Scientific Committee

The Scientific Committee is an advisory body. It gives its opinion on the orientations of research policy and scientific projects of the UMR, the means required and the thematic priorities for the recruitment of permanent or non-permanent researchers.

The Scientific Committee consists of:

-     the director and deputy directors: Stavros Katsanevas, Sotiris Loucatos et Antoine Kouchner

-    the heads of the 5 teams: Ken Ganga [Cosmology], Eric Chassande-Mottin [Gravitation], Cristina Volpe [Theory], Anne Lemière [High Energy Astrophysics], Jaime Houque Dawson [Neutrino] ;

-     six external members, including at least three foreigners, appointed by the governing bodies on the proposal of the Director, presently:

  • Roger Blandford, Stanford University et SLAC 
  • Eugenio Coccia, Gran Sasso Science Institute Director, INFN
  • Jean-Loup Puget, IAS Orsay
  • Nathalie Roe, Director , Physics Division, LBL Berkeley
  • André Rubbia, ETH Zürich
  • Gabriele Veneziano, CERN

-     three elected members (two researchers and one ITA): Damien Prêle,

The Chairman of the Scientific Committee is chosen from among the Experts of the Scientific Council, on the proposal of the Director of the UMR. The current president is Jean-Loup Puget.


Summary of conclusions of the APC Scientific Committee of   2 February 2015


Open and closed session: Centre Francois Arago

Order of presentations:

09h00-09h35  Cosmology (K. Ganga)                                                                            

09h35-10h10  High Energy Astrophysics  A.Lemierre

10h10-10h40 Neutrinos (A.Kouchner)   

10h40-10H55 Theory (C. Volpe)              

11h15-11h45 Gravitation   (Eric Chassande Mottin)                

11h45-12h15 Policy on data  (V.Beckmann)                  

14h00-14h30  report from the Biennale and technical services  (S. Katsanevas)

14h30-16h30 Closed session                    


The committee commends the laboratory for the presentations which gave the adequate information on the activities of the laboratory for the period 2013-2014 and its future prospective.  Furthermore, the committee was pleased to see that the distinction between the major and minor involvements in projects was better shown than in past years. The committee continues to stress that there is a need for a reasonable increase in the number of permanent engineers and technicians in the coming years to support this rich program.

An external factor inducing programmatic uncertainty in the APC program, namely the uncertainty concerning the space missions, was removed since ESA and CNES have now a well defined  roadmap (SVOM, ATHENA, eLISA,  plus the call for an M4 mission for which APC participates to the   CORE+  proposal at the Co-PI level).  The opportunity for the APC to take leading role in some of these programs, e.g. eLISA or the M4 proposal CORE+,  in parallel to its leadership of programs on ground  e.g. QUBIC,  creates  the need that the laboratory  takes all measures necessary to focus the technical effort on these projects and avoid to stretch the technical resources too thin.

In the field of cosmology, the committee congratulates the laboratory for its achievements in the context of the Planck mission.  The committee also advises that in the next meeting there should be  a more detailed presentation of QUBIC, since it is on the critical path, and the committee needs more evidence that the things are advancing as planned; it also needs to understand how its capabilities compare to those of other experiments. The SC   asks more detailed information on the final sensitivities that would be obtained, since the BICEP2/Planck controversy has shown that these days better  systematics is less the issue  than dust. The committee expects that next time, concrete progress is demonstrated, for this project that is currently the unique CMB project on ground with European leadership. Furthermore, the SC wishes also to be informed in more detail on instrumental developments on bolometers, eventually accompanied by a visit of the laboratory.

            In the field of gravitation, the committee congratulates the laboratory for its technical contributions to the advanced Virgo detector. The coming years of commissioning and data taking of the 2nd generation antennas will be crucial for the future of the field and the laboratory should not spare any efforts to contribute to the analysis.  Furthermore, the programmatic context in space has been clarified with eLISA being an L3 mission.  The committee is thus confirmed in its strong belief and recommendation,  already since the very first years of the laboratory, that APC should develop a complementary program on both ground and space, which constitutes its specificity in the French if not European research landscape.

In the field of high energy astrophysics, the committee wishes to congratulate the relevant teams for the success of the JEM-EUSO balloon flight. It also took note of the good progress in the exploitation of HESS and ANTARES. On the occasion, members of the SC remarked that a list of publications should be available for the next meeting of the SC for all projects under examination. Concerning the gamma-ray space program, from KeV to MeV, the SC believes that while the technical involvement of the laboratory in the space programs under construction TARANIS, SVOM and ATHENA seems to be under control and negotiated in detail with CNES, the laboratory seemed to not have enough physicists to harvest the rich program to which its past and future technical contributions give access: INTEGRAL, ASTRO-H, TARANIS, SVOM, ATHENA.

In the field of neutrino physics, the committee wishes to congratulate the team for the high quality results of Double Chooz, in particular for the meticulous and pioneering treatment of the systematics. Members of the scientific committee even urged the team to consider a longer run (up to 6 years) till the statistical errors would reach the level of understanding of systematics, giving thus an equal sensitivity result as the higher statistics experiment Daya-Bay.  The SC also congratulated the Borexino team for the result on solar neutrinos that obtained a very high visibility in the press (among the 10 scientific breakthroughs of the year for Science).  A long discussion followed the ORCA  results where while simulation has advanced considerably, the committee still awaits to see  a thorough treatment of the systematics. ORCA needs to continue the proof of concept work, inside an evolving landscape both science-wise but also and above all within the limitations of current and mid-term programmatic exercises.

            The SC continues to support the exploratory discussions of the groups of the laboratory with radio wave observatories and in particular the project SKA, which will be a major project of the next decade. High energy astrophysics, cosmology and gravitation are all concerned by the scientific aspects of the project. Since SKA is already well advanced, it is not clear whether the laboratory can become involved on the technical side.  On the other hand, the huge challenges of the SKA data processing could allow the laboratory to play a role in data analysis.

In the field of massive data processing, the committee is glad to see that the François Arago centre is operating well, since  it will be a clear asset when major future projects such as CTA, Euclid, LSST,  will start collecting data.  It is important to continue to reflect about the central issue of “Big data” and the relevant algorithmics. The committee believes that the demand by the responsible of the Centre for  high-level engineers expert in data-processing,  although reasonable per se,  will be difficult to satisfy, given the competition with the current industrial environment.

            The committee was finally very pleased to listen to a report on the strong theoretical activity of the theoretical group and further urged the development of stronger ties with the experimental groups, given the expected  mid-term large flow of new data, both from the cosmological and gravitational  surveys  and the multi-messenger front.

The committee finally  urged the direction of the laboratory to provide in the future  sufficiently in advance the recommendations of the previous SC meetings .



The committee has confirmed the following APC scientific associates for 2015[1]:


High Energy Astrophysics:

Bertrand Vallage (Irfu-SPP, CEA-Saclay)                                                                         R

Rémi Chipaux (Irfu-SEDI, CEA-Saclay)


Cosmology and Gravitation:

James Rich  (CEA/IRFU/SPP)                                                                                           R

Jean-Marc Le Goff (CEA/IRFU/SPP)                                                                                R

François  Couchot  (DR  CNRS  at  LAL  –  Université  Paris-Sud)                                R

Michel  Crézé  (professor  emeritus  at  the  Université  de  Bretagne-Sud)               R 

Alberto  Gatto  (Polytechnic  University  of  Milan)


Neutrinos :

Prof. Masaki ISHITSUKA (Assistant Prof. at Tokyo Institute of Technology)                         R

Romain Roncin (Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso – LNGS )


Theory :

Chiara Caprini (IPhT Saclay)                                                                                            R

Karim Noui  (Univ. Tours)                                                                                                R

Bartjan Van Tent (LPT Orsay)                                                                                          R

Filippo Vernizzi (IPhT Saclay)

Hervé Bergeron (ISMO Paris Sud)

Urko Reinosa (Polytechnique)


Matthieu Tristram (LAL, Orsay)                                                                                       R       

Marc-Antoine Miville-Deschênes (IAS, Orsay)                                                                R



Anita Quiles Responsable du pôle d’archéométrie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (Le Caire, Egypte)







[1] R stands for renewal.