Thursday, July 30, 2015


Sixty European science and engineering students from 19 of ESA’s 22 Member States recently attended the 2015 Alpbach Summer School, held in the beautiful Austrian Tyrol. This year’s meeting, held from 14 to 23 July, focused on quantum and fundamental physics in space.

During their stay at Alpbach students attended lectures and participated in workshops. They were divided into four teams and asked to design their own innovative mission to study how satellite missions could help develop and enrich quantum physics research, and see how future satellite missions could benefit from quantum physics in general.

The space missions designed by the students looked at how to make discoveries in gravitational wave astrophysics, as well as how to verify the fundamental principle of equivalence in Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. On the last day of this 10-day learning experience, each team presented their mission design to an expert review panel chaired by Dr. Roger Bonnet, as well as their fellow students, tutors, and lecturers.

Dr. Bonnet was very impressed by the quality of the space mission designs the students presented: 'The jury was very impressed and had the feeling that a new scientific community had risen above the horizon - a community that will increase the number of space users and that will benefit from the high potential of applications in this new field, both in industry and in science. Once again the Alpbach Summer School has created a miracle - all of the teams have made a strong impression on the jury because of their ability to get acquainted with a topic in just a few days.

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