Research in Astrophysics

Research and ongoing PhD theses are listed below. We acknowledge support and participation to Projects & Grants.


PhDs in Cosmic Microwave Background and Early Universe

Early Universe is nowadays probed with unprecedented precision by Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) and Large Scale Structure (LSS) experiments. This poses severe challenges to our comprehension of the physical processes occurred in the Early Universe, as well as the nature of the Dark Cosmological Components. For what concerns CMB, the SISSA Astrophysics group led by Carlo Baccigalupi, Francesca Perrotta, is directly in operating (Simons Array, Planck) and planned experiments (Simons Observatory, S4, LiteBird). Also, Carlo Baccigalupi coordinates the activities on cross-correlation between CMB and LSS for the forthcoming European Space Agency satellite, Euclid. Here below the list of available and ongoing PhD thesis projects on these matters. Support to these researches is given by the EU H2020 RadioForeground Grant (Simons Array, Simons Observatory), the ASI-COSMOS network of the Italian Space Agency (Simons Array, Simons Observatory), the INFN Indark Initiative (all projects), the 2015 PRIN (Euclid).

PIs: Carlo Baccigalupi, Francesca Perrotta


Galaxy Formation and Evolution

Our team aims at investigating the complex processes leading to the formation and evolution of galaxies, galaxy systems, and supermassive black holes in a cosmological framework. To this purpose, we develop physical models to interpret and understand the wealth of current observations concerning galaxies, black holes, and active galactic nuclei over the whole electromagnetic spectrum and across cosmic times. We are strongly focused on the cosmological exploitation of galaxy survey data to help understanding the nature of dark matter, dark energy, and gravity.

PIs: Andrea LAPI, Luigi DANESE

Main collaborators in SISSA: Carlo BACCIGALUPI (AP), Alessandro BRESSAN (AP), Annalisa CELOTTI (AP), Adriana LORENZO-CACERES (AP postdoc), Francesca PERROTTA (AP), Paolo SALUCCI (AP), Riccardo VALDARNINI (AP), Matteo Viel (APP).

Main collaborators outside SISSA: Matthieu BETHERMIN (LAM, Marsiglia, France), Zhen-Yi CAI (Univ. of Hefei, China), Alfonso CAVALIERE & Roberto FUSCO-FEMIANO (INAF-IAPS, Rome, Italy), Joaquin GONZALEZ-NUEVO (Univ. Oviedo, Spain), Marcella MASSARDI (INAF-IRA, Bologna, Italy), Mattia NEGRELLO (Univ. Cardiff, UK), Isabella PRANDONI (INAF-IRA, Bologna, Italy), Francesco SHANKAR (Univ. Southampton, UK).

Recent former students: Jingjing SHI (Univ. Beijing, China and Univ. Perth, Australia), Federico BIANCHINI (Univ.Melbourne, Australia), Claudia MANCUSO (INAF-IRA, Bologna,Italy), Rossella AVERSA (CNR, Trieste,Italy).

Involvement in international projects: Athena, Euclid, Herschel, eLISA, SKA.

Financial support: PRIN MIUR, 2015 Euclid grant, PRIN INAF, 2017 SKA grant, EU H2020, RadioForeground Grant, ASI-COSMOS network, INFN QGSKY, and InDARK Initiatives,Spanish MINECO I+D 2015 project.

Main research topics and available thesis projects:
  • Galaxy formation

    - coevolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes

    - analysis and interpretation of sub-mm, far-IR, and radio survey data

    - the origin of angular momentum in galaxies

    - chemical and dust production in galaxies

    - gravitational waves from galaxy and supermassive black hole mergers


  • Dark matter halos

    - halo statistics via excursion set formalism

    - models for dynamical relaxation of halos

    - dark matter distribution via weak and strong gravitational lensing

    - simulated halo catalogs


  • Cosmology, gravity and large-scale structure

    - cosmic reionization history

    - cross-correlation studies of CMB and LSS observables

    - probing dark energy and gravity via weak gravitational lensing

    - foreground cleaning of CMB maps and delensing


  • Galaxy clusters

    - thermodynamics of the intracluster medium

    - astrophysics of cluster outskirts

    - AGN feedback in groups and clusters

    - thermal conduction and turbulence in clusters


Dark Matter

Dark matter is a main protagonist in Cosmology. Its presence, proven by observations, implies the existence of physics yet undiscovered, moreover such a component is likely to rule the formation and the evolution of any Cosmological Structure. In galaxies, groups and clusters of glaxies, the observed ordinary baryonic matter, gas and stars, had, over the whole history of the Universe, a complex interplay with this invisible component. The detailed lines of research are:


Gravitation theory

Almost 100 years after Einstein introduced General Relativity, the theory still remains puzzling. Systems were gravity is strong, such as compact stars and black holes, and the phenomena taking place in their vicinity can provide new insight in both astrophysics and fundamental physics. The thorny issues of quantum gravity and potentially even classical deviations from General Relativity are most pertinent than ever. The gravity theory group at SISSA is active in the following directions:


High Energy Astrophysics

The formation and the evolution of extremely compact stellar objects and Black Holes in the Universe are signaled by exceptional phenomena such as production of particles accelerated to energies much higher than those reachable by the most powerful accelerators on Earth. Often these particles are collimated in extremely energetic jets. Extraordinary X-ray and gamma-ray luminosity is also associated with these objects. High Energy Astrophysics is devoted to study the extremely energetic phenomena occurring in the Universe, in order to understand these extraordinary cosmic settings and to test the fundamental physics at its frontiers.


Large Scale Structure

Present Large Scale Structure and Galaxy Cluster simulations in cosmology are compared with data from existing and planned (Euclid) surveys, allowing to gain unprecedented insight into the role of hydrodynamics, the main properties and dynamics of the Dark Matter and Dark Energy, as well as to constrain Gravity Modifications. The LSS group at SISSA is active in the following directions:


Stellar Structure and Evolution

Stellar evolution keeps a unique role for deciphering the visible properties of the universe, from the solar neighborhoods to the primeval galaxies. A new Renaissance for the stellar structure theory is approaching, due to the challenging results of asteroseismology, that are disclosing the invisible star's secrets. Our group is involved in the following research topics: