The aim of this school is to teach to the European astronomical community how to observe with the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), a new European facility soon in operation. The expected performance of the VLTI and its instruments will be unique in terms of flux sensitivity and angular resolution, because of the large collecting area of the 8-m and 1.8-m telescopes and multiple baselines up to 200 metters.
The interferometry techniques are not yet widely taught in graduate schools all over Europe and attending such a school is almost the unique way to learn how to observe efficiently with the VLTI. We wish the European community to be ready for the first observations that will start at the end of 2002 since this field is extremely competitive with the advent of another large interferometer in the United States. The scientific outcome will at the level of the VLTI performance only if the astronomers get prepared to interferometric observations and if the specialists in interferometry transmit their knowledge.
This winter school is essential to keep Europeans in the scientific race for discoveries. The financial support from Europe will be used to ensure that any student and scientist from any institutes can afford the school, since we will try to cover the overall cost including housing and travel. The selection of the participants will be organized so that a maximum of European institutes can send at least one representative to the school, with an emphasis on young researchers.