Every night the beauty of nature occupies the sky with a fascinating view of our universe. How many mysteries are still to be revealed?

Gravitational waves are among the most interesting phenomena predicted by General relativity, Einstein's theory of gravity, and I am really glad to be involved in such an attractive field. My name is Serena Vinciguerra and I am one of the early stage researchers supported by the European Marie Curie project "GraWIToN". At the beginning of November I started my collaborative work on the detection of gravitational waves by ground based detectors at Birmingham University. This is a particularly exciting period for gravitational wave research, indeed a new generation of interferometers (advanced LIGO and Virgo, KAGRA) will soon be ready to collect new data with an increased potential for discovery. These instrumental updates open up new possibilities which have to be supported by innovative and effective data analysis projects. I’m involved in one of the most fascinating branches of these analyses, in my opinion. During these few months my work has had the purpose of speeding up the algorithm aimed at the detection of gravitational waves emitted by compact binary coalescences. These astrophysical systems are composed by two extremely massive objects, like neutron stars and black holes; they are among the most promising sources for ground based interferometers.

At the School of Physics and Astronomy of Birmingham University I have found a very active environment, where people coming from different parts of the world have the pleasure of collaborating to improve our knowledge
of the Universe. Meetings and talks are the order of the day making this place very fruitful and full of new ideas. It is an ideal environment to follow astronomy and physical passions while developing culturally.

The scientific community is composed of people with different experiences and backgrounds but all of them are very available and happy to help. I am also very impressed by the fresh environment and by the attention that is given here to the young generation. An incredible amount of opportunities to improve our abilities and knowledge are proposed: discussion activities, presentations, collaborative events, teaching and so on. The School of Physics and Astronomy offers a very broad range of fascinating subjects, which are often presented with talks to create a common background for everyone.

The many different cultures, beautifully mixed together, are an important inspiration for the creation of such a rich academic life. This is one of the main reasons why people should move and travel, to share their own cultures and learn about others.

I think that my generation and the following should feel part of “our homeland Europe” (“la nostra patria Europa” -cit De Gasperi, 1954). Europe is more than politics, it should become our community. The Marie Curie project, which is supporting my PhD at Birmingham University, illustrates this idea well. It means not only economic support but also the opportunity to participate in various activities, from talks and presentations to charity events, such as the recent cake sale for Birmingham Children's Hospital.

In light of this European idea, I hope that this and similar projects will be broadcasted and valued even more in the near future. I hope that this international experience will open up new opportunities for me for the future, maybe to continue working in this research field and hopefully again in Italy.

Whatever the future will hold I am sure that this period of my life will be very important for me, as it will for for all the people who have the courage and the opportunity to engage in similar adventures.

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