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“The Einstein Telescope is good for everyone”

In the Dutch radio programme Spraakmakers, editor-in-chief of New Scientist NL magazine Jim Jansen explains why he is looking forward to the arrival of the Einstein Telescope.

Listen to the Einstein Telescope-segment starting 9m32s (in Dutch).

“Einstein predicted back in 1916 that gravitational waves existed. He was right, but also wrong, because Einstein also predicted that we would never be able to build a telescope sensitive enough to detect those ripples in spacetime. In 1915, we succeeded anyway.”

Speaking is Jim Jansen, science journalist and editor-in-chief of the popular science magazine New Scientist NL. On the radio programme Spraakmakers on 3 January, Jansen, together with presenter Roos Abelman and researcher Bernadette de Bakker, looked ahead to what we can expect from science in the coming years. His big hope: that the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany will be jointly awarded the Einstein Telescope.

The underground observatory for gravitational waves should become ten times more accurate than its predecessors, providing even more information about the invisible parts of the universe.

“This is the most fundamental survey of all, and the cards are shuffled,” says Jansen. “The soil of this region is good and you have nearby top universities in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. But also, and I think this is important: good bachelor and upper level secondary education.” That is where the future technicians who can actually make the sensitive equipment for the Einstein Telescope will be trained.

In 2024, hard work will be done on the so-called bid book that will map how suitable the border area is to host the Einstein Telescope. Jansen: “This year is still a bit early, but my big wish is that in 2025 we will hear whether we are awarded it. That would be good for everyone.”

Jim Jansen (editor-in-chief New Scientist NL) and Bernadette de Bakker (associate professor Amsterdam UMC) on the Dutch radio programme Spraakmakers. Photo: KRO/NCRV

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