Gravitational Waves 2018

Les Houches, France, July 2nd-27th 2018

organized by Bruce Allen, Marie-Anne Bizouard, Nelson Christensen and Pierre-François Cohadon


The school will cover the emerging field of gravitational and multi-messenger astronomy,  following the discovery of GW150914 and GW170817. Within a few years, with the expected improvement of the Advanced LIGO and Advanced Virgo detectors, we can expect many other detections, which will open up a new window on astrophysical objects such as black holes, binary systems of stars neutrons or even totally unexpected objects.

This very wide area involves a large number of theoretical, experimental and information systems: from modeling and simulation of gravitational systems to control of a satellite in terrestrial orbit, through design and operation of laser interferometers of  kilometric size, quantum optics, data analysis …

The objective of this summer school is to provide a large number of students and post-docs with a solid corpus in most aspects of the field, to help and strengthen the collaboration between the different communities.

Topics and Invited speakers

    • General Relativity and gravitational waves (Pr. Thomas Moore, Pomona College)
    • Black Hole Physics (Dr. E. Gourgoulhon, Observatoire de Paris)
    • Gravitational-wave detection: early history and fundamentals (Pr. Peter Saulson, Syracuse University)
    • Advanced quantum techniques and 3rd-Generation Interferometers (Pr. S. Hild, Glasgow University)
    • GW data analysis: techniques and results (Pr. Alan Weinstein, Caltech)
    • Numerical Relativity: introduction, black holes (Pr. Harald Pfeiffer, Albert Einstein Institut Potsdam)
    • Astrophysical Sources of Gravitational Waves (Pr. Ilya Mandel, University of Birmingham)
    • Testing General Relativity (Pr. Clifford Will, University of Florida)
    • Pulsar Timing (Pr. Neil Cornish, Montana State University)
    • Stochastic Gravitational Wave Background (Pr. Joseph Romano, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley)
    • Cosmological Sources of Gravitational Waves (Pr. Vuk Mandic, University of Minnesota)
    • Electromagnetic Follow-Up: Techniques and results (Pr. Samaya Nissanke, Radboud University)
    • LISA Science (Dr. Alberto Sesana, University of Birmingham)
    • Numerical Relativity: Binaries With Neutron Stars (S. Bernuzzi, Jena University)
    • Binary Systems: Parameter Estimation (Dr. John Veitch, University of Glasgow)
    • GW and Binary Systems: Formation and Astrophysics (Pr. Chris Belczynski, Warsaw University)
    • Continuous wave GW searches (Dr. Maria Alessandra Papa, Albert Einstein Institut Hannover)
    • Gravitational wave burst searches (Dr. Marie-Anne Bizouard, Université Paris-Sud)
    • The LISA detector (Dr. Martin Hewitson, Albert Einstein Institut Hannover)


 Week 1 Monday 2 Tuesday 3 Wednesday 4 Thursday 5 Friday 6
9h-10h30 T. Moore 1 T. Moore 2 T. Moore 3 T. Moore 4
11h-12h30 E. Gourgoulhon 1 E. Gourgoulhon 2 E. Gourgoulhon 3 P. Saulson 4
14h-15h30 S. Hild 1
16h-17h Posters K. Mbappé
17h30-19h P. Saulson 1 P. Saulson 2 P. Saulson 3 E. Gourgoulhon 4

Thomas Moore: General relativity and gravitational waves

Eric Gourgoulhon: Black Hole Physics

Peter Saulson: Early history and fundamentals of gravitational-wave detection
Lecture 1 Lecture 2 Lecture 3 Lecture 4 Lecture 5

Stefan Hild: Advanced quantum technique and 3rd-generation interferometers
Link to GWINC

 Week 2 Monday 9 Tuesday 10 Wednesday 11 Thursday 12 Friday 13
9h-10h30 S. Hild 2 S. Hild 4 A. Weinstein 1 I. Mandel 2 I. Mandel 4
11h-12h30 P. Saulson 5 T. Moore 5 I. Mandel 1 A. Weinstein 3 A. Weinstein 4
16h-17h E. Gourgoulhon 5 Student’s talks M.-A. Bizouard 1
17h30-19h S. Hild 3 S. Hild 5 A. Weinstein 2 I. Mandel 3

Alan Weinstein: Gravitational Waves from Compact Binary Mergers – Data Analysis Techniques
Ilya Mandel: Astrophysical sources of gravitational waves – Review article
Marie-Anne Bizouard: Gravitational wave burst searches – Slides


 Week 3 Monday 16 Tuesday 17 Wednesday 18 Thursday 19 Friday 20
9h-10h30 H. Pfeiffer 1 H. Pfeiffer 2 S. Bernuzzi 1 S. Bernuzzi 2 V. Mandic 1
11h-12h30 C. Belczynski 1 C. Belczynski 2 G. Wiktorowicz J. Romano 1 J. Romano 2
16h-17h M.-A. Bizouard 2 N. Deruelle T. Piran Student’s talks
17h30-19h J. Veitch 1 J. Veitch 2 C. Will 1 C. Will 2

H. Pfeiffer: Numerical Relativity – Introduction and Black Holes – SlidesExercises
C. Belczynski: GW and Binary Systems – Formation and Astrophysics
G. Wiktorowicz: GW and Binary Systems – Formation and Astrophysics (hands-on session)
J. Veitch: Binary Systems, Parameter Estimation
S. Bernuzzi: Numerical Relativity – Binaries With Neutron StarsReferences and exercices
C. Will: Testing General Relativity – Slides
Joe Romano: Stochastic Gravitational Wave BackgroundSeminar on Escher
V. Mandic: Cosmological Sources of Gravitational Waves – NotesSlides 

 Week 4 Monday 23 Tuesday 24 Wednesday 25 Thursday 26 Friday 27
9h-10h30 V. Mandic 2 N. Cornish 1 N. Cornish 2 S. Nissanke 2
11h-12h30 M. Hewitson 1 M. Hewitson 2 A. Sesana 1 A. Sesana 2
16h-17h  Student’s talks  Student’s talks M. A. Papa 1 M. A. Papa 2
17h30-19h C. Will 3 S. Nissanke 1 A. Bertoldi 1 A. Bertoldi 2

N. Cornish: Pulsar Timing
S. Nissanke: Electromagnetic Follow-Up, Techniques and results
A. Sesana: LISA Science – Slides 1Slides 2
M A Papa: Continuous wave GW searches
M Hewitson: The LISA detector – Slides 1Slides 2
A Bertoldi: Atom interferometers as GW detectors



For information, please contact the organizers.

  • Pierre-François Cohadon, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel, Paris
  • Bruce Allen, Albert Einstein Institute, Hannover
  • Marie-Anne Bizouard, Laboratoire de l’Accélérateur Linéaire, Orsay
  • Nelson Christensen, ARTEMIS, Nice



Fees will be 1800 euros.These include  registration fees, housing, breakfasts, lunchs and dinners for the whole 4 weeks, plus the lecture notes volume from Oxford UP.



We will accept applications until the school is full. We expect to give a feedback to participant acceptance early May 2018. A waiting list will be established.



You will be housed in single rooms with your own bathroom/toilets. Towels, shampoo,  soap, shower gel and hair-dryer are provided.The school also provides you with:

  • a library with the main scientific journals (paper or online) and some reference books
  • an open space with many blackboards
  • a video projector
  • an automated video capture system
  • a photocopy machine
  • Internet (wifi + hubs to connect laptops to the local network)
  • desktop computers (5 PCs) and a B&W Laser Printer
  • 3 washing machines and 3 dryers.


Please note that pets cannot be accepted.

Meals are taken at the school dining room. Drinks are not included.
Free coffee & tea is available in the bar and in the main building.

Breakfast: 7:45 am to 8:45 am ;
Lunch: 12:30 am ;
Dinner: 7:30 pm

Accompanying persons who have registered can take their meals at the restaurant (15 euros per meal).
The cafeteria has a piano, baby-foot and table tennis.



The altitude of the school is 1150 m. Temperature may range from 5°C to 25°C in summer. Sport clothes are preferable. Warm sweater(s), rain gear, good walking shoes and home shoes are necessary.

weather forecast for the next days



By plane: Geneva Airport is 1 hour drive from les Houches.

By train: Arrival at the Les Houches station, with one change at Saint-Gervais (from France), or at Martigny (from Switzerland).
There are about 10 trains per day between St Gervais and Les Houches (20mn trip).

By road: Les Houches are easily accessible from France (A41 highway), from Switzerland (Martigny and Col des Montets) and from Italy through the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

More details can be found on the Les Houches website.



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