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Previous issues of the newsletter are published below.


Name: Elena Pinetti


Current position: Postdoc


Affiliation: Recently graduated from Sorbonne and Turin Universities


Field of research: Astroparticle Physics




 

What is your career trajectory to date?

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Turin, then I did an internship at the Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Hautes Energies in Paris. Afterwards, I completed my master’s degree at the University of Turin and I recently finished my doctorate degree in a joint-programme between Sorbonne University and the University of Turin. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at Fermilab.


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

What is at the origin of dark matter? What is the mass of neutrinos? What is the source of TeV halos? Why is there more matter than antimatter? What is dark energy?


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I love our community. Being a scientist gives me the opportunity to meet wonderful colleagues and work with them in uncovering the hidden secrets of nature.

The downside of being a scientist is the uncertainty of the future.


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

I’m a very determined person, which is useful in our job. Also, I am a fast learner and I adapt very easily to new environments, which comes in handy when you move to new countries and start working in a different research group. I love organizing events and in general my natural social skills make every experience with new people very enjoyable and entertaining.


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


Typically I’m excited at the beginning of new experiences because I love changes. I was excited at the beginning of my doctorate degree because it marked the beginning of my childhood dream to become a scientist. I am excited now that I’ve just started my postdoc at Fermilab because it’s the beginning of a new adventure!


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


I would like to learn more sophisticated statistical methods to analyze data and compare with theoretical predictions.


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

I’m looking forward to the data of new telescopes, like MeerKAT and SKA, as well as e-ROSITA and CTA. I think great science will come out of them!


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

Open access to data should be a priority in our community to accelerate discoveries.


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

I think it’s important that a network like EuCAPT brings together scientists from different institutions and countries as well as highlight the work of young researchers.


What’s your favorite food?

Four cheese pizza, cannoli (a delicious pastries from the south of Italy) and profiteroles (a dessert from the north of Italy).


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?


I lived in Italy, France and now the United States. I have fond memories of every country and in particular of the people I met along the way. In the astroparticle group of Torino there is a nice tradition to celebrate new publications or promotions by drinking a glass of prosecco. In Paris it was so nice to chat with people in the hallway by looking at the Eiffel Tower from the coffee lounge. Now at Fermilab I’m building up new memories and experiences with my new colleagues and friends, like hanging out in pubs and playing pool together. I strongly believe that what makes a place special is the people that are part of your everyday life and so far I’ve been pretty lucky!


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

I like going for a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan and training at the gym. Also, I love having wine and cheese while admiring a nice sunset.


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


In my free time I love going to the theater and planning my next adventurous trip. Also, I am the President and co-founder of “Soroptimist e-club Milano Net Lead”, a national network of 40 young women focused on female empowerment and education on gender equality. Our activities include the production of educational videos, we organized “STEM” initiatives to encourage girls to enroll in scientific programs. Finally, we are supporting “Project Dignity” in South Africa, which supplies sanitary pads to students in disadvantaged villages near the Kruger National Park, so that they are less likely to drop out of school due to hygiene reasons.


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

I would have a remote job and travel the world.


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

I hope that we will discover the nature of dark matter as well as a way to solve climate change.


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


“What inspired you to pursue a career in science?”.

When I was a child, I used to watch Dexter’s Laboratories and dreamed of becoming a scientist. I’m glad I realized my childhood dream, having the privilege of working with some of the most talented colleagues and giving my contribution to our field.












Name: Andrius Tamošiūnas


Current position: Postdoc


Affiliation: University of Nottingham


Field of research: Cosmology






 

What is your career trajectory to date?

My physics journey started with an undergraduate masters degree at the University of Edinburgh (2010-2015). There I grew interested in cosmology and astroparticle physics. After a brief stint as a data scientist in the airline industry (2015-2017) I came back to academia in order to pursue a PhD in cosmology. In particular, I have worked on cosmological and astrophysical tests of modified gravity at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) at the University of Portsmouth (2017-2020). Since then, I've been extending my studies of modified gravity at the University of Nottingham, where I am a postdoctoral research associate.


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

The key questions in the field of gravity are related to the major contemporary problems in cosmology: dark energy and dark matter. In particular, can we build a self-consistent theory that explains dark matter and/or dark energy? Can we build a theory that fits all the key cosmological datasets? Similarly, can theories of modified gravity offer a valid explanation for some of the tensions (e.g. H0 tension) currently discussed in cosmology?


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I love the academic community and the ample opportunities to travel. Admittedly, though, the nomadic lifestyle of an aspiring academic can often be stressful.


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

I think the most important skills that we are taught in grad school is problem solving as well as acquiring and analysing information efficiently. I believe that these two skills can be applied in nearly every field.


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


I am glad to say that right now is the most exciting stage of my career so far. Being a postdoc offers a lot of time and freedom to work on new and exciting projects.


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


I'd love to find out more about the work of our fellow astronomers in other fields. E.g. I would love to expand my knowledge of SETI and exoplanet research.


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

I believe we are living through fascinating times as a number of observational surveys are starting operation. I am especially excited about the first results from Euclid, LSST and JWST surveys.


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

Perhaps the most important event in the last decade, when it comes to modified gravity, has been the GW 170817 neutron star merger. Along with the electromagnetic counterpart, the gravitational wave event provided some of the strongest constraints on the speed of gravitational waves, ruling out a vast set of modified gravity models overnight. I think it's fair to say that the practitioners of the field are currently looking for new models and, most importantly, novel ideas of how to deal with ever-tightening observational constraints, while still trying to keep the models relatively simple.


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

It could help the field grow and flourish by connecting researchers from different disciplines and organising international conferences.


What’s your favorite food?

Stout beer.


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


I like to read and (secretly) write bad poetry. I'm also a fan of philosophy.

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

While not directly related to my field, I would love to see more efforts devoted towards defending our planet from possibly dangerous asteroids. Recent efforts by the NASA and the Chinese National Space Science Center scientists is a promising first step towards learning how to physically deflect dangerous asteroids.







Name: Judit Pérez Romero


Current position: PhD


Affiliation: IFT UAM-CSIC


Field of research: Dark matter distribution and indirect searches



 

What is your career trajectory to date?

I finished my B.Sc. in Physics in 2016 at Universidad de Valencia. Since then, I've been in Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) & Insitituto de Física Teórica (IFT), first as a master student (2017) and now as a last year PhD candidate.


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

What is dark matter made of? How can we interact with it? How does dark matter shape the structures that we see today? Is the standard cosmological model complete?


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

There is something very fulfilling in doing something that you love, it makes every new result a big achievement, personally. We are also able to make science outreach and teach, two of the most heartwarming tasks as a scientist if you ask me.


On the other side, the academia can be very stressing, it's very stratified and competitive, so it's really important to take care of our mental health. Also, as a woman, probably one faces the "standard" biases and we need to show that we can overcome them.


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

Some very useful skills I acquired during my PhD years are flexibility and open-mindness, you need to be creative to solve problems and you need to adapt to them also!


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


I'd love to learn more about machine learning techniques and how to apply them to find dark matter.


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


Of course I'm always waiting for a hint of dark matter! I'm also very exited about the implications of new detections of gravitational waves for the standard cosmological model.


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


The investment governments give to science is really low, both for new telescopes and detectors and also to obtain stable faculty positions.


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


Being able to be in contact with so many scientist of our field encourages the creation of new ideas and new developments and it also reinforces the idea that science is collaborative, we have much more to learn if we are willing to collaborate!


What’s your favorite food?


As a valencian, I really love a good paella :)


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?


If you visit Paris and you like art, don't ever miss the oportunity to visit Musée d'Orsay!


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


Since I was little, dancing has been the easiest and most pleasing way to reconnect with myself. Also being at home with my cats is one of my greatest pleasures.


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


I also love to play videogames, specially Pokemon!


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


Probably I will be at a greek island taking care of a cat sanctuary.


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


Being able to live the first clear detection of dark matter will be life-changing for me.