OMNI-1 Workshop

and the beginning of the International Gravitational Radiation Observatory

N.S. Magalhães, W.F. Velloso Jr and O.D. Aguiar
Divisão de Astrofísica - INPE, São Paulo, Brazil,,,

The First International Workshop for an Omnidirectional Gravitational Radiation Observatory (OMNI-1) was held at São José dos Campos, Brazil, in May 23-30, 1996. It joined up some of the most active scientists now working in the field of gravitational wave detection, representing six countriesgif and the major experimental projects in the worldgif. The meeting allowed researchers and students to present the state of art of the projects and to exchange experiences among their groups. Also, during the opening talks and the six sections of OMNI-1 the participants had the opportunity to discuss about many important issues regarding gravitational wave research.

Several theorists contributed with interesting works on super-string theory, cosmic strings, gravitational emission and theoretical gravity. Also, talks on the emission of gravitational waves from supernovae, black-holes collisions, binary coalescence and radio pulsars were presented.

Experimentalists from both resonant-mass and interferometric projects talked about virtually all the most important aspects concerning gravitational wave experiments nowadays. For instance, the detectability of gravitational signals generated by the coalescence of binary systems, precessing neutron stars in the galaxy or core collapse events was discussed, as well as the influence of cosmic rays on resonant-mass detectors. And several results were shown concerning transducer construction techniques, thermal cooling methods and the research on special materials to be used in spherical antennas.

Scientists representing the different projects talked about the present status of their experiments and showed exciting new results that suggest that more progress is expected in this field of research for the next years. One of these breakthroughs is the construction of a fourth generation of resonant-mass detectors using large spherical antennas, which is under consideration by almost all the groups working with this kind of detectors.

The concluding session of the Workshop (the roundtable section) created an opportunity to increase the collaboration among the groups. It was clear for the participants that in the field of gravitational wave detection scientists are working at the edges of technology and science so that international collaboration becomes essential. Therefore they decided to formalize the OMEGA Collaborationgif,intended to create an International Gravitational Wave Observatory, composed by a network of resonant-mass (using both bars and spheres as antennas) and interferometric detectors , under coordinated operation. Such observatory is expected not only to detect gravitational wave signals, but also to determine their intensities and polarizations, as well as the directions of their astrophysical sources, in a large spectrum of frequencies.

The final result of the Workshop - the OMEGA Collaboration - represents a major effort of scientists working on gravitational wave detection from all around the world. Their intention is to join their capabilities, experiences, resources and ideas to create a revolutionary scientific tool and develop a new means to study the universe: Gravitational Astronomy.

Jorge Pullin
Tue Feb 4 22:28:54 EST 1997