Report sets course for future of European astronomy

In May 2023, ASTRONET, a consortium of European funding agencies and research organisations, presented a new report to transform our understanding of the Universe in the next decade. The ASTRONET Strategic Plan for European Astronomy (Science Vision and Infrastructure Roadmap 2022-2035) is the latest comprehensive roadmap produced by the ASTRONET network of European funding agencies communities and research organisations. ASTRONET is an independent consortium whose aim is to create a common science vision for all European astronomy by convening diverse groups to describe the challenges facing some of the biggest questions in science.

AstroCeNT group leader Prof. Tomasz Bulik is Polish representative in Astronet (as a member of the Polish Astronomical Society).

NCAC is a member of Hyper-Kamiokande Consortium

As part of the Ministry of Education and Science program “Support for the participation of Polish scientific teams in international research infrastructure projects”, the Hyper-Kamiokande consortium has received funding of over 67 million PLN to participate in the construction of the Hyper-Kamiokande radiation detector in Japan. The Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (NCAC) is one of nine Polish members of the Hyper-Kamiokande  consortium.

Reception at the Embassy of Canada to Poland (+photo gallery)

On the 22nd of February, after the public talks by the two Nobel Laureates in Physics organized by AstroCeNT, a reception for the distinguished guests was held at the Embassy of Canada to Poland in Warsaw. The event was dedicated to the cooperation of our countries in the field of research on dark matter (the Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration), gravitational waves (LIGO/Virgo/KAGRA collaboration) and neutrinos (Hyper-Kamiokande) and was attended by Polish and foreign diplomats, representatives of Polish educational and scientific institutions, Polish scientists and guests from abroad.

During the reception at the Canadian Embassy the importance of international cooperation in promoting scientific research and understanding of the Universe was emphasized. By bringing together experts from different countries and fields, the event provided a space to exchange ideas and forge new partnerships.a

Two Nobel Prize Winners Visited AstroCeNT (+photo gallery)

On the 22-23th of February 2023 AstroCeNT team had the honor of hosting two Nobel laureates in physics, Prof. Arthur B. McDonald (Canada) and Prof. Barry C. Barish (USA). The reason for their visit to Poland was the World Copernican Congress, which officially opened in Toruń on the 19th of February 2023, on the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus, an icon of Polish and world science.

On the occasion of the Nobel laureates’ visit, a large-scale event was organized by AstroCeNT. The public talks entitled “Exploring the Hidden Universe” by Prof. McDonald and Prof. Barish were a resounding success and attracted more than 250 listeners.

Nobel Prize Winners in Physics to Visit AstroCeNT

We are pleased to announce that on 22nd February 2023, Nobel Prize winners in Physics, Professor Art McDonald and Professor Barry Barish, will be visiting the AstroCeNT and will be giving public talks.

Professor Art McDonald was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2015 for his groundbreaking work in the field of neutrino physics. Professor Barry Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his work in the field of gravitational waves.

The event is open to the public and we encourage everyone interested in astrophysics, physics and science in general to attend.

Head of AstroCeNT elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts

We are happy to announce that the Director of AstroCeNT, Prof. Leszek Roszkowski, has become a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA).

EASA is one of the most prestigious scientific and artistic organizations in Europe. Established in 1990, EASA aims to promote progress in scientific and artistic activities in the spirit of freedom and the search for truth. Its over 2,000 members are scientists, people of culture, art and religion, including 34 Nobel Prize winners and the late Pope Benedict XVI. Among its members from Poland are Prof. Jerzy Buzek, Prof. Michal Kleiber, Prof. Krzysztof Penderecki, Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, Prof. Ryszard Tadeusiewicz, Prof. Jerzy Woźnicki and Prof. Andrzej Zoll.

APC – AstroCeNT annual meeting 2022

In early December 2022, an AstroCeNT delegation (group leaders, postdocs, PhD students and administration) traveled to Paris to attend the annual meeting with the Laboratoire Astroparticule & Cosmologie, a scientific partner of the AstroCeNT.

For the past two years, meetings of the two institutions have been held remotely due to Сovid-19 restrictions. This year we managed to get together in large numbers and meet in person.

During the meeting, 15 reports on the progress of the working groups and ongoing projects were presented.

Travel of our scientists to Paris was supported by DarkWave and COPIN grants.

Stavros Katsanevas RIP (1953-2022)

We have all been deeply saddened by the death of Stavros Katsanevas last Sunday, 27 November 2022.

Personally, Stavros was an exceptionally nice and positively thinking person, very bright and open-minded, with a very wide spectrum of interests, not only in particle astrophysics, but also in science in general, and beyond, in art, society, philosophy, and even theology. He was a visionary for the field, tirelessly driven by passion for research, until the end.

AstroCeNT/NCAC PAS hosted LIDINE 2022

On 21-23 September the LIDINE 2022 conference (Light Detection in Noble Elements) was held in Warsaw. This year it was organized by Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center (NCAC) and, in particular, by AstroCeNT.
The objective of the LIDINE conference series is to promote discussion between members of the particle and nuclear physics community about detector technologies based on noble elements and their applications such as: dark matter searches, experiments measuring neutrino oscillations, solar and supernova neutrinos, coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering, neutrinoless double-beta decay, neutron EDM, and medical physics.

An annual meeting of the International Scientific Committee was held at AstroCeNT

This summer AstroCeNT is celebrating its fourth anniversary. To sum up our achievements, on 23 June an annual meeting of the International Scientific Committee was held.

While most ISC members participated remotely via zoom, we had the pleasure to host at AstroCeNT Prof. Antoine Kouchner, Director of APC (Paris, France), Prof. Sotiris Loucatos, former Deputy Director of APC, as well as Prof. Rafał Moderski, Director for Science of NCAC PAS.  Two representatives of the Foundation for Polish Science, Kinga Słomińska and Dr Karolina Pakos-Żebrucka, also joined the ISC via zoom.

Minister Rzymkowski visits AstroCeNT

On the 1st of June 2022 AstroCeNT was visited by Dr Tomasz Rzymkowski, Vice Minister of Education and Science. The purpose of the visit of our distinguished guests was twofold: to learn more about the field of particle astrophysics, including the research done at AstroCeNT, and to meet with an initiative group to build in Poland an underground laboratory.

The Vice Minister showed much interest in the initiative and encouraged the group to produce a report with more information about possible sites and about the role that the Polish underground laboratory could play in Polish science and economy, both locally and an international level.

Seismic Sensors group activity

The seismic sensors group (led by Prof. Tomasz Bulik) activities revolve mainly around the gravitational waves theme of the Astrocent project. A detection of gravitational waves in 2015 was a great achievement and led to the opening of gravitational wave astronomy. The advancement of this new branch of particle astrophysics hinges on development and improvement of detectors. The quality of the data is related to monitoring and compensating for a variety of sources of noise. The seismic noise, apart from shaking the test masses in the interferometers, is also a source of the Newtonian – or gravity gradient – noise. This type of noise is due to fluctuations of the local gravity by seismic or sound waves in the medium surrounding the detector.

Ultrapure SiPMs and Associated Readout Electronics group activity

One key physics goal is to use dedicated systems of SiPMs to look for the elusive dark matter in the Universe. In order to achieve extreme sensitivity of detectors, its components themselves must not generate any background that could potentially obscure the signal from dark matter. Another important physics goal is the search for so-called Majorana neutrinos. A similar detection technology enables us to look for this potential feature of neutrinos, which could shed lights on the reasons for why our Universe is mostly made up of matter and not antimatter.

AstroCeNT team participation in ARIA project

On 21-29 November, Dr Masayuki Wada, Dr Masato Kimura, and Dr Azam Zabihi visited the Italian island of Sardinia. Their scientific trip was connected with the ARIA project.

ARIA is a scientific laboratory for distillation of Argon-40, an isotope fundamental for use the medium in dark matter detectors. The project is realized thanks to the collaboration between INFN, National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Regione Sardegna.

Cooperation with INFN on the DarkSide-20k experiment

On 2 October 2021 our colleague Dr Marek Walczak (research group 1) returned from a scientific trip to the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Genoa, Italy. He spent three intensive weeks there working on testing the veto Photo Detector Modules and developing software for analyzing data from the tested setups. All this time he collaborated with other INFN scientists from Gemma Testera’s group: Bianca Bottino, Alessio Caminata, Simone Copello and Stefano Davini.

“Rewolucja Stanu” — comics about Quantum Informatics co-authored by Prof. Piotr Gawron

The book consists of two parts: the first is comic and the second is scientific. The storyline of the comic part takes place in some undefined future, ruled by an organisation that guards access to knowledge. In this world quantum informatics has developed, but at the same time it is treated as a forbidden art. In the story, a certain organisation is trying to gain access to all the knowledge accumulated by Humanity. But to do so, they have to steal quantum cryptographic keys…

Scientific Awards of “Polityka”

Dr Sebastian Trojanowski from the Particle Astrophysics group has been placed among the 15 finalists of the 21. edition of the scientific award “Nagroda Naukowa Polityki” organised by the major Polish weekly “Polityka”. Scientific Awards of “Polityka” are scholarships for young Polish scientists to encourage their work in different scientific disciplines. Dr Trojanowski is this year’s finalists in physics.

Unique infrasound sensor has been developed at AstroCeNT

Group 2 led by Prof. Bulik and group 3 led by Dr. Suchenk have developed  a unique infrasound sensor. It will find its application both in cutting-edge scientific research and commercial projects.
“While most commercial solutions are very expensive, we have managed to significantly reduce the cost of such a solution, which is crucial in applications where tens or even hundreds of precise sensors are needed.”

New equipment for AstroСeNT

A large shipment of important electronic equipment has just arrived at AstroCeNT. There are three-channel laboratory power supplies, an arbitration generator and stationary multimeters. This equipment will be used for the Dark Wave and other Astrocent seismic and acoustic measurement projects.
Oscilloscopes were delivered to the laboratory earlier. And next month we expect a large batch of laboratory furniture. Soon, the laboratory will be fully prepared for new scientific and industrial challenges of any complexity.

Prof. Leszek Roszkowski: “Looking forward to the New Year, I remain optimistic”

One good thing about the year 2020 is that from midnight tonight, it will belong to the past, and for well-known reasons, many people will not be sorry to see the end of it. This was certainly a difficult and challenging time both globally and also locally where we live and work.

At the same time, I believe that, amid the turmoil of the pandemic, with all its uncertainty, at least during its initial stage, lockdowns, mental exhaustion, perhaps some zoom fatigue, adapting to working from home, etc, that certainly affected so many of us in so many aspects of our lives, we at Astrocent actually managed to survive it all relatively well. I find this very encouraging.

AstroCeNT group leaders about 2020

“We have learned how to use new tools and how manage our work in this difficult year. Now we look into the future.
We have ambitious plans: we want to be able to predict the shape of gravitational wave signals; we want to understand the seismic noise impacting gravitational wave detectors; we want to develop quantum machine learning techniques for space observations.
We will look for ambitious PhD students willing to help us in these scientific endeavors.
We hope that 2021 will be a good year for science – the one we do out of pure curiosity and the one that makes our lives better”.

Postdoc at AstroCeNT

On the physics side, research at AstroCeNT is primarily focused on studies of gravitational waves and dark matter, as well as on related topics of astronomy, particle cosmology and particle physics. On the technological side, our prime objective is to specialise in R&D on ultra-sensitive instruments for low background and low count rate particle astrophysics experiments, primarily, but not exclusively, in dark matter searches and gravitational waves.