Community profile: Federico Urban


Name: Federico Urban


Current position: Postdoc

Affiliation: CEICO, FZU Institute of Physics, Prague





What is your field of research?

Cosmology, high-energy astroparticle physics.


What is your career trajectory to date?

I've completed my PhD in the University of Ferrara, Italy, and I have ever since moved on to postdoc positions at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada; Université Libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium; KBFI, Tallinn, Estonia. In between I spent one year as a visiting researcher at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics in Oslo, Norway.


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

Where do UHECR come from? Where do astrophysical neutrinos come from? What is dark matter? What is the correct theory of Gravity?


What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

Like: the continuous challenges and changes, the perpetual learning, the internationality. Dislike: the volatility and unpredictability of the career path and opportunities.


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

Versatility, initiative, team coordination; and clarity/pedagogic skills when giving talks.


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

The detection of the GW170817 event in 2017, and the coming to life of the global multimessenger network.


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

The rotation measure data of the SKA, that will hopefully help us precisely map the Galactic extra-Galactic magnetic fields.


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

To remove barriers between researchers, in such a way that everyone would be able to reach out to a colleague who might be able to collaborate or advise on a task or project, especially when the goal is multidisciplinary.


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?

The sauna mid-winter gatherings in Estonia, the endless summer daylight in Norway, the microbrewery festivals in small towns in Belgium, and the neverending food discussions in Italy.


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

I hit the road with my bicycle or walk along the river reading a book.


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

Trekking, extreme metal music.


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

Finally understand Gravity beyond General Relativity, and pinning down the mechanism(s) that generate UHECRs and neutrinos.


What do you wish someone had told you when you were still a student? Academic life can be unforgiving: it's very important that you enjoy your research and your project, so choose carefully and stand by your choices.