Community Profile: Ottavio Fornieri

Name: Ottavio Fornieri

Current position: Postdoc

Affiliation: Gran Sasso Science Institute

Field of research: Cosmic-ray acceleration and propagation theory


What is your career trajectory to date?

I did my Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics within a joint project between Italy and Spain, earning my doctoral title in 2021. Before ending it, in December 2020, I moved to DESY Zeuthen as a Research Associate, until September 2021. I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in Gran Sasso Science Institute, in L'Aquila (Italy).

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

1. The propagation of cosmic rays in our Galaxy is still up to debate. The overall picture is agreed upon: diffusion is likely the result of charged particles scattering off turbulent magnetic fluctuations. However, various insights from plasma physics suggest that what were earlier thought to be the scattering centers for cosmic rays are probably not efficient enough. Therefore this made the cosmic-ray propagation process a widely open question. 2. Another exciting problem is how cosmic rays are get accelerated up to PeV energies, in light of the recent evidence coming from dense star forming regions.

What do you like and dislike about being a scientist?

I need the pleasure of the discovery, the whole investigation process that leads to all the pieces of a puzzle to match up together. I sometimes dislike the (mostly unhealthy) competition among groups that should be operating towards the same achievements.

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

I am good at digging very deep into a specific problem, until I can comprehend it under different perspectives that, at the beginning, seemed to be unrelated to each other.

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

I would like to learn how to run and analyze plasma-turbulence simulations (MHD/Hybrid).

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

I am studying to understand the physics of propagating magnetic fluctuations in the plasma - which modes can propagate, their potential damping mechanisms, etc.

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

Learning numerical techniques.

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

I think it is of outstanding importance to bring together people who, on the other hand, are used to compete. Science is not a competition.

What’s your favorite food?


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

I love listening to live music in a pub. I read a lot and go to the cinema.

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


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

I would have liked to be a historian, probably.

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

The origin of UHECRs is one open question that seems to be solved in the next years.