In the early 60’s Cosmology started a formidable phase of expansion, and has attracted an ever bigger number of scientists since then. The Cargèse School, in 1972, was an enormous success. In attendance were great names of Cosmology coming not only from England and the United States, such as Schucking, Silk, Steigman, Harrison, Rees, Ellis, and others, but also some European ones, particularly professor Hagedorn, who was very successful at the time with his theory that postulated the existence of a maximum temperature inducing a new perspective on the singularity of the standard model.
During the year of 1976, the Brazilian Center for Research in Physics went through radical changes. The CBPF started its new phase with the arrival of Antonio César Olinto, designated as head of the new CBPF/CNPq. It was within this framework of renewal that Cosmology conquered its space and came forth as a new area of the endeavors of CBPF. The head of the CBPF agreed to grant financial and institutional support to the First Brazilian School of Cosmology and Gravitation, which would later be known by its English title as Brazilian School of Cosmology and Gravitation when it went international, therefore acquiring the acronym BSCG.
This School was divided into two parts, involving basic programs that lasted a full week, and advanced seminars whose classes could be limited to one up to three sessions at most. Interestingly enough, the BSCG is structured as such, to date.
The budget of the School was very small, as it was basically funded by the CBPF. However, the enthusiasm of the students was such that turned it into a major success, contrary to the pessimistic forecast of various colleagues. The willpower on the part of the students greatly encouraged the staff, who then produced a student-teacher interaction that lingered on as a hallmark and operated as a trigger for CBPF’s director to convince the relevant authorities (CNPq, Capes) to provide the funds in the subsequent year for the 2nd School, much more complete and administratively more organized than the 1st.
Both the 1st and the 2nd School (held respectively in 1978 and 1979) were a means to consolidate the basic structure of Gravitational Theory for our young physicists, as well as the crucial mathematical tools and techniques for a better understanding of the General Theory of Relativity. Besides this basic endeavor, some crucial concepts of theories that are correlated with Gravitation and the General Theory of Relativity involving rudiments of the Unified Theories and some basic aspects of Relativistic Astrophysics were discussed. This may be confirmed with an overview of the course programs offered for the 2nd School.
In the 3rd and 4th Schools (held in 1982 and 1984, respectively), notions of Astrophysics presented in the previous Schools were elaborated. Furthermore, there was a focus on the study of the Theory of Elementary Particles and its last association with the so-called Standard Model of Cosmology, identified with the notion of an explosive and hot start for the Universe (known in the literature as the Hot Big Bang Hypothesis).
In 1987, the 5th School of Cosmology and Gravitation could increase the knowledge base and the analysis presented in the previous Schools, thus evolving to a broader and deeper debate of the feasible potencial alternatives to explain the large scale behavior of the Universe. Back then, courses based on the Standard Model were presented, as well as several talks dealing with the idea of an Eternal Universe, without beginning or end. Besides these specific approaches, the relation between Quantum Physics and Gravitation was examined in detail. Though this union is still far from being complete, the basic ideas involving quantum principles of gravitation were presented in the 5th School that were later developed in the 6th School.
The 5th School was also the first one opened to the international scientific community: researchers and students from twenty-four (24) countries were enrolled and, from that 5th edition onward, the School’s name became international and it was then renamed as the Brazilian School of Cosmology and Gravitation. The lectures presented there also reflected this internationalization.
The 10th School was held in July 2002, and involved scientists from 16 countries. At that moment, the BSCG consolidated its tendency to open the exam of non-conventional issues not only in Cosmology but also in related areas. This tendency continues to this day.
To know more about the BSCG, download the booklet BSCG 30 years (PDF)