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New Accords

On a visit to Paris last May, Chinese Vice Minister for science and technology Wu Zhongze signed a scientific cooperation agreement with CNRS, strengthening Franco-Chinese ties in multiple fields of research. The deal covers areas as varied as renewable energy, communication technologies, and the convergence of Western and Chinese medicine. In addition, the longstanding scientific collaboration between the two countries was further bolstered by the creation of the first France-China Particle Physics Laboratory (FCPPL).1 The advent of this International Associated Laboratory facility, signed off by CNRS, the CEA, and the Chinese Science Academy, validates the joint work of over 250 researchers, engineers, and students. On the program: the study of particle physics and astroparticles, but also greater French and Chinese involvement in the building of international particle accelerators.






Preserving an Island's Worth of Life

Last March, a network of 34 French and Malagasy research centers, including 18 units from CNRS, agreed to partner in the study of Madagascar's biodiversity.1 A unique outdoor laboratory, the island-state is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, 80% of which are indigenous. The aim of the international collaboration is to elaborate new frameworks, methods, and tools to preserve the island's ecosystem and steer it towards a sustainable development.

1. International Research Group “Biodiversity and Sustainable development in Madagascar.”




News from the Stars…


… A Quasar Far Far Away

The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope1 recently helped locate the farthest quasar known to man. This compact halo of matter surrounding the central black hole of a young galaxy is located 13 billion light-years away from Earth. The international team that spotted it, and includes researchers from the IAP2 and the LAOG3 in France, also detected three other significantly distant quasars. At the time of their formation, the Universe was less than a billion years old. Such a discovery promises to reveal valuable information about a phase of the history of the Universe when stars, galaxies, and black holes suddenly and rapidly began to form.


2. Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (CNRS / Université Pierre et Marie Curie).

3. Laboratoire d'AstrOphysique de Grenoble (CNRS / Université Joseph Fourier). 



… Gravitational Waves: Virgo is Good to Go

Europe's biggest interferometric radar is set to go. The Franco-Italian1 detector Virgo2 entered its initial phase of operation last May. Part of an ultra-sophisticated network of observational instruments, Virgo will join the LIGO and GEO detectors in the US, UK, and Germany in a collaborative hunt for gravitational waves (deformations in the space-time continuum). Direct observation of these waves, whose existence have so far only been proved indirectly, will open up the field of gravitational astronomy and allow researchers to better understand the concept of relativity.

1. Collaboration between the CNRS and the National Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN).




… Corot Satellite: First Successes

Since its launch last December, the long-awaited Corot Satellite has already spotted a new exoplanet, baptized Corot-Exo-1b, and detected oscillations in a star. The product of an international collaboration between France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, and Spain, this satellite is expected to search for Earth-like planets with new unrivaled precision, as well as conduct seismic observations of stars other than the Sun.






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