Developments in Germany and Italy are interesting for Einstein Telescope

Written by Gieljan de Vries

Recent developments in Italy and Germany are interesting for the development of the European Einstein Telescope.

In Germany, the arrival of the Deutsches Zentrum für Astrophysik (German institute for astrophysics, DZA) in the German state of Saxony has become certain. German Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (Education and Research) announced on Sept. 29 that after the initial phase, a total of around 170 million euros per year will be reserved for the DZA in the Saxon region of Lusatia over the next 10 years.

Stan Bentvelsen, as scientific director of Nikhef, leads the project of the EMR candidacy for the Einstein Telescope in the Netherlands. He is pleased with this move by the German federal government, as it underlines the importance of this type of research.

“This center is an asset to the scientific field”, says Bentvelsen. “This step also strengthens the possibility for Nikhef and other partners to collaborate in the scientific field with the new German research institute soon.”

DZA will focus on top research in the field of astronomy. In addition, the center plans to pool and process astronomical data from around the world, such as those from the future Square Kilometre Array (Australia and South Africa) and the future Einstein Telescope. Third focus of the DZA is a technology center developing instrumentation for observatories. For this purpose, the DZA is also building an underground research laboratory.

Bentvelsen has no indication that these developments in Germany would lead to Saxony being put forward as a third candidate for the Einstein Telescope. According to the physicist, no steps have been taken to that end in Germany, such as preparing a feasibility study. “Einstein Telescope is also not on the current roadmap in Germany, which is leading in making choices in this area.”

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has already expressed its support for the EMR candidacy for the Einstein Telescope in the border area of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Italian preliminary study

In addition to developments in Germany, there is also Italian news about Einstein Telescope. Outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi stated in the week after the Italian elections that his government wants to financially support the candidacy of Sardinia as a site for the Einstein Telescope. This would involve 50 million euros for the preliminary study, which should lead to an Italian bid book. Additional amounts were also discussed, including for the construction of necessary infrastructure. The Italian elections were necessary after Draghi resigned as prime minister of the government of national unity in July.