The EDOARDO AMALDI CONFERENCE ON GRAVITATIONAL WAVES has been designated as the cornerstone conference for the newly formed Gravitational Wave International Community. The Amaldi Conference has been held twice before, in Frascati, Italy, (1994) and at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, (1997), but takes on a new significance, now that it is the main meeting for the Gravitational Wave International Community.
It was held on the Caltech campus from July 12 - 16, 1999. About 300 participants, from all over the world attended the conference. After the welcome remarks by Caltech president. Dr. D. Baltimore, we heard a very moving and inspiring talk by Ugo Amaldi, son of Edoardo Amaldi, on a life dedicated to broaden the horizon of physics.
The first couple of days were dedicated to overview talks, while workshops on more specialized topics were held later in the week. The conference did not have parallel sessions, which meant that everybody learned much more than the latest developments in their particular areas. This made the conference more interesting than usual, even though the number of talks was more limited.
The overview talks on the status of interferetry and bar detection of gravitational waves (by Ruediger and Coccia, respectively), were a preamble to the very exciting reports on the different projects around the world, and even outside this world (LISA). Most of the interferometers are doing much progress in their construction, while LISA is arousing more interest in NASA. Bar detectors keep taking data and improving their sensistivities getting close to the quantum limit. We all expect that by the next Amaldi conference reports will be on the cooperative enterprise of a world comunnity ready to learn from fresh data from the interferometers.
On the astrophysical side, Kip Thorne (apart from giving a public lecture) lead a discussion session with reports of different scenarios for production of gravitational waves.
On the technical side of interferometers, there was a session with very nice overview talks of the more important issues that limit the detectors' sensitivities: suspensions, thermal noise, optical configurations and quantum limitatins. Even the theorists who attended these talks could follow them: we hope this is becomes a trend that unites the community in their understanding and tackling of all these difficult problems.
There were then workshops on each of those topics, lead by P. Fritschel (configurations), E. Gustafson (lasers and optics), and myself (suspensions and thermal noise). it was clear from these sessions that the field is bubbling with new ideas which need people and time to test, but undoubtedly will result in much improved interferometers.
There was also a session on gravitational wave detection in space, leaded by K. Danzmann, and a workshop on bar antennae, leaded by W. Hamilton. These sessions proved that even such a new field as this has already a history of detectors being pushed to their quantum limits, and future projects to go in space!
The conference ended with a a session on signal processing and data analysis, organized by B. Allen and S. Vitale. We heard about data from satellite experiments, interferometer prototypes, bar detectors, and we learned from the astronomers' experience with the Supernovae Neutrino Network.
We all thank S. Meshkov, the wonderful secretary, V. Kondrasho, and the web page keeper, B. Kratochwill. The conference's web page is still up, at http://126.96.36.199/ , and can be consulted for abstracts or more information on the program.