Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology

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

The Early Universe

Research programs in Cosmic Microwave Background and Large Scale Structure are available here.

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 (APC), Alessandro BRESSAN (APC), Annalisa CELOTTI (APC), Luigi DANESE (APC), Darko DONEVSKI (APC Postdoc), Anna FELTRE (APC Postdoc), Francesca PERROTTA (AP), Paolo SALUCCI (AP), Riccardo VALDARNINI (APC), 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).

Ph.D. students: Lumen BOCO, Lara PANTONI, Tommaso RONCONI, Sabyasachi GOSWAMI, Anirban ROY

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, Einstein Telescope.

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 stellar 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

    - 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 recent detection of Gravitational Waves from Black-Hole and Neutron Star systems opens unprecedented windows on the regime of strong gravity, and enforces the need to study emitters and progenitors in astrophysical systems. Moreover, the thorny issues of quantum gravity and potentially even classical deviations from General Relativity are most pertinent than ever. The 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, and to the beginning of the multi-messenger astronomy with the detection of gravitational waves from merging compact stellar remnants and their follow-ups.

PI: Alessandro Bressan

Main collaborators in SISSA: Guglielmo Costa (PhD student), Sabyasachi Goswami (PhD student), Milena Valentini (PhD student), Mirouh Giovanni (APC, postdoc), Luigi Danese (APC), Antonio Lanza (APC), Andrea Lapi (APC), Francesca Perrotta (APC), Paolo Salucci (APC).

Main collaborators outside SISSA: Luciana Bianchi (Johns Hopkins University, US); Stefano Borgani (INAF, OATS, Trieste); Stephane Charlot (IAP,FR); Leo Girardi (INAF, OAPD, Padova); Michela Mapelli (INAF, OAPD, Padova); Paola Marigo (Univ. Padova); Andrea Miglio(Univ. Birmingham UK); Giuseppe Murante (INAF, OATS,Trieste); Phil Rosenfield (Cambridge, Massachusetts, US); Laura Silva (INAF, OATS, Trieste); Mario Spera(INAF, OAPD, Padova); Antonella Vallenari (INAF, OAPD, Padova); Olga Vega (INAOE, Mex).

Recent former students: Yang Chen (Univ. Padova), Xiaoting Fu (Univ. Bologna), Ambra Nanni (Univ. Padova), Ikechukwu Anthony Obi (Univ. Enugu, Nigeria) , Alessandra Slemer (Univ. Padova), Jing Tang (NAO, Beijing), Alessandro Trani (Univ. Tokyo).

Involvement in international projects: GAIA, Kepler, Euclid, JWST, PLATO, SKA.

Financial support: PRIN INAF, 2015 Euclid grant, ERC "STARKEY" (P.I. Paola Marigo, Univ. Padova).

Main research topics and available thesis projects:
  • Stellar evolution for population synthesis studies

    - stellar physics (mixing, rotation, mass-loss, element abundances)

    - evolutionary tracks , binary evolution

    - resolved stellar populations

    - demography of compact remnants

    - gravitational waves from stellar black holes and neutron star mergers

  • Stellar dust ejecta

    - dust formation in circumstellar envelopes

    - stellar populations in the mid infrared

  • Spectro-photometric evolution of galaxies

    - chemical evolution of galaxies

    - effects of dust reprocessing

    - panchromatic spectra of galaxies

    - properties of the inter-stellar medium