Thursday, 11 February 2016, 4:20 pm (Paris time)
CNRS headquarters: 3 rue Michel-Ange, Paris 16e, France

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s first publication of the general theory of relativity foreseeing the existence of gravitational waves. To celebrate this anniversary, the researchers have decided to highlight the VIRGO and LIGO collaborative effort to observe gravitational waves.

Located near Pisa (Italy), VIRGO is a gravitational wave detector developed by the CNRS and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). The VIRGO collaboration involves more than 250 physicists, engineers and technicians from 19 laboratories across five European countries (The Netherlands, Hungary and Poland in addition to France and Italy). VIRGO works closely with the LIGO researchers to operate their instruments. These include the LIGO dual detectors, similar to VIRGO, which are based in the US (in Washington State and Louisiana).

Compulsory registration with Véronique Etienne ( or Priscilla Dacher ( Please indicate your name, surname, name of media, telephone, mobile phone and email address.

Warning! As part of the “Vigipirate” security measures, ID will be requested upon entry. Press cards will not be accepted in lieu of ID.

Véronique Etienne
CNRS Press Officer
+33 1 44 96 51 37

Feb. 11, 2016, 16:30 p.m. CET
EGO Observatory
Building 4, Auditorium
Via E. Amaldi
56021 Cascina, Santo Stefano a Macerata (Pisa), Italy

Journalists are invited to join the site of the European Gravitational Observatory as it brings together the scientists from the VIRGO Collaboration this Thursday, February 11, at 16:30 p.m. for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves — or ripples in the fabric of spacetime — from the VIRGO-LIGO scientific collaborations.

On the same date a simultaneous event organized by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration will take place in Washington, D.C. in the USA.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, and rumors swirling about whether the LIGO – VIRGO teams have detected these waves, the groups will discuss their ongoing efforts to observe and measure cosmic gravitational waves for scientific research.

Media RSVP:
Due to seating constraints, interested journalists should RSVP to any of the media contacts listed below:
* EGO communication:, +39 050 752 325,, +39 050 752 464
* CNRS press:, +33 144 965 137
* INFN press:, +39 06 686 8162
* Nikhef press:, +31 205 925 075
* Poland PAN communications:, +48 22 182 6601

Shuttle Service:
EGO provides a shuttle service departing from Florence Santa Maria Novella (main rail station) at 11.30 am. You need to book in advance this service. Please contact, +39 050752325

Live Webcast:
For press not based in Italy this event will be simulcast live online. For details about how to participate remotely, please contact EGO Information Technology,, +39 050 752 540

Additional background about the project:

The Virgo interferometer is a 3 km interferometer installed at Cascina, near Pisa, and the Virgo research is carried out by the VIRGO Collaboration, consisting of more than 250 physicists and engineers belonging to 19 different European research groups: 6 from Center National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France; 8 from the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) in Italy; 2 in the Netherlands with Nikhef; the Wigner Institute in Hungary; the POLGRAW group in Poland and the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO).

LIGO, a system of two identical detectors, was conceived and built by MIT and Caltech researchers and funded by the National Science Foundation in the United States, with significant contributions from other U.S. and international partners. The twin detectors are located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington.

The research and the analysis of the data from all detectors are carried out jointly by a global group of scientists, including the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the VIRGO Collaboration.