Community Profile: Matthieu Schaller

Name: Matthieu Schaller

Current position: Faculty

Affiliation: Lorentz Institute & Leiden Observatory

Field of research: Numerical simulations of the large-scale structure. Effect of baryons on cosmology probes.


What is your career trajectory to date?

BSc + MSc physics - EPFL, Lausanne Switzerland, 2006 - 2011

PhD student - Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham UK, 2011-2015

PDRA - Institute for Computational Cosmology, Durham UK, 2016 - 2017

VENI Post-doctoral fellow - Leiden Observatory, Leiden NL, 2018 - 2020

University Lecturer - Lorentz Institute & Leiden Observatory, Leiden NL, 2021 - now

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

- Understanding galaxy formation well enough to constrain cosmology with late-time probes. - The role, nature, and evolution of primordial magnetic fields.

- The nature of dark matter.

What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I like the freedom to do what I want; the opportunities to meet amazing people and travel to exciting places. I also enjoy pushing the boundaries of what we understand as a community.

I dislike the time we spend dealing with proposal and application writing.

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

Scientifically: Skills related to parallel programming and ease of use of tools related to high-end high-performance computing.

Personally: Making a pretty decent chocolate mousse.

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

The first time we completed a large simulation with our cosmological code.

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

Better knowledge of Dutch.

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

- Measuring the mass of the neutrino particle from the LSS

- %-level measurement of the Hubble constant from GW standard sirens.

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

The delays in the launch of the Euclid mission.

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

Providing networking opportunities mostly for early career scientists. Serve as a forum to exchange ideas.

What’s your favorite food?

Cheese fondue (with the perfect cheese mix that I am happy to point people towards).

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 was surprised by the amount of socializing and even work that takes place in pubs across England. Something I have learnt to embrace and would miss.

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

Go for a cycling tour through the fields.

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

Airline pilot.

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

- Actually usable quantum computers

- Unambiguous beyond standard model physics

- Nuclear fusion producing energy.