Programme & Events

Invited Speakers

Plenary talks will be given by a international experts in relativistic astrophysics and cosmology.

Rennan Barkana

Tel Aviv University, Israel

Professor Rennan Barkana studies the formation and evolution of the first stars. He constructs models in order to predict the properties of the galaxies in which the first stars formed, and studies ways to probe them, especially via radio-wave radiation from hydrogen atoms at a wavelength of 21 cm. In 2018 Barkana showed that an observation of radio waves from the early Universe implies that the dark matter may have cooled the early cosmic gas. If confirmed by further measurements, this will be a milestone in physics, the first direct detection of the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the matter in the Universe. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Physics and Math, Barkana got his Ph.D. in Physics at age 23 from MIT. Following a postdoctoral stint at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton plus a year in Canada, he assumed a faculty position at Tel Aviv University, Israel, where he is Professor and Head of the Department of Astrophysics. Barkana has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Moore Distinguished Scholar at Caltech, and a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Oxford.

Ulisses Barres de Almeida

CBPF, Brazil

Ulisses Barres de Almeida holds a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Durham (UK), and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, between 2011-12. He is currently an Associate Researcher at the Brazilian Center for Physics Research (CBPF) working on extragalactic gamma-ray astrophysics. He is a faculty member for the IRAP-PhD international doctoral program on Relativistic Astrophysics and an Affiliated Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC). Ulisses Barres participates in the MAGIC collaboration and is a Brazilian representative on the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) Consortium Board, where he currently serves as Multi-Band and Multi-Messenger Task-Force Coordinator. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Open Universe Initiative, under the direction of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in Viena. In 2014 he was elected Fellow of the Durham Institute for Advanced Studies (UK) and since 2016 he is a FAPERJ Young Scientist Fellow. In 2017, Dr. Barres received the Young Astronomer Award from the Brazilian Astronomical Society (SAB), and in 2019, was recipient of a Serrapilheira Grant.

Astrid Eichhorn

Heidelberg University, Germany

Astrid Eichhorn did her PhD on aspects of quantum gravity as well as Yang-Mills theory with Holger Gies at the University of Jena in 2011. She held postdoc positions at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where she is now a visiting fellow, and at Imperial College, London. In 2016, an Emmy-Noether grant of the German Research Foundation enabled her to establish a research group in quantum gravity at Heidelberg University. She is a member of the German Young Academy since 2018. Since early 2019, she is Associate Professor at CP3-Origins at the University of Southern Denmark. She focuses on several approaches to quantum gravity, the interplay of quantum gravity with matter, and questions of particle physics.

Elena Gallo

University of Michigan, USA

After receiving a Master-equivalent degree in Physics from the Universita’ Statale degli Studi di Milano (Italy), Dr Gallo moved to the Netherlands to complete her graduate studies in Astronomy at the Universiteit van Amsterdam (PhD 2005). She is currently Associate Professor and Graduate Chair at the Astronomy Department at the University of Michigan, and was previously a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the MIT Kavli Institute (2008−2010), and a Chandra Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2005−2008). Gallo’s primary field of research is observational high energy astrophysics, with a main focus on the properties of accreting stellar and super-massive black holes, and the production of relativistic outflows as a source of energy input into the interstellar and intergalactic medium.

Juan García-Bellido

UAM, Spain

Juan García-Bellido is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, and researcher at the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the CSIC. Author of more than three hundred articles in specialized journals, he is an internationally recognized theoretical cosmologist. He has worked at CERN, Imperial College London and Stanford University. His investigations cover a wide range of phenomena, from the origin of the universe in terms of cosmological inflation theory, to gravitational waves, the formation of galaxies and the nature of dark matter and dark energy. He is a lover of music and oil painting. He is married and has two children.

Tanja Hinderer

University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tanja Hinderer is a researcher in gravitational-wave astrophysics at the DeltaITP and GRAPPA institutes at the University of Amsterdam. She obtained her PhD in physics from Cornell University and was then a Sherman Fairchild Prize Fellow at Caltech, a research associate at the University of Maryland and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, and an Excellence Fellow at Radboud University. Her research expertise is in analytical modeling and focuses on gravitational waves as probes of the fundamental physics of neutron stars, black holes, and strong-field gravity.

Martin Lemoine

IAP, CNRS – Sorbonne Université, France

Martin Lemoine obtained his PhD in 1995 then spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago before joining the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France), where he now is a “senior scientist” working at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris (IAP, CNRS – Sorbonne Université). Martin Lemoine has also served as Associate Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique between 2002 and 2016, and as Deputy director of IAP between 2005 and 2009.

Martin Lemoine is a theorist, whose research activities have covered various themes of cosmology, astroparticle physics, mullti-messenger and high-energy astrophysics. One of his main themes of interest concerns the origin and the nature of very high energy cosmic rays. Martin Lemoine has specialized in the physics of particle transport in magnetized turbulence, on the physics of acceleration through Fermi-type processes in relativistic outflows, and most notably on the physics of relativistic collisionless shock waves.

Antony Lewis

University of Sussex, UK

Antony Lewis obtained an MSci in Physics from the Cambridge in 1997, and went on to do a PhD in the Cavendish on Geometric Algebra and covariant methods in physics and cosmology. In 2000 he started a postdoc at DAMTP in Cambridge, before  moving to CITA (Toronto) in 2002 for three years, with a 4-month spell in the Center for Astrophysics (Harvard). In 2005 Antony returned to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge on an STFC Advanced Fellowship. He moved to Sussex at the start of 2010. He is a member of the Planck and Simons Observatory collaborations, and an expert on the cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing and the theory of observations.

Giovanni Losurdo

INFN Pisa, Italy

Director of Research at INFN, Pisa Division. Project Leader of Advanced Virgo since its funding (2009) to the start of the data taking (2017). Member of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

Raffaella Margutti

Northwestern University, USA

Raffaella Margutti is an assistant professor of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University and member of the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). She held postdoctoral appointments at Harvard University (ITC-CfA) and New York University.
Her research specifically focuses on the biggest explosions, disruptions and mergers that occur in our Universe: Supernovae, Gamma-Ray Bursts, tidal disruption events and neutron star mergers. Margutti investigates the physics of these events by combining broad-band observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, including X-ray, UV, optical, IR, and radio. The primary goal of her research is to understand the nature of the physical processes that regulate such dramatic displays.

Dany Page

National Autonomous University, Mexico

Dany Page started with a Bachelor in Mathematics (University of Lausanne) followed by a Master in Physics (CINVESTAV, Mexico City). After a PhD in Physics at Stony Brook University and a postdoc at Columbia University (New York), he joined the faculty of the Instituto de Astronomía at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) in Mexico City in 1993. His work has been mostly dedicated to elucidating the structure of neutron stars and dense matter. He has made important contributions in our understanding of the thermal evolution (“cooling”) of isolated neutron stars and the effects of superfluidity and superconductivity, in particular with the development of the “Minimal Cooling” paradigm and the possible identification of the superfluid phase transition in the young neutron star “Cas A”. He has also studied the structure and evolution of pulsars magnetic field, predicted the existence of young demagnetized neutron stars (now known as CCO = Central Compact Objects, or anti-magnetars) and described the observable, and likely now observed, effects of strong internal toroidal fields. Recently he has focused his work on the study of the thermal response of neutron stars in binary systems with transient accretion as probes of the neutron star crust physics.

Chris Reynolds

Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK

Professor Christopher Reynolds is the Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge.  He has broad interests in observational and theoretical high energy astrophysics, with much of his current work focusing on the astrophysics of black holes, specifically the physics of black hole accretion, observational signatures of strong gravity close to black holes, and black hole feedback on galaxy evolution. He received his PhD from Cambridge in 1996 and then, following a postdoctoral position and a Hubble Fellowship at the University of Colorado Boulder, joined the professorial faculty of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Maryland (UMd) in 2001.  During his time in Maryland he was closely involved with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and was the Founding Director of the UMd-GSFC Joint Space Science Institute (JSI).  He returned to Cambridge in 2017 to take up his current Chair, and has served as Deputy Director of the Institute of Astronomy since 2018.

Luciano Rezzolla

ITP, Frankfurt, Germany

Born in Milan, Luciano Rezzolla is Chair of Theoretical Astrophysics and Director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics (ITP) in Frankfurt. He has studied Physics in Bari and Trieste and received a PhD in Astrophysics at the School International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, in 1997.  In 2013, and together with his colleagues Heino Falcke and Michael Kramer, his research was awarded an ERC Synergy Grant of €14million by the European Research Council. In 2017 he received the Karl Schwarzschild Prize from the Walter Greiner Foundation for his studies on black holes and neutron stars and in 2019 was nominated for the Andrews Professorship in Astronomy, the most prestigious position at Trinity College of Dublin. His research focuses on the physics and astrophysics of compact objects, such as black holes and neutron stars, which he studies employing numerical simulations performed on supercomputers. Together with his collaborators, he has developed some of the most sophisticated numerical-relativity codes with which he explores the properties of compact objects. Together with Olindo Zanotti he is the author of a well-known book on hydrodynamics relativistic.

Claudia de Rham

Imperial College London, UK

Claudia de Rham is a Professor of theoretical Physics at Imperial College London. Her expertise lies at the interface between Gravity, Cosmology and Particle Physics where she develops and tests new models and paradigms. Recently she has been interested in understanding the origin of the late-time acceleration of the Universe and tackling the cosmological constant problem in effective field theories of gravity. She is also studies how low-energy effective field theories can be realized within standard high energy completions and the implications for cosmology and particle physics. Prior being a professor at Imperial College, Claudia was an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University and an assistant professor at Geneva University. She acts as PI on various research grants and has received numerous prizes including an Adams prize for contributions to Mathematics and was a finalist in physical sciences and engineering the inaugural Blavatnik awards in the UK.

Elisa Resconi

Technical University, Munich, Germany

The neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi is Liesel Beckmann distinguished professor at Technical University of Munich. Resconi’s research focuses on neutrinos that have travelled for billions of years through galaxies, stars and planets. The analysis of these particles thus offers a completely new look at elementary forces and structures of the universe. The researchers use the neutrino telescope IceCube at the South Pole to detect the particles in order to learn more about their origins. In 2017, Resconi was among the collaboration to have first ever successfully identify a blazar four billion lightyears away as source of cosmic neutrinos. Elisa Resconi studied at the Università degli Studi di Milano in Milan and in Genoa. After completing her doctoral studies on solar neutrinos at the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso, she came to Germany on a Marie-Curie scholarship. From 2005 until 2010 she led an Emmy Noether junior research group at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg. In 2012 she was appointed to the Professorship for Experimental Physics with Cosmic Particles at TUM, which she helds as a Full Professor since 2019. 

Elena Maria Rossi

Leiden University, Netherlands

Dr Elena Maria Rossi received her PhD in 2005 from Cambridge University, UK. With her thesis, she introduced the so-called “structured” jet, where the energy decreases away from the jet spine. This is now the leading model for the observed jet from the LIGO/VIRGO double neutron star merger event. From 2005 to 2009 she was a Chandra Fellow at the University of Boulder, USA where she focused on formation of supermassive black holes, and co-proposed the “quasi-star” model, where massive black holes may form in the era of the first galaxies. Next, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Hebrew University, where she also worked on tidal disruption events (TDE), white dwarf tidal interaction and Galactic Centre stellar dynamics. Her publications cover predictions for the multi-wavelength light curve of TDEs, the electromagnetic signature following two merging supermassive black holes and the dynamics of hypervelocity stars. In 2011 she joined Leiden University and she is now associate professor. Recently, she has proposed the combined used of optical and gravitational waves for studies of the Local Group. She has been working on LISA related science since 2005 and in 2019 she was appointed LISA science group deputy team leader within the LISA consortium. She is also chairing of the LISA consortium Diversity and Inclusion committee.

Takahiro Tanaka

Kyoto University, Japan

Takahiro Tanaka, is a professor at Kyoto University, whose current research focusses on topics following from from the recent detection of gravitational waves. He is the principal investigator of an innovative area grant “Gravitational wave physics and astronomy: Genesis”. His fields of interest include inflationary cosmology, gravitational radiation reaction and modified gravity theories.

Tom Giblin

Kenyon College, Ohio, USA

Elisabeth Krause

University of Arizona, USA

Parallel Sessions

Participants are invited to submit abstracts for presentations in parallel sessions covering topics listed below. Participants can each submit one abstract for consideration under one or more topics, to be selected by the convenor(s) for each session. We may create additional parallel sessions where there is demand.

Deadline for submission of abstracts is 27th September.

Topic Session convenors
GRAVITY – TESTS OF GRAVITY Leonardo Gualtieri
GRAVITY – MODIFIED GRAVITY Thomas Sotiriou
GRAVITY – QUANTUM GRAVITY Mairi Sakellariadou
GRAVITY – NUMERICAL RELATIVITY Helvi Witek
COSMOLOGY – COSMIC MICROWAVE BACKGROUND & RE-IONIZATION Emanuela Dimastrogiovanni
COSMOLOGY – EARLY UNIVERSE AND THE ORIGIN OF STRUCTURE Matteo Fasiello
COSMOLOGY – LARGE SCALE STRUCTURE THEORY Matteo Viel, Chris Clarkson
COSMOLOGY – GALAXY SURVEYS, LENSING, SUPERNOVAE Hendrik Hildebrandt
COSMOLOGY – DARK ENERGY, COSMIC CONCORDANCE AND TENSIONS Lucas Lombriser
COSMOLOGY – NUMERICAL COSMOLOGY AND SIMULATIONS Christian Fidler, Jim Mertens
GRAVITATIONAL WAVES – MODELLING AND SOURCES TBA
GRAVITATIONAL WAVES – GROUND BASED EXPERIMENTS Jess McIver
GRAVITATIONAL WAVES – SPACE BASED EXPERIMENTS, PULSAR TIMING Carlos Sopuerta
MESSENGERS – COSMIC RAYS TBA
MESSENGERS – GAMMA RAYS Emma de Oña-Wilhelmi
MESSENGERS – X-RAYS Paolo d’Avanzo
MESSENGERS – NEUTRINOS Anna Franckowiak
RELATIVITY AT WORK – DISKS, JETS AND MAGNETIC FIELDS Matt Middleton
RELATIVITY AT WORK – NEUTRON STARS Vanessa Graber
RELATIVITY AT WORK – SUPERMASSIVE BLACKHOLES, AGN AND QUASARS TBA

Outline Timetable

The 30th Texas Symposium will start with registration at Portsmouth Guildhall on the afternoon of Sunday 15th December, followed by an evening drinks reception. The following is an outline of timings for the scientific programme ending early afternoon on Friday 20th December. The detailed programme will follow later. There will be other events and activities available in Portsmouth throughout the week – see below.

Sunday 15th
afternoon registration Guildhall
evening reception Guildhall
Monday 16th
morning plenary session Guildhall auditorium
afternoon parallel sessions Guildhall+university
evening
Tuesday 17th
morning plenary session Guildhall auditorium
afternoon parallel sessions Guildhall+university
evening public talk Guildhall auditorium
Wednesday 18th
morning plenary session Guildhall auditorium
afternoon parallel sessions Guildhall+university
evening conference dinner Historic dockyard
Thursday 19th
morning plenary session Guildhall auditorium
afternoon parallel sessions Guildhall+university
evening
Friday 20th
morning plenary session Guildhall auditorium
afternoon Institute of Physics Gravitational Physics Group meeting Guildhall

Registration & Reception

Sunday 15th December, Portsmouth Guildhall

Registration will open in the Guildhall on the afternoon of Sunday 15th December, followed by a drinks reception in the evening.

Public Event - Exploring the Universe of Black Holes with Gravitational Waves

Tuesday 17th December, Guildhall auditorium

The recent discovery of gravitational waves from colliding black holes has provided us with a new window onto astrophysics and cosmology. Prof Bernard Schutz (Cardiff University) will host a informative and lively discussion with a panel of leading experts in the emerging field of gravitational wave astronomy. Free tickets will be available for conference delegates and members of the public.

Bernard Schutz holds a professorship in Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. His work is primarily on gravitational wave detection and astronomy; he is a senior member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Starting in 1985 his Cardiff group pioneered the methods used today to recognise weak gravitational wave signals buried in noise. This led to discovering how gravitational waves enable us to measure distances across the universe, in recognition of which in 2019 he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and also received the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society. He is also an Emeritus Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, Germany, where he was a director from 1995 until 2014. While there he established the open-access journal Living Reviews in Relativity. He is also Adjunct Professor of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology in the USA.

Conference Dinner

Wednesday 18th December, Historic Dockyard

The conference dinner will be held on the evening of Wednesday 18th December in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, home to many famous ships of the Royal Navy, including HMS Warrior and Admiral Lord Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory. The dinner will be held in Boathouse 7 with a traditional English 3-course dinner, costing £50 per person, including reception drinks and table wine.

Events & Activities

There is a variety of local events that you may want to attend either by yourself or in the company of other conference attendees and colleagues. For an extensive list of local activities, see the official ‘Visit Portsmouth’ website.

Parkrun

Parkruns are casual, free-for-all 5km runs (not races) that have become well-known events not only in England where they originate from but nowadays in many countries all over the globe. Our local run takes place at 9am every Saturday morning on Southsea esplanade, starting from Speakers Corner, next to The Briny restaurant. Free and open to all, you can register on the parkrun website and join more than 2 million runners at parkruns around the world.

Portsmouth vs Ipswich Town

Our local football club, Portsmouth F.C., is going to play against their guests from Ipswich from 3pm on Saturday 21st December at Fratton Park. Experience the passion and excitement of the English football league first hand at one of the most atmospheric grounds in the country –  Fratton Park. The University of Portsmouth are official sponsors of Portsmouth F.C. (“Pompey”). We have a limited number of free tickets available exclusively for registered participants at the Texas Symposium. email texas2019@port.ac.uk. First come, first served. You can also buy tickets online – but they are likely to sell out early!

Historic Dockyard

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to three world famous historic ships, the Victory, The Warrior and the Mary Rose as well as the interactive Action Stations and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

Travel back in time as you come face to face with over 800 years of history. Visit the new £27 million Mary Rose Museum which provides one of the best insights into Tudor life. Climb aboard a harbour tour and view unrivalled views of Britain’s modern frigates, destroyers and helicopter carriers as well as historic buildings and world famous ships.

Delegates will receive a 50% discount on full Dockyard Tickets.

Gunwharf Quays

Gunwharf Quays is a modern waterfront retail & leisure complex.

It boasts an impressive range of designer outlets stores as well as a wide range of bars and restaurants, many with stunning views of the harbour.

Spinnaker Tower

Situated on the South Coast this stunning 170 metre tall Icon boasts 350˚ panoramic views.

Walk across the large glass floor 100 metres above sea level or enjoy the breath taking views from the Cafe in the clouds with a cup of tea and slice of cake.

Delegates will receive a 20% discount at Spinnaker Tower.

For further information on the Spinnaker Tower please click here.