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Date: 2019-05-26 - 2019-05-30
Location: Principe Island

From Einstein and Eddington to LIGO: 100 years of gravitational light deflection, Principe Island, São Tomé

On May 29th 1919, during a total solar eclipse, Einstein’s theory of general relativity was confirmed to be correct. Stars behind the obscured Sun could be seen on Earth as the light rays they emitted were deflected by 1.7 arcseconds, due to the Sun’s spacetime curvature, as predicted by the theory.

The observations were carried out at the Príncipe Island, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa, and in the city of Sobral, in Brazil. The Principe expedition was led by the renowned Cambridge astrophysicist Arthur Eddington and the Sobral expedition by the Greenwich Observatory astronomer Andrew Crommelin. Both expeditions had been carefully planned by the Astronomer Royal Frank Dyson and Eddington himself.

This is one of the most acclaimed events in the history of science with Einstein being made instantaneously a worlwide figure. Science had demonstrated once again that people from different countries could be united in a common goal. At the time, the First World War had just ended and British and German scientists were eager to close hands looking towards a new future.

Since then, general relativity has passed a large number of other impressive tests, the most recent and notable one being the LIGO first detection of gravitational waves generated by the collision of two 30 solar mass black holes.

This conference will be held from May 26th to May 30th, 2019, precisely one hundred years after the 1919 eclipse, at Resort Bom Bom in Principe Island, 2.5 Km away from the site of Eddington’s observations, which took place at Roca Sundy.

The main aim of the conference is to celebrate such an important date with a gathering of experts to discuss the legacy left by Einstein and Eddington from the event itself and the subsequent fantastic developments in the field of general relativity and gravitation.

The conference also aims at drawing the attention of the local population towards the historical importance of the 1919 observations and science in general.

Participation: Participation and presentation are by invitation only. The number of participants is limited in accordance with the capacity of the resort Bom Bom.

Scientific and Organizing Committee: Jose’ Sande Lemos, Vítor Cardoso, and Carlos Herdeiro.

Secretariat: Dulce Conceicao (dulce.conceicao[AT]tecnico.ulisboa.pt) and Rita Teixeira (ritat.sousa[AT]gmail.com).

Sponsors: CENTRA – Center for Astrophysics and Gravitation, IST, FCT, Eddington at Sundy, Resort Bom Bom, HBD.