November 25 : celebrating 100 years of general relativity with some leading experts in the field

Pierre Binétruy and George Smoot invite you to participate to the hangout that celebrates November 25, 1915, the date where Albert Einstein delivered the last of a series of 4 ground-breaking articles presenting general relativity. This celebration will be broadcasted live from the historical Observatoire de Paris, starting at 17 :00 GMT.


The Google Hangout will be streamed live on Google Hangouts and Youtube for approximately 60 minutes, where you can follow the questions and answers live.


Our guests for this event will be:


Roger Blandford, a native of England, held a faculty position at Caltech since 1976 when, in 2003, he moved to Stanford University to become the first Director of the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. He is an internationally recognized expert in black hole astrophysics, cosmology, gravitational lensing, cosmic ray physics and compact stars.


karstenKarsten Danzmann is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Hannover and Director of the Institute for Gravitational Physics at the Leibniz Universität Hannover. He is leading the eLISA consortium preparing the future gravitational wave observatory of the European Space Agency.



Gaby1Gabriela Gonzalez is a professor in the physics and astronomy department at Louisiana State University (LSU). She is working in the nearby Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana and she has been the spokesperson of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2011. If you want to know more about Gabriela, see here.



Thomas Hertog is an internationally renowned theoretical cosmologist and a close collaborator of Stephen Hawking. He is now professor at KULeuven, Belgium, where he leads a team that works around the interface of string theory and cosmology.



Google hangout with George Smoot and Pierre Binétruy

Nobel prize winner George Smoot and lead educator Pierre Binétruy will be answering your questions on Thursday November 19 at 17:00 GMT for an hour!

This will be the first of three exciting Google Hangouts being offered on the course Gravity!

Ask your questions!

Whether you follow the course or you are just interested by the physics of the Universe, you will have the opportunity to ask us your questions on general aspects of gravity, but also to interview George on his discovery of the fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background, through a live event called Google+ Hangouts on Air.

This Google Hangout will be streamed live on YouTube and Google+ Hangouts for approximately 60 minutes, where you can follow the questions and answers live.

We encourage you to ask your questions and we’ll select the most popular ones to answer during the Hangout.

There are several ways you can do this:

  • You will be able to send questions and comments before and during the event by submitting them in the Google Hangout Q&A chat window (if you have a Google account).
  • You can send us questions to our Twitter account @Gravity_Paris
  • If you already follow the course Gravity!, you may leave your questions in the discussion of step 3.11.

It is not too late to follow the online course Gravity of FutureLearn. You may register until December 6, but the sooner, the better! After this date, the course will only be accessible to the registered learners. 

GRAVITY, the art show

Scorgo_webA 3 day festival and an exhibition are organized in London by the Kinetica Museum in partnership with the Paris Centre for Cosmological Physics. They coincide with the launch of the online course Gravity! From the Big Bang to Black Holes and include presentations and a panel discussion on the future of art, with eminent artists and thinkers and the participation of George Smoot and Pierre Binétruy.

Hospital Club Oct.14th – Dec.14th 2015

70,000 registered students for the online course Gravity!

Already 70 000 registered students! A great success for the first English-speaking online course (MOOC) of Paris Diderot University on the mysteries of gravity: Big Bang, black holes, expansion of the universe …

Classes start on Monday 26 but learners can join until December 6, 2015 on the social learning platform FutureLearn,  the first UK-based provider of massive, open online courses.

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive of FutureLearn said: “I am delighted that Paris Diderot’s first course on FutureLearn has captivated such a large international audience. With nearly 70,000 learners, Gravity! is FutureLearn’s biggest science course to date. It’s my hope that we can continue enable more  French institutions to reach our global community of learners.”

Gravity! is for all those curious about the mysteries of the Universe and invites them to understand, without any prerequisite in physics, the foundations of Einstein’s theory that makes gravity “the engine of the Universe”

The course is free and registration is open to everyone.


See French press release about the success of Mooc Gravity!

Registration to the course Gravity! on Futurelearn begins!

Register to the course Gravity on Futurelearn!


About the course

What is gravity? This fundamental force is the common theme between concepts as intriguing as the Big Bang, black holes, dark energy, space-time, gravitational waves and the expansion of the Universe.If these concepts pique your interest, this free online course is for you. It doesn’t require any background in physics or mathematics, just a simple curiosity about the Universe and our place in it.

Mark the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of relativity

The theory of gravity, Einstein’s theory of relativity, was published exactly 100 years ago. This course presents in a simple manner the main ideas behind this theory, before explaining why “gravity is the engine of the Universe.”

The basic notions are then introduced to understand why the Universe is in expansion. We’ll find out:

• why the further you look, the more distant in the past you look;
• how we can tell what happened just after the Big Bang;
• what are the dark components of the Universe;
• why are we so impatiently expecting the discovery of gravitational waves;
• and what happens when you cross the horizon of a black hole.

Learn with experts including a Nobel Prize-winning physicist

Over six weeks, you’ll learn with Pierre Binétruy, the Director of the Paris Centre for Cosmological Physics at Paris Diderot University, as well as the cosmologist, George Smoot, who will explain the discovery that earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006.

The success certificates for the French version of the MOOC Gravité! are now being delivered. Congratulations to all!

The final numbers are now available from the FUN platform: 5675 registered learners, and 1291 certificates of success delivered, that is 23%. If one compares with those who completed the first week (2364), the success rate raises to 55%. An amazing number when one realizes that, in a typical MOOC, it is expected that only 10% learners get to the end. Congratulations to all for their participation!

See the page of the french MOOC Gravité!

ESA invites the international press for a last glimpse at the LISAPathfinder satellite before its voyage to Kourou

Slated for launch by Vega in November, ESA’s gravitational-wave detection technology demonstrator is ready to begin launch preparations in September at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Members of the media are invited to join ESA and Airbus Defence and Space at IABG’s space test centre in Ottobrunn, near Munich, Germany, to get a final glimpse of LISA Pathfinder before it departs to the launch site.

LISA Pathfinder will help to open up a completely new observational window into the gravitational Universe, proving new technologies needed to measure gravitational waves in space. Predicted by Albert Einstein, these waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime and are produced by massive celestial bodies. Understanding their signature will tell scientists a lot about black holes, compact double stars and other exotic objects.

Members of the media are invited to join ESA’s, Airbus DS and relevant LISA Pathfinder scientists and partners on Tuesday, 1 September from 11:00 CEST, at the IABG space test centre in Ottobrunn near Munich, Germany.

To suscribe and know more, see this page :


ESA press release: LISAPathfinder prepares for final exams

The summer is coming and that means students across Europe are sitting their final tests. ESA’s LISAPathfinder, a technology demonstrator that will pave the way for space-based gravitational wave observaotires, is no different. It is currently in the test centre at IABG, Ottobrunn, Germany. …

Read the ESA Press release

 The LISA Pathfinder science module pictured in a cleanroom at IABG, Ottobrunn, Germany, in June 2015. One of two (gold coloured) colloidal micro-Newton thrusters, part of the NASA provided Space Technology 7 mission, can be seen on the side of the spacecraft.

The LISA Pathfinder science module pictured in a cleanroom at IABG, Ottobrunn, Germany, in June 2015. One of two (gold coloured) colloidal micro-Newton thrusters, part of the NASA provided Space Technology 7 mission, can be seen on the side of the spacecraft. © ESA – P. McNamara


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