TransRegio Winter School

The winter (or summer) cosmology school being a necessary step in a PhD life, we decided to apply as soon as possible for the TransRegio Winter School in Passo del Tonale (Italian Alps). It took place from December 4th to 9th 2011. The school program is quite exciting : cosmology lectures, ski, meetings and parties…what else ?

About 40 PhD students were there and 5 lecturers, each one being an expert in his field :

  • Jean-Philippe Uzan (from Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris) for theoretical cosmology and inflation

  • Tamara Davis for Large Scale Structures, with a very “conceptual” lecture on the notion of horizon in cosmology 
  • Joanna Dunkley for the Cosmic Microwave Background and its observation as well as CMB anisotropies (like SZ effect, close to my field)
  • Kazuya Koyama for modified gravity theories which aims at going beyond General Relativity and could then get rid of the dark energy problem
  • Laura Covi for the particle aspect of cosmology (dark matter detection)

One of the most interesting aspects of this kind of winter school is to establish contacts, not only with the other PhD students coming from the entire world, but also with the lecturers that we met on ski tracks the afternoon and on the dance-floor later in the night !

Not to mention the skiing…

View from the hotel at Passo del Tonale

The ski resort, close to both hotel and conference room

Not much snow...

...but enough to ski !

Thanks Julian for the photos, as well as the organizers (Marco Baldi, Angela Lepidi, Valerio Marra, Valeria Pettorino, Ignacy Sawicki, Wessel Valkenburg, Georg Wolschin).

Pray for us

Strange phenomenon in a cosmology lab, two members of the protestant american Church approach us during a coffee break. They were coming directly from Florida to spread the word, and to propose us an innocent game. We should pick up cards among the ones that were on the table, each one representing beliefs (agnosticism, polytheism, atheism, monotheism,…) and we should argue why.

According to them, God is behind all their actions and deeply influence their everyday life. But surprisingly they carefully listen to us and might remember all our arguments (in order to say the contrary to more naive persons ?). They finally admit that they would like, in principle, that everyone they approach would take part of their Church. Were they that innocent to believe they could convince researchers, especially in cosmology where God is not really the interpretation of dark energy ? I doubt it…

This is the punishment! Repent! The end of time has come!