Who are we ?
Pierre Binétruy is professor at University Paris Diderot and was the director of the AstroParticle and Cosmology (APC) laboratory in Paris from its creation in 2006 till the end of 2013. After a Ph.D. at CERN, he started his career in LAPP, Annecy before joining University Paris 11 as professor in 1990 and University Paris Diderot in 2003. His main interests have shifted from high energy physics, in particular supersymmetry, to cosmology and gravitation and the connection between the early Universe and theories of fundamental interactions. His present interests include inflation models, dark energy and cosmological background of gravitational waves. He is strongly involved in the eLISA mission on gravitational waves, as well as a member of the Euclid consortium.
Pierre Binétruy is a former director of the European research group ”Supersymmetry” (1997-2004), chair of the Fundamental Physics Advisory Group (2008-2010) and of the Fundamental Physics Roadmap Committee (2009-2010) of ESA; he is a present member of the European Space Science Committee (ESF), the Science Program Committee of the SLAC National Laboratory (Stanford, USA) and the International Evaluation Committee (CVI) of INFN.
Pierre Binétruy taught a online course (in French) on gravity Gravité! Du Big Bang aux trous noirs (Gravity! From the Big Bang to Black Holes) on the France Université Numérique (FUN) platform. The English version Gravity! started in October 2015 on the British platform Futurelearn.
George Fitzgerald Smoot
After the discovery of the Cosmic Microwave Background by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, George Smoot concentrated on the question still unsolved in this field: the Universe’s structure at a large scale. Therefore, towards the end of the 1970s, he oriented his studies towards the detection of temperature variations, called anisotropies. He submited the proposal for a cosmology satellite to NASA. On the 18th of November 1989, COBE was launched. After more than two years of observation and studies, the COBE team led by George Smoot, announced the discovery of minuscule fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background, an event immediately praised by the scientific community and that earned George Smoot the 2006 Physics Nobel Price. He tells the story of this adventure in his book “Wrinkles in Time”, published in 1994.
In the last years, George Smoot has been very active in observational cosmology, through his participation in several experiments or projects and many scientific publications. George Smoot was hired as professor of the University Paris Diderot in February 2010.
Gravity! is a on-line course which explains in six weeks to a large public why gravity plays such an important role in the Universe. Concepts such as the expansion of the Universe, the Big Bang, cosmic inflation, dark energy and dark matter, vacuum energy, gravitational waves, black holes are introduced, and their relationship discussed. The course is free and open to all: no science (in particular maths) background is required, only a good dose of curiosity for the mysteries of the Universe.
The course (in English) has started on October 26, 2015 on the Futurelearn platform and registration is open regurarly at FutureLearn.com/courses/gravity
The French version of the course (see here Gravité!) will be accessible on the FUN platform in the spring of 2016.
The Paris Centre for Cosmological Physics
The Paris Centre for Cosmological Physics is a place of educational research and of exchanges related to physics of the Universe. The French capital combines a large share of the French laboratories working on the highest international level in the field of cosmology. In February 2010, George F. Smoot, 2006 Nobel Prize winner, was recruited as professor of the University Paris Diderot. As the founder of the Berkeley Center for Cosmological Physics he saw the opportunity to create a large Parisian center dedicated to cosmology.
Under his direction, the Paris Center for Cosmological Physics is developing a synergy between laboratories, and reinforcing Paris’s appeal in this scientific field whose main purpose is to answer essential questions, like that of the origin of matter, of the structure of space and time. Besides Paris-Diderot University, other major partners are CNRS, University Pierre and Marie Curie and the Paris Observatory. Beyond scientists, the PCCP wishes to address all researchers, teachers and professors, as well as enthusiasts to share this great adventure to the frontiers of knowledge.
The endowment fund Physics of the Universe
The Endowment Fund Physics of the Universe was established in 2010 with the arrival of George SMOOT in Paris to support the activities of the Paris Centre for Cosmological Physics.
The Fund aims to:
– Develop research in physics of the Universe, by funding scholarships master, doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, and by co-financing research projects
– Share scientific knowledge in the field of cosmology and astroparticle, including knowledge diffusion activities among youth, teachers and the general public
– Strengthen ties between artists and researchers.