European project to investigate the origins of the universe takes flight

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Posted on 13 July 2017

Work has begun in earnest on a European project to investigate the beginnings of the universe.

The Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos (ChETEC) Action is a multidisciplinary, pan-European network to further develop our understanding of the evolution of the universe.

The COST-funded Action, which was granted last year, aims to bring together researchers, scientists and businesses from 27 countries in Europe to answer open questions about the early stages of the universe.

Dr Raphael Hirschi, Chair of the ChETEC Action and Associate Professor of Astrophysics at Keele University, has just returned to the UK after delivering invited talks at conferences in Italy and Korea, where he introduced the ChETEC Action and presented findings from his ERC-funded SHYNE project. His talks were very well received, with participants at both conferences learning how they could get involved in the ChETEC COST Action.

Dr Hirschi is also liaising with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA) in the US, which drives a similar coordination effort in the US in the field of Nuclear Astrophysics.

Dr Hirschi commented: "Raising the profile of the ChETEC Action is key to being able to build comprehensive knowledge hubs and also to further coordinate research at the inter-continental level in this challenging cross-disciplinary field of research."

The next stage of the Action will be a workshop for all members to attend, to be held at Keele University on 9th-11th of October 2017. This workshop will involve all four of the Action’s working groups, who will set-up knowledge hubs and coordinate research activities to answer key open questions such as: "What is the role of neutrinos and their oscillations in supernova explosions and their ejecta composition?"

Two training schools for researchers are also planned; in Paris in September 2017, and in Bucharest in April 2018.

Dr Hirschi said: "I am very excited about the training schools, where PhD students and researchers will learn state-of-the-art techniques and gain valuable hands-on experience. This is a unique opportunity for many PhD students across Europe, who could not obtain such training at their home institute or even elsewhere in their country. Short-term scientific missions have also started and will boost collaborations across our network."

To find out more about the ChETEC COST Action, visit the project website