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Previous issues of the newsletter are published below.

  • Andrew Taylor

Dear All,


Continuing our regular EuCAPT newsletters, this is our May issue.

The newsletter aim here is to keep you informed of recent/upcoming

theoretical astroparticle physics related developments, with focus on Europe.


General EuCAPT News:

A successful inaugural EuCAPT symposium!:

https://home.cern/news/news/physics/connecting-smallest-and-largest-scales

EuCAPT white paper: https://www.eucapt.org/white-paper (preparatory activities for this presently taking place in EuCAPT mattermost channel) Recent Press Releases: The discovery by LHAASO of the first PeV gamma-ray sources in the Galaxy: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03498-z


Upcoming Events/Conferences/Workshops:

The EuCAPT webpage provides an up-to-date list of upcoming astroparticle

physics events: https://www.eucapt.org/events

Please note in particular the upcoming meetings:

https://www.cosmologyfromhome.com/registration (5-16 July, abstract submission by 25th May)

https://icrc2021.desy.de/ (12-23 July, ICRC, Germany)

https://www.eps-hep2021.eu/ (26-30 July 2021, EPS-HEP Conference)

https://congresos.adeituv.es/TAUP2021 (30 Aug- 3 Sep 2021, TAUP2021)


Upcoming Seminars Calendar:

A list of virtual meetings are provided on our calendar:

https://www.eucapt.org/virtual-meetings


2021 Summer Schools:

ISAPP 2021, Gamma Rays + Dark Matter, Madrid (20-29 Jun):

https://workshops.ift.uam-csic.es/isapp2020madrid

NBIA International PhD Summer School on Neutrinos, Copenhagen (5-9 Jul):

http://www.nbia.dk/neutrino2021

ISAPP 2021, Neutrino Physics, Astrophysics, and Cosmology, Valencia (22-30 Jul):

https://isapp2020vlc.astroparticles.es/

Les Houches Summer School on Dark Matter (26 Jul- 20 Aug):

https://indico.cern.ch/e/LHDM2021

International Neutrino Summer School, CERN (2-13 Aug):

https://indico.cern.ch/e/inss2021


Training Possibilties

If you wish to post information about training opportunities for students or young

researchers (summer and winter schools, PhD or postdoctoral openings, etc), please

send us an email with the relevant information to the address eucapt.info@gmail.com

(with “training” in the subject).


Discussion Forum

We invite you to join our EuCAPT discussion forum on mattermost:

https://mattermost.web.cern.ch/signup_user_complete/?id=6yahxjphjfrizczk1dwcprqnje

This has been set up to facilitate open discussion within our EuCAPT community.


Job Opportunities:

Our mattermost channel provides a list of job advertisements:

https://mattermost.web.cern.ch/eucapt/channels/job-ads


To facilitate information flow around our community, please feel to contact us with any information that you feel maybe suitable for circulation in future newsletters (eucapt.info@gmail.com). In particular, we encourage the community to indicate to us upcoming conferences and events which they would like us to advertise.


All the best,

Andrew (on behalf of the EuCAPT SC)

  • Nikolina Šarčević

Name: Deanna C. Hooper Current position: Postdoc


Affiliation: Université Libre de Bruxelles


Field of research: Early Universe Cosmology



What is your career trajectory to date?

I did a Bachelor's degree in Physics (with a mention in Fundamental Physics) at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain), graduating in 2014. After that I did a Master's Degree in Astroparticle Physics and Cosmology at the RWTH Aachen University (Germany), graduating in 2016, and I wrapped up my studies with a PhD in Cosmology also at the RWTH Aachen University (Germany), defending in 2019. After completing my PhD in 2019 I started my first postdoc position at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium).


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

The biggest and most fun question for me is the nature of Dark Matter; we have so many ideas for Dark Matter, and we are gradually developing ways of testing these ideas. I also think the Hubble tension is one of the biggest mysteries currently. And of course the question of what we are going to learn with gravitational waves.


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I like the feeling of discovery and of constantly learning new things. On the other hand, sometimes you can be stuck on a problem or calculation for ages, and that's rather frustrating, but when you manage to solve it, it's very rewarding.


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

I'm proud of my outreach skills: helping people without a background in science understand complicated scientific ideas is extremely fun. I think the most useful skill nowadays is some level of coding and numerics.


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

There's been a lot of moments that have gotten me excited, but my favourite was on the 11th February 2016, when the first gravitational wave detection was announced. It really felt like we were entering a whole new era for cosmology.


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

I would like to improve my coding skills, and learn how to apply these skills to study early universe processes such as primordial gravitational waves.


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

I'm looking forward to the next generation of experiments: both CMB missions like CMB-S4 and gravitational wave mission like LISA have the potential to really help us address some of the biggest questions in the field.


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

In short-term scales, probably the on-going pandemic. So many conferences and networking opportunities have been canceled, which has reduced the overall amount of new collaborations. Additionally, almost everyone is dealing with some level of anxiety, stress, or fatigue because of the last year, and many scientists have additional family responsibilities or concerns that make usual work very difficult.


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

Such a network can help people come together and find possible collaborations. Especially for early career researches who might not have established connections, it is important to have an easy way to find other people who work on similar topics.


What’s your favorite food?

I have a sweet tooth, so pretty much anything covered in chocolate. Chocolate caramel brownies are always a good choice.


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've lived in a couple of countries, and they all have their special charm. I have very fond memories of the quirky individual town celebrations in Catalunya, with all the community coming together and dancing and singing.


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

Usually with a good sci-fi show or film. Or baking something sweet.


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

I love all kinds of puzzles, and I do enjoy doing origami a lot.


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

I'd probably be working for a non-profit helping animals.


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

I hope we can create a more diverse and inclusive scientific community, which fosters collaboration and values people's wellbeing. I would also like to see a revolution in the scientific job market, potentially offering early career scientists better job security.


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

I would have liked to be asked "If you feel comfortable disclosing them, what are your pronouns?", and my answer would have been she/her.




  • Nikolina Šarčević

Name: Sunny Vagnozzi


Current position: Postdoc


Affiliation: Kavli Institute for Cosmology, University of Cambridge





What is your field of research?

Officially a cosmologist, but really I work at the boundary of cosmology, astrophysics, and astroparticle physics, often moving across these fields, and touching both theory and data.


What is your career trajectory to date?

Undergrad at the University of Trento in Italy 2009-2012, Erasmus exchange student at Imperial College in the UK 2012-2013, Master's in Theoretical Particle Physics at the University of Melbourne in Australia 2013-2014, long-term visiting researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute 2014-2015. Then I did my PhD at the Oskar Klein Centre, Stockholm University, from 2015 to 2019 with Katie Freese being my advisor. And finally in late 2019 I moved to the University of Cambridge here in the UK, where I've got roughly one more year to go (unfortunately I already need to apply for a new job in the fall!)


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

Without question the nature of dark matter and dark energy. Not only their nature, but also what are the best ways to detect and learn about them. From this point of view the field of searches for DM is, from my perspective, decades ahead of DE, and one important question/research direction (which I'm involved in) should aim to close or at least reduce this gap. At the cost of sounding cliche I'll also say an exciting open question is the Hubble tension, because I see it as an opportunity to learn more about our dark components (if you believe the tension is there, that is!).


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I like the fact that at least in my field we ponder some of the most fundamental questions ever to be raised by humankind, such as "What are we (the Universe) made of?", "How did it all begin?", "Where are we (the Universe) going?". This is no cliche. I also like the freedom to choose what to work on, at what pace (though collaborators can put pressure sometimes!), when, and so on. I dislike the fact that at my career stage there is zero stability and job security and one has to constantly (every 2-3 years) move around and often start over again. It's nice insofar as you get to experience new places and new cultures, but for many people it may not be sustainable, at least not in the long run. If I ever get a permanent position that's something I will try to do something about.


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

I guess I'm pretty good at coding in Python (and somewhat less good, but still good, in Fortran).


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

I was really excited when the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) released their "image" of M87*. I still find the image stunning. Besides the excitement of having been able to "visualize" a black hole (note the quotation marks), I was excited by the prospects this opened towards probing either gravity in the strong-field regime, or exotic near-horizon physics which appear either in quantum gravity frameworks or attempts to solve the black hole information paradox. I worked on some of these aspects right after EHT released their image.


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

Does grant writing count as a skill? No seriously there are so many things professional physicists are expected to know how to do, but were never formally trained at. So yeah I would totally say grant writing.


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

I look forward to more results from the Event Horizon Telescope or its successor ngEHT. Then I look forward to more precise CMB polarization data, which will help us better test proposed solutions to the Hubble tension. And finally I look forward to future CMB missions failing to detect neutrino masses despite all the promises of ~3-4 sigma detections. Not because I'm a mean person, but because once you've ruled out systematics that would be unambiguous indication for new physics in the neutrino sector and/or the dark sector, which I think would be really exciting. And my bet is that this is indeed what will happen (we'll fail to detect neutrino masses), but we'll see 5-10 years whether I'm right.


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

There are scientific obstacles I prefer not to talk about, but if I move beyond the science, then there are at least three problems. Too many useless Zoom meetings and useless emails. Too much job instability/insecurity at the postdoc level. Too much useless admin stuff to attend to. Mind you, this is my personal take! Probably somebody at a different seniority level would give you different answers (though if I am already finding admin overburdening, I can only imagine how it must be for a more senior person).


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 too early for me to make a prediction, we'll really find out once the pandemic is over. But I would say so far so good.


What’s your favorite food?

This is a tough one. As an Italian I'm used to eating very well. But if I must choose one, then I'll be very specific and say "paccheri ai gamberoni rossi". But a very specific version of it, the one which is cooked at the restaurant "Le Due Sorelle" in Terracina, Italy. Short of that I absolutely adore duck, particularly with bamboo shoots and chinese mushrooms.


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've lived in Italy, Denmark, and Sweden. I have very fond memories of Sweden, it's really my second home. The thing I found surprising in Sweden is their obsession with coffee breaks ("fika"). Seriously, sometimes it looks to me like for admin people work is a break for fika, not the other way around (and yet when you take into account all these breaks they are rather efficient)!


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

I relax with my wife, play my violin, listen to music (Bach is my favorite composer) go for walks nearby, watch series on Netflix (I'm currently watching "Community"), and read a nice book. Oh, and especially cook. I love cooking and I love being creative in the kitchen. Some of my most creative cooking ideas occur to me at ~10 pm (most of them would result in my Italian citizenship being revoked).


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

I've been playing the violin since the age of 5, and I still do regularly. It really helps with my relaxation and creativity. Besides that I also enjoy scuba diving. And I'm a Juve fan, so I pretty much watch most of their games.


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

When I was a child I wanted to be either a bus driver (like my grandfather) or a road tunnel builder (I still have a thing for road tunnels). My ambitions have changed now, so I think if I were not a scientist I would be either a violinist or a sports journalist.


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

Find evidence for life beyond Earth. Find out what dark matter and dark energy are. Detect primordial gravitational waves.


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

Given the question on my favorite food, I would have expected a question on my favorite book or writer. In that case I would absolutely go for the "His Dark Materials" trilogy (and the related "Book of Dust" trilogy) by Philip Pullman. Pullman's writing strongly influenced my choice to do research precisely in this field, and so did the writing of another renown Oxfordian writer, Lewis Carroll.