves and to its future potential. The talk will be followed by some refreshments. Attendance is free. However, in order to make suitable plans for the refreshments, we should be grateful if you could register for the event by using the Google form at"

Date and time: Thursday, 4 January 2018 at 17:15
Place: Room M101 at Reykjavik University

Title: The dawn of gravitational wave astronomy

Speaker: Prof. Eugenio Coccia, Gran Sasso Science Institute, L'Aquila, Italy


Gravitational waves were predicted 100 years ago by Einstein as ripples in spacetime caused by the acceleration of masses. After more than 50 years of experimental efforts, on September 14, 2015, the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (LIGO) simultaneously observed a transient gravitational-wave signal, opening an entirely new way of experiencing the universe.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne of the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration for their decisive contributions to this observation.

The study of gravitational waves will give unique information on the existence and nature of dark compact objects, like black holes and neutron stars, and on gravitational physics at extreme conditions.  Also, the study of primordial gravitational waves would uniquely allow the investigation of processes in the very early universe.

The status of the field will be reviewed, at the light of the gravitational wave signals detected so far from the mergers of black holes and neutron stars.

Short bio

Prof. Eugenio Coccia is Professor of Physics and Rector of the School of Advanced Studies "Gran Sasso Science Institute" in L'Aquila, Italy. He is a physicist with expertise on gravitational wave experiments and is recognized for the development of cryogenic detectors of gravitational waves. He is a member of the LIGO-Virgo Collaboration and is one of the authors of the discovery of gravitational waves and of the observation of a binary Black Hole merger.
He has been Full Professor at the Università di Roma Tor Vergata (2000-2016), Director of the INFN Gran Sasso Laboratory (2003-2009),  President of the Italian Society of General Relativity and Gravitational Physics (2000-2004), and Chair of the Gravitational Wave International Committee (GWIC) (2011-2015), among other responsibilities.
He is a member of the Academia Europaea, honoris causa, and Fellow of the European Physical Society.
He has given lectures and seminars in Universities and research centers all over the world and is the author of about 300 scientific articles in international journals and editor of six books in the field of astroparticle physics.