A research network’s quest for a new gravitational paradigm.
In the CANTATA COST Action we are aware of the importance of communicating to the general public the activities that motivate our collaborations and the results we achieve. After all it is with their support that our research programmes can be developed. Returning our results to them in an accessible language and format is key for maintaining this cycle working.
But in a complex society like ours, effective scientific communication cannot limit itself to the mere transmission of information. New and more sofisticated strategies must be explored in order to reach the potentially interested target audience. It is with this philosophy in mind that we have produced a short promotional video with fancy 3D animations and dynamical effects that illustrate who we are, what we do, and where we want to reach.
We hope you enjoy the video posted below and encourage you to share it in your favorite social networks and also in your institutions. Let us all together and step by step help reduce the gap between science and society.
A transcript of the voiceover of the video comes next.
Thanks to the European Union’s COST programme, we have assembled an international team of researchers in the field of gravitation: men and women of different academic levels and ages, collaborators who form a team from more than 25 mainly-European countries. Together we explore the most intriguing enigmas of the universe.
Gravity is the force we perceive most naturally in our daily lives since, from our very childhood, we have had to learn to overcome gravity in order to stand and keep ourselves upright. In addition to which, gravitation is the dominant force in our universe. This fundamental scientific cornerstone puzzled such academic giants as Galileo and Newton until Einstein appeared and radically changed the way we understand physics.
Today we are at a crossroads of similar proportions inasmuch as we are now questioning Einstein’s discoveries because there are still so many pieces in the jigsaw that do not fit.
Galaxies, which are ethereal structures formed by gravitation, may be regarded as small lumps in what we physicists call “cosmic soup”. This could be made up of approximately 95% of dark matter and dark energy, both very exotic elements we still do not fully understand. But perhaps these ingredients may not be necessary, and we might well reach a final solution simply by tweaking Einstein’s theory.
On the other hand, gravitation is capable of concentrating matter to almost inconceivable levels. This is what happened during the initial stages of the universe immediately after the so-called “Big Bang”. The same thing, however, also happens inside a black hole. For us to imagine such a level of concentration of matter, it would rather be like our compressing the Earth until it was the size of a peanut: gravitation itself would make it collapse until it was a speck forming a black hole. Explaining such complex phenomena requires a combination of gravity and quantum physics. Though this may not be possible nowadays, part of our work today involves our working together in order to make that dream come true.
Obviously, our progress is not all that far removed from what Nature itself lets us discover and astrophysical observations serve as benchmarks. In this regard, the discovery of gravitational waves has flung a new window wide open onto the universe, with enormous impact on our field of work.
Numerous fundamental discoveries in physics didn’t originally have any application in the day-to-day life of the general public. Let us mention just two important examples of this: the first is medical imaging diagnostics – from a simple X-ray plaque to complex magnetic resonance imagery, physics is the key to the way they work. The second example which is perhaps more related to our project, was the invention of the GPS system, a direct application of gravity.
Having come this far, we can only wonder how the most important agent governing the cosmos will affect our society as we acquire more knowledge about it.
Little more can be said in this respect, but it is easy to imagine that the advances we make along the way will have a tremendous impact on our future.