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"Origins", a new Franco-Chinese International Associated Laboratory in Astrophysics

On October 22nd in Beijing, France and China set up “Origins”, an International Associated Laboratory (LIA) in Astrophysics. The LIA will work in three main areas – the origin of matter and energy in the Universe, the origin of galaxies and heavy elements, and the origin of planets. Its main objective is to encourage cooperation between Chinese and French research teams.

First and foremost, the “Origins” LIA will be devoted to extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology, in particular the formation and evolution of galaxies, dark matter and dark energy, and the nature of sources of high energies including gamma-ray bursts. Origins will also strengthen other partnerships in the fields of extrasolar planets and instrumentation, particularly space experiments (SVOM, etc.), of radio astronomy (ALMA, SKA, etc.), and of future giant telescopes with diameters of 40 m (Extremely Large Telescope).

The objective of the “Origins” LIA is to build a strong, jointly managed Franco-Chinese scientific community, with a joint steering committee, leading to regular academic conferences. While many Chinese students and researchers already work in French laboratories, the International Associated Laboratory will also enable French researchers to work in China.

The International Laboratory “Origins” comprises teams from 10 French laboratories, from INSU-CNRS, the Paris Observatory, the Pierre & Marie Curie University and Université Paris-Diderot, and from 11 Chinese laboratories, from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Astronomy at Beijing University, the Department of Astronomy at Nanjing University and the Center for Astrophysics of Science & Technology of China. The LIA is being managed by CNRS (INSU) and the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The signing of the agreement on 22nd October in Beijing (1) is a tribute to the long and fruitful partnership which already exists between the two countries in this field, and will formalize the teamwork carried out by over a hundred researchers, engineers and students from both countries.

With the study of origins, the LIA will develop joint projects and instruments for observation from the ground and from space, involving major technological advances. This will be accomplished through doctoral and postdoctoral training and the coordination of research groups.

Julien Guillaume | alfa
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