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Conseil Scientifique

Le Conseil Scientifique est une instance consultative. Il donne son avis sur les orientations de la politique de recherche et les projets scientifiques de l’UMR, les moyens requis et les priorités thématiques pour le recrutement de chercheurs permanents ou non permanents.

Le Conseil Scientifique est composé comme suit :

-                le Directeur de l’UMR et le Directeur adjoint : Pierre Binétruy et François Lebrun ;

-                les responsables des groupes thématiques de l’UMR : Yannick Giraud-Héraud [Cosmologie et gravitation], David Langlois [Théorie], Etienne Parizot [Astrophysique de Haute Energie], Radek Stompor [ADAMIS], Alessandra Tonazzo [Neutrinos] ;

-                six experts extérieurs, dont au moins trois étrangers, nommés par les tutelles sur proposition du Directeur : Giovanni Bignami, Catherine Cesarsky, Franz von Feilitzsch, Anthony Lasenby, Georg Raffelt, Gérard Smadja ;

-                trois membres élus du laboratoire (2 chercheurs et un ITA) : Thomas Patzak, Régis Terrier et Bernard Courty.

Le président du Conseil Scientifique est choisi parmi les Experts du Conseil Scientifique, sur proposition du Directeur de l’UMR. Le président en exercice est Catherine Cesarsky.


Relevé de conclusion du conseil du 12-13 février 2009


·     CTA


The lab has to be congratulated for its active role in CTA, which is one of the most important projects for the future of astroparticle physics at the world level. The importance of the responsibility proposed in QA should not be underestimated, nor the work entailed.The corresponding task is urgent as a proper quality assurance plan is required at this early stage of the project since it plays a role for the cost, both for construction and operations. This will require not only a full-time person in the laboratory but the use of all the know-how of its entire QA group and in general in the collaboration.At a later stage the laboratory  should supervise the QA effort implemented by the cooperating laboratories. The trigger is a well-defined project adapted to the expertise already present in the laboratory. The impact on the physics of switching from 5ns to 1ns accuracy in time should be clarified.


·     Virgo


In view of the active involvement in LISA, it is deemed useful to be also involved in a  running experiment, Virgo.

The beam telescope proposed by  the group is well adapted to the size and competence of the team. It will provide opportunities for interesting developments in optics and mechanics. The remaining uncertainties in the layout (internal vs external) should be resolved in the forthcoming months. Given the timescale of the project, its implementation should be followed closely by the lab.


·     JEM-EUSO


Simultaneously with the early success of Auger-South, a very interesting opportunity seems to emerge with JEM-EUSO. The scientific aims of this mission, the astrophysics of UHECR , are very well in line with the competence of the laboratory and the scientific plans appear sound. The participation foreseen for the construction, calibration of the PMs with the method developed by the laboratory, is a useful contribution to the project, as is the measurement of the fluorescence yield.




The science of this mission lies outside the field of interest of the laboratory. The rationale for considering nevertheless building the instrument XGRE is : 1) respond to a request by CNES, a major supporter of this laboratory 2) acquire experience with the LaBr3 crystal detectors, which could be useful for possible future gamma ray missions exploring the MeV range. The committee trusts the management of the laboratory to take an apropriate decision concerning XGRE.


·     Space Data Center


The laboratory is given a good  opportunity to reorganize in an efficient way all the work it does regarding data acquisition and science analysis of the experiments of interest for its science. A good solution will have to be found with CC-IN2P3 regarding e.g. the location of the hardware, in order to minimize the logistic load on the laboratory. The laboratory is advised to attempt to secure from the start, the full anticipated lab space, i.e. at least 500 m2.


·     Associates


For 2009, the committee approves the applications of Martin Bucher, Michel Crézé, Emilian Dudas, Maurizio Falanga, Jonathan Gair, Diego Gotz, Régis Haigron, Gérard Kerkyacharian, Bruno Khelifi, Sotiris Loucatos, Renaud Parentani, Jérôme Rodriguez, Frédéric Royer, Jean-Luc Starck, Michel Tagger, Cyril Rosset, Bertrand Vallage, Cristina Volpe.


Relevé de conclusion du conseil du 1er février 2010


The Scientific Committee congratulates the laboratory for its ability to use present opportunities to speedily start a Space Data Analysis Centre, even more  important than anticipated, and finds attractive the idea of using the extra surface to host the Centre of Cosmology created by G. Smoot.


The development of a test facility for low noise low frequency electronics with contribution and collaboration from ESA and CNES is an excellent initiative, especially because the building happens to be well insulated.


The Committee commends the laboratory for its quick reaction after the demise of SIMBOL-X, and in particular their promotion of the PHENX R&D effort and the enhanced involvement in future X-ray missions such as ASTRO-H and IXO. While TARANIS has not yet been approved by CNES, chances are that it will get approved soon and the laboratory has appropriately emphasized the connection with its X-ray instrumentation.


The Committee has appreciated being presented the diagrams showing the development of technical manpower in the different projects and believes that in the future it would be useful to have similar diagrams with the involvement of scientists, and perhaps also investment.


  • LISAPathFinder/LISA


A very impressive sequence of activities was reported on the projects related to the search for gravitational waves in space. Starting with the LISA Pathfinder ESA mission, after a review of its general status, and in particular of the LTP, the successful delivery of the Laser Modulator flight unit was reported. Parallel hardware activities are the new Iodine Stabilization technique, now being implemented, and the very interesting “hardware simulator” Lisa On Table, just started.


Moreover, in the context of the LISA data analysis, taking advantage of the new Centre F.Arago now being created at APC, a series of simulation and mock data analysis are starting, including the global simulator LISACode, used for Lisa Data Challenges.


Globally, the excellent ongoing activities on LISA should be strengthened by continuous contacts with the ESA Executive of the LISA project (Project Scientist and Project Manager) to ensure flawless coordination, planning and exchange of information.


On a more general point, the Committee encourages that attention is paid within APC to the potentially fruitful overlap between data analysis methods within the areas of CMB and large scale structure on the one hand, with those in gravitational wave astronomy on the other. Similar techniques in 'object detection' can be applied in both, and cross-fertilisation will be valuable.


  • Wide field astronomy


The committee supports current plans and activities as regards BOSS, Planck and LSST.


For LSST there is already a hardware involvement, which gives in any case a good reason for APC involvement in data analysis for the project. For BOSS, no extra effort other than analysis is required. However, one needs to be careful not to end up repeating or redoing things that others have already spent many years on, for example in relation to the BOSS LRG work, where there has of course been considerable effort externally. With BOSS Ly-alpha, APC will hopefully be finding a good niche.


The document presented does not have anything in detail about plans for either BigBOSS or Euclid. The strategy looks sensible scientifically – the key question is one of effort. The committee is somewhat worried currently about the level of effort available in the 'Wide Field' area, as one goes into new projects. A list was presented including many individuals, but many of these were at quite low percentage effort. Thus the committee encourages strongly that as soon as possible a detailed plan is drawn up of how to use the extra effort that may be available via the new Data Centre, and (perhaps most importantly) whether a new academic appointment in this area may be possible in the context of the Centre of Cosmology initiated by George Smoot.



  • Double Chooz


The construction of the far  detector of Double-Chooz is almost finalized, with a delay of one year largely due to difficulties connected with necessary legal  authorisations. The technical contribution of APC has been a success. A critical milestone is that of  June 2010: every effort should be made so that the experiment makes full use of the pause of one of the reactors in July. The collaboration is invited  to investigate if it can gain one or a few weeks by reinforcing the technical personnel  performing the filling of the tank, without putting in jeopardy the safety of this delicate phase.


A focalisation of the efforts towards the publication at the end of  2010 of a limit improving  the CHOOZ limit would stimulate the community and be beneficial for the international reputation of the project.


In presence of a significant international competition (RENO,Daya Bay, T2K), the collaboration must watch to keep unchanged the schedule of the construction of the second detector. To face future challenges, the laboratory is encouraged to maintain  the “low noise” expertise already existing within the APC group.


  • “Attaché scientifique”


The committee approves the appointment of Luciano Moscoso as « attaché scientifique » for two years, thinking that he will be a very worthy addition to the laboratory, given his deep expertise  in Antares.


  • Associates


The committee approves the following list of associates :


Renewals : Martin Bucher,  Michel Crézé, Jonathan Gair, Diego Götz, Régis Haigron, Gérard Kerkyacharian, Bruno Khelifi, Sotiris Loucatos, Frédéric Royer, Jean-Luc Starck, Michel Tagger, Bertrand Vallage, Christina Volpe

New applications : Catherine Boisson, Simona Mei, Karim Noui, Matthieu Renaud, Matthieu Tristram, Andreas Zech


For the next meeting, the committee wishes to have the list available reasonably in advance of the meeting.