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Previous issues of the newsletter are published below.


Name: Antonio Stamerra


Current position: Faculty


Affiliation: Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF, Roma) and Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS)


Field of research: The main field of research is the gamma-ray astronomy, performed with Cherenkov telescopes to investigate themes of high energy astrophysics and cosmic-rays production.


 

What is your career trajectory to date?

I have followed the usual path of many colleagues, with a PhD obtained in 2001 at the University of Turin, and a series of postdoc positions at the University of Siena, at DESY-Zeuthen, to the INFN in Pisa, to land eventually at the INAF Observatory in Rome. During this evolution, I did contribute and participate in the MAGIC collaboration at different stages of science and managing activities, and I am presently the scientific coordinator of the collaboration.


What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?

The very high-energy Universe is a book that is providing several fresh twists in its plot which develops through the basic processes in violent phenomena, like gamma-ray bursts, active galactic nuclei, and the sites of production of cosmic rays (the Pevatrons). Putting the pieces together is an engaging challenge: how does gamma-ray production happen in jetted sources (GRB, AGN) and how can they be used to better understand other processes like gravitational waves, the cosmic voids (IGMF, EBL), and the evolution of the Universe? How can we identify the sources producing high-energy neutrinos through their gamma-ray emission? How can we proceed with the investigation of dark matter through gamma-rays, given the present contraints that limit the parameter space of CDM?


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

The interaction with motivated people and tackling together fundamental questions on how the energetic Universe works are definitely the most stimulating part of my work. The possibility to inform the people about our advances, through the outreach activities, is also an important aspect. Still, our activity is also burdened by some formal tasks, related to coordination, funding calls, and other bureaucratic duties, which, although some of them needed to support the research, are also time-consuming and definitely less appealing.


Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?

Scientifically I feel comfortable when dealing with data from different instruments, and trying to get a common view and a more general interpretation of such different sets. From the coordination side, I like dealing with people and trying to solve problems happening when a project is carried on by ethereogenoeus groups, sometimes with different views or approaches to the same problems.


What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?


I have two main results that I am waiting for in the next years. The possibility to detect gamma-ray emission over tenths of GeV from gravitational waves counterparts, and enlarging the volume of the Universe explorable through gamma-rays. The detection of GW with gamma-rays would offer a new view of the processes leading to the afterglow emission. The lowering of the energy threshold by the next Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) will offer the opportunity to observe blazars, AGN, and GRB at larger distances (z>~1) and to verify the impact of the most energetic processes in the cosmological evolution.


What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?


The formal appointment to projects and funding calls not strictly related to my field are definitely affecting the time I can offer to more engaging and interesting topics related to my research interests.


What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?


The possibility of cross-fertilization and research exchange between the Astroparticle and Cosmology will give the opportunity to the two different communities to look at similar problems differently and to overcome the usual barrier between groups working with different methods and sometimes even different terminology.


What’s your favorite food?


Food is connected and enlightens the culture of the society where it is prepared. I do not have a single preference, but whatever is done with care deserves my attention!


Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?


At present, I try to dedicate my time to playing tennis and watching movies with my family. Not all of them unfortunately succeed when tough deadlines need to be met.


If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing?


No idea...


What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?


I am sure that a common wish by many of us is to understand what dark matter and dark energy are and to provide a coherent theory including them. Still, I find intriguing the possibility to reach little (but still important) goals, such us the measurement of the IGMF, a clear determination of the sources of high-energy neutrinos and the characterization of the properties of GRB and GW that bring to the emission of very high energy gamma-rays.



























Name: Saniya Heeba


Current position: Postdoc


Affiliation: Recently graduated from RWTH Aachen University


Field of research: Dark Matter Phenomenology



 

What is your career trajectory to date?

I started off as an undergraduate physics student at Miranda House, University of Delhi in 2013. I moved to RWTH Aachen University in Germany in 2016 for my Master’s and stayed on for my PhD (2018-2021). I’m currently an MSI fellow at McGill University in Canada.


What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?

You can't work in dark matter and not answer this question with anything but the true nature of dark matter! At this point, pinning down what dark matter is, appears to be a test of human creativity as well as tenacity, which is extremely exciting.


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I like that we have the freedom to ask the very fundamental of questions about nature, pursue ideas and work with a diverse community of people on an equally diverse set of problems. I don’t like the inherent precarity of an early-career academic life and the isolation and anxieties that come with it.


Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?

I’ve been turning my projects into comics (and most recently an animation!) for the last couple of years and picking up some digital art skills has been very fun.


What new skills would you like to learn in the next year?


I would like to explore the astrophysical side of dark matter phenomenology, such as how we can use stars as dark matter laboratories. Somewhat relatedly, I want to learn more about the behaviour of dark matter within a plasma. I’d like to improve my coding skills in pursuit of these ideas.


What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?


I’m very excited to see where the DM theory frontier takes us in the next couple of years. We already have several brilliant ideas to probe dark matter at different scales but there is still room for a lot more! On the observational side, I’m eager to see new results from various direct detection, accelerator and axion experiments. Maybe dark matter is *really* just around the corner this time :p


What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?


~*Gestures vaguely at the world*~

But to be specific, I would say that apart from the pandemic—which has drained all of us to varying extents— the steady rise of hate groups across the world and the normalisation of violence against a lot of communities (including mine) has slowed down my research quite a bit.


What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?


EuCAPT, as a community network, is an ideal place to foster collaborations, create mentorship networks, as well as provide support to scholars from marginalised backgrounds.


What’s your favorite food?


One can never go wrong with a steaming cup of chai and a plate of biryani.


Have you lived in a different European country than you do now? If so, would you like to tell us something about it, e.g. a fond memory or something you found surprising?


Before moving to Canada, I lived in Aachen, Germany, for about five years.

The day after I moved to Aachen, I was supposed to meet my landlady at a cafe which was turning out to be impossible to find. In the end, I gave up and asked a stranger for help. He didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any German but he figured out what I was saying and graciously walked me to the right cafe. The day before I left Aachen, I was aimlessly wandering the streets when a stranger approached me asking for directions to a restaurant. My german having only marginally improved in the intervening 5 years, I ended up walking him to it. As someone who is obsessed with finding narrative structure in the most ridiculous of things, these incidents were the perfect bookends to my stay in Germany.


How do you like to relax after a hard day of work?


I read (a little of everything but I have a soft spot for fantasy), write (stories, pop-sci articles, thinly disguised rants) or make “art” (aka doodles of dubious quality).


Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?


Basically the things I answered for the previous question.


If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing?


I'd probably be a teacher.


What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?


The dream would, of course, be to see a clear DM signal in one of the many experiments we currently have running. Apart from that, I would love to see our community embody the principles of equity and inclusion and foster an environment where researchers from all backgrounds can truly thrive.


What question would you have liked us to ask you, and what would you have responded?


(For shameless self-promotion reasons) I’d have liked to be asked whether I had a website or a social media handle, and I would have answered with a link to my website: https://saniyaheeba.com.





























Name: Jaiyul Yoo


Current position: Faculty


Affiliation: University of Zürich


Field of research: Cosmology



 

What is your career trajectory to date?

Seoul - Ohio State - Harvard - Berkeley - Zürich.


What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?

Origin of the Universe.


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

Scientists' ability to reason and freedom to choose research topics. There is not much to dislike, but maybe we are all too focused all the time?


Which of your skills are you most proud of, or find most useful?

Analytical and numerical computational skills are always useful in many aspects.


In your career so far, at what point were you the most excited, and what were you excited about?


In general I get much excited when I find an answer to the question I have been thinking a lot. For example, when I understood the gauge-invariance of the cosmological observables, the lensing rotation in the presence of gravity waves is a coordinate artifact, the observed CMB temperature is not the background CMB temperature.


What new skills would you like to learn in the next year?


xAct + Mathematica.


What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?


2nd order relativistic calculations of all the cosmological observables.


What is the biggest obstacle that is slowing down your research field right now?


In cosmology, we need a theoretical guidance beyond LCDM.


What role do you think a community network like EuCAPT can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology in Europe?


Network.


What’s your favorite food?


No strong preference.


Have you lived in a different European country than you do now? If so, would you like to tell us something about it, e.g. a fond memory or something you found surprising?


Only Switzerland in Europe.


How do you like to relax after a hard day of work?


Running or meditation, but mostly busy with family.


Do you have any non-physics interests that you would like to share?


These days I spend a lot of time learning hoch Deutsch. A new language is not for a busy scientist, unfortunately.


If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing?


Programming.


What do you hope to see accomplished scientifically in the next 50 years?


I believe that low energy gravity is GR, but there exist many strange aspects in LCDM. Falsify LCDM, maybe?