IAS Program on Particle Theory

Digital Cosmology: Decoding the Universe


Prof Jean-Paul KNEIB will present our current understanding of our cosmos through a number of key observations. He will explain that new observing facilities are about to make big discoveries. However, future observing facilities will be confronted with challenges to decode the universe that will only be addressed by data science approaches and massive computing.


About the Speaker

Prof. Jean-Paul KNEIB is Professor of astrophysics and director of the EPFL Laboratory of Astrophysics (LASTRO) since 2016. His main interest in astrophysics is observational cosmology research. In particular he has been the principal investigator of the SDSS-IV/eBOSS project from 2011 to 2018 and has led the construction of the fiber positioner robotic system for the SDSS-V project. He is also leading the Consortium of Swiss participation in the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO). He is also very active in three observational collaborations which plan to constrain the nature of Dark Energy: using gravitational lensing techniques (Euclid) and galaxy clustering (DESI and 4MOST). He is also renowned for his work on gravitational lensing, a field in which he is still active with participation in the Hubble Frontier Field and contributions using the James Webb Space Telescope.

In 2017, Prof. Kneib was nominated Director of the EPFL Space Center. This center aims to educate future talents in the “space domain” and develop novel and ambitious research projects focusing on “Space Sustainability” in particular to a) develop technologies for space debris removal in support of the ClearSpace-1 mission, b) initiate research regarding the sustainable space ecosystem, and c) to implement the Space Sustainability Rating.

Prof. Kneib has been serving for many international committees: telescope time attribution committees and grant allocation committees. He has supervised more than 25 PhD students and has mentored more than 20 postdoctoral fellows. He has co-authored more than 480 referee articles.

Together with Prof. Sarah Kenderdine he has developed and curated the exhibition “Cosmos Archeology” which was first presented at the EPFL Pavilions from September 2022 to February 2023. Melding art and science, “Cosmos Archaeology: Explorations in Time and Space” reveals the depths of the Universe through physical, perceptual and sensory interaction. Harnessing technologies of immersive and interactive visualization and the visual arts, the exhibition transforms the most complex astrophysical data into sounds and images that everyone can experience. As part of the exhibition the 20-min long movie “Archaeology of Light” narrates the exploration of the Universe from the Earth orbits occupied by man-made satellites to the limits of our observable universe.

Prof. Kneib has a master degree in space technologies and a PhD in Astrophysics. After his PhD, he worked as a support astronomer, at the European Space Observatory in Chile. He has conducted research in Cambridge (UK), Toulouse, Caltech and Marseille before coming to EPFL in 2012 with an ERC advanced grant.


About the Program

For more information, please refer to the program website at http://iasprogram.ust.hk/particle_theory.


For Attendees' Attention

  • Seating is on a first come, first served basis.

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