Women Physicists in Astrophysics, Cosmology and Particle Physics

Webinar Series Universe Logo
Webinar Series Universe Logo

On Wednesday, 17 November 2021, MDPI and the Journal Universe organized the 3rd webinar on Universe, entitled “Women Physicists in Astrophysics, Cosmology and Particle Physics”.

The webinar highlighted the Special Issue devoted to this subject and the results presented in it.

In this first webinar, were hosted four talks presenting new results and reviews covering different areas of high current interest regarding theoretical and experimental astro- and cosmo-particle physics. The main topics are:

1) Chair Introduction: Women Physicists in Astrophysics, Cosmology and Particle Physics by Prof. Dr. Norma G. Sanchez, CNRS, PSL-Paris Observatory and Chalonge de Vega International School Center, Paris, France;

2) Dark Matter Sterile Neutrino from Scalar Decays by Dr. Lucia Aurelia Popa, Institute of Space Science, Magurele, Ilfov, Romania;

3) New Advancements in AdS/CFT (Anti-de Sitter/Conformal Field Theory) in Lower Dimensions by Professor Yolanda Lozano, Department of Physics, University of Oviedo and ICTEA, Oviedo, Spain;

4) Superconformal Line Defects in Three Dimensions by Professor Silvia Penati, Department of Physics, University of Milano-Bicocca and INFN, Milano, Italy;

5) Environmental High-Energy Astrophysics in the context of space missions such as LISA, Solar Orbiter and JWST, and its implications for space weather science by Professor Catia Grimani, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Urbino and INFN, Florence, Italy.

The webinar was offered via Zoom and required registration to attend. The full recording can be found on Sciforum website and YouTube.

Contact person (ISS): Dr. Lucia A. Popa <lpopa@spacescience[dot]ro>

JWST Master Class: a local workshop in ROMANIA

Workshop organisers:

Laurentiu Caramete, Bogdan Dumitru and Razvan Balasov from Institute of Space Science (ISS)

Marco Sirianni and Tim Rawle from European Space Agency (ESA)

Date: Feb 17-18, 2020

Location: Institute of Space Science, Măgurele


The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and also the proposal submission process (Cycle1 GO – General Observation) will start soon. In preparation for this event, ISS in collaboration with ESA is organizing a workshop in Romania to train the scientific community. This training helps building the necessary skills to use the proposal tools (APT and ETC, which are relatively complex) and to stimulate proposal ideas.

During this local workshop the participants will be familiarized with the JWST mission status and the scientific instruments (NIRCam, NIRSpec, NIRISS, and MIRI). Furthermore, the available proposal tools and observing scientific modes will be presented and discussed.

The participation is based of registration (Registration Form – Click here). There is no registration fee for this workshop. The entire workshop will be held in English. Please use the form below and provide some information on your interests and science questions. Deadline for Registration is Jan 28th, 2020.


If the registration deadline has been exceeded, you can register by email bogdan[dot]dumitru[at]spacescience[dot]ro.

20th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Pierre Auger Observatory

Artwork by Sandbox Studio Chicago with Pedro Rivas
Artwork by Sandbox Studio Chicago with Pedro Rivas

Pierre Auger Observatory celebrates this year the 20th Anniversary. The Scientific Symposium, Science Fair and official Celebration take place in Malargüe (Province Mendoza, Argentina), during November 14th -16th, 2019, at the site of the Pierre Auger Observatory.

The Pierre Auger Observatory is the world-wide largest cosmic ray detector, covering an area of 3000 km2. It is operated by a collaboration of more than 400 scientists from 17 countries (including Romania since 2014, represented presently by IFIN-HH and ISS). The aim of the Observatory is the study of the highest-energy particles of the cosmos, up to 1020 electronvolts and above. Data of the Auger Observatory led to major advances in our understanding of high-energy phenomena linked to the most violent processes in the Universe. Scientific breakthroughs have been achieved in several fields. Still, the sources of the particles of such extreme energies have not been identified. In addition, the properties of multiparticle production are studied at energies not covered by man-made accelerators searching for new or unexpected changes of hadronic interactions. The currently ongoing upgrade of the Pierre Auger Observatory, called AugerPrime, will help to address also those remaining open questions and will favor the emergence of a uniquely consistent picture.

More info about the event here.

Seminar about “The High Energy Universe: Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays, Active Galactic Nuclei and Gamma-ray Bursts”

Hercules A (an active galactic nucleus). Visible light image obtained by Hubble Telescope superposed with a radio image taken by the Very Large Array (VLA)

Guest: Dr. Athina Meli, Liège University, Belgium and Athens Institute for Education and Research, Greece

When: 23 May 2018, from 11:00

Where: ISS, Auditorium


The Universe is filled with a rich diversity of high-energy phenomena and highly energetic processes. Great developments in astrophysical observations over the last years, as well as in-tandem simulation studies, opened a wide window into the understanding of the electromagnetic wavebands of astrophysical phenomena, from the radio waves up to the high-energy gamma-rays but also to high energy cosmic-rays, which carry a multitude of information about the most energetic phenomena in Cosmos. Accelerated particles (cosmic-rays) are believed to be created in the cataclysmic ”explosions” of astrophysical sources like Gamma-Ray-Bursts and in the jets of Active Galactic Nuclei. The acceleration of cosmic-rays and the emission of very high energy electromagnetic radiation (i.e., x-rays, gamma-rays) mostly occur in the relativistic superalfvenic cosmic plasmas and jets that act as cosmic accelerators. In this talk I will give an overview of these high-energy accelerators and will discuss the mechanisms responsible to producing very high-energy cosmic rays and radiation.

Contact person: Dr. Ioana Dutan <idutan[at]spacescience[dot]ro>


Intensive Course about: Computational Methods for Kinetic Processes in Plasma Physics

Particle-in-cell numerical simulations for an electron-proton plasma jet with a larger radius. Credit: Nishikawa et al., Galaxies, 5(4), 58, 2017.

Instructor: Dr. Ken-Ichi Nishikawa, University of Alabama, Huntsville, SUA

When: 21-25 May 2018. Course hours:

Mo: 2pm-4pm;
 Tu: 10am-12am and 2pm-4pm; Wed: 2pm-4pm;
 Thu: 10am-12am and 2pm-4pm; Fri: 10am-12am

Where: ISS, Auditorium


This course is intended to provide students/researchers with basic concepts of computer simulations using a particle-in-cell (PIC) numerical code in order to understand kinetic processes in plasmas. PIC simulation is, in principle, an accurate method and provides the widest range of plasma effects. Nowadays, the computer power is powerful enough to perform reasonable 3-dimensional (3D) simulations to investigate realistic plasma dynamics. The course will cover the fundamental concepts of plasma simulation by performing small 3D electromagnetic codes with applications to relativistic jets. Starting with a brief introduction to plasma physics, the mathematics and physics behind the algorithms will be described. We will explore how PIC simulations reveal plasma behaviors as they are highly nonlinear phenomena. Some examples of how to run the PIC simulations will be also given.


  1. Plasma physics on computer (general description)
  2. Kinetic plasma simulations (nonphysical instability, approximate nonlinear analysis, plasma behavior, linear weighting, nonphysical effects)
  3. How PIC works (cold plasma dispersion, plasma dispersion function)
  4. Electrostatic codes (grid quantities, beat heating)
  5. Electromagnetic codes (hybrid oscillation, warm and unmagnetized plasmas)
  6. Finite-difference time-domain Maxwell solver on Yee grid: leapfrog algorithm
  7. Particle movers: Boris’s algorithm
  8. Conservative charge deposition method
  9. Boundary conditions (particles and fields)
  10. Simulations for astrophysical plasmas
  11. Recent work: (1) Weibel instability in relativistic jets (radiation, weighted beam) and (2) Reconnection (particle acceleration)

Reference: “Plasma Physics via Computer Simulation (Series in Plasma Physics)”, C.K. Birdsall & A.B. Langdon; Programs in the text book are written in Fortran.

Prerequisites: Elementary physics (Bachelor level)

Registration: Subscription for attending the course should be sent to Dr. Ioana Dutan <idutan[at]spacescience[dot]ro>, with your name, status (e.g., student, researcher) and affiliation, no later than May 15th 2018.

The event can be followed live on the ISS Facebook and YouTube channels.

List of participants

Photo Gallery:

Seminar about: Reconnection and associated flares in global relativistic jets containing helical magnetic fields with particle-in-cell simulations

Dr. Ken-Ichi Nishikawa, University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA

Guest: Dr. Ken-Ichi Nishikawa, University of Alabama in Huntsville, USA

When: 21th May 2018, from 11:00

Where: Institute of Space Science – ISS (Auditorium)


The discovery by Advanced LIGO/Virgo of gravitational waves from the binary neutron star (BNS) merger GW170817 triggered sequential observations of the electromagnetic counterparts, which has opened the era of multi-messenger astronomy. These multi-frequency observations provide us profound information to investigate the processes from the generation of gravitational wave, associated relativistic jets and merger ejecta, and consequently radiation from the interaction of jets and ejecta with interstellar medium. The investigation of these phenomena requires extensive and systematic theoretical and computational research with various observations. In the study of relativistic jets one of the key open questions is their interaction with the environment on the microscopic level. We have studied the initial evolution of both electron–proton and electron–positron relativistic jets containing helical magnetic fields, focusing on their interaction with an ambient plasma. We have performed particle-in-cell simulations of “global” jets containing helical magnetic fields in order to examine how helical magnetic fields affect kinetic instabilities such as the Weibel instability, the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability (kKHI) and the Mushroom instability (MI) using a larger jet radius. In our previous simulation study, these kinetic instabilities are suppressed and new types of instabilities can grow. In the electron-proton jet simulation a recollimation-like instability occurs near the center of jet. In the electron-positron jet simulation mixed kinetic instabilities grow and the jet electrons are accelerated. In this talk, I will present results of synthetic radiation spectra that are obtained directly from simulations using much larger systems for global jets containing helical magnetic fields., which can then be compared with observations of gamma-ray burst objects. I will also present possible mechanisms of X-ray flare production for such objects due to magnetic reconnection.

Contact person: Dr. Ioana Dutan <idutan[at]spacescience[dot]ro>


Conference about “Societal changes determined by the national program of JAXA Space Education Center”

Organizers: ISS and the White Cross Foundation


When: 6th March 2018, from 09:00

Where: Institute of Space Science – ISS (Auditorium)


The speakers, experts of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), will present the premises, methods used and the national program results of promoting curiosity and the adventure spirit, as well as creativity, applied to children with the purpose of generating not only further generations of researchers in aerospace sciences but moreover citizens with broad vision and respect for scientific research.

Access to the conference <see program > will be made exclusively upon registration here.

The event can be followed live on the ISS Facebook and YouTube channels.

Contact person: Cristian Dumitru Ionescu <idcristi[at]spacescience[do]ro>


Seminar about “Euclid Science Ground Segment, how to obtain Science from raw Space Telemetry”

Artist’s impression of the Euclid spacecraft. Credit: ESA/C. Carreau

Guest: Dr. Andrea Zacchei, Astronomical Observatory of Trieste

When: November 22th, 2017, 11h00

Where: Institute of Space Science – ISS (Auditorium)


The organization, development and operation of a Science Ground Segment for a Space Mission is a very complex system. Its costs are at the level of an instrument development with the additional complexity of a NOT centralized system. Strategy used in the creation of the Euclid Ground Segment will be discussed with emphasis on the technical solution adopted.

Contact person: Dr. Lucia A. Popa (ISS) <lpopa[at]spacescience[dot]ro>

Flag raising Ceremony for Romania at CERN


On 5th of September 2016, in the Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland, takes place a great ceremony in the presence of His Excelency Mr. Klaus Iohannis, President of Romania, including national institutional representatives and romanian scientists, marking the accession of Romania as a Member State of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics).

This is a memorable day, since Romania became the 22nd Member State of CERN on 18th July 2016.

However, bilateral contacts began back in 1991, when a scientific and technical cooperation agreement was signed between CERN and the Government of Romania, establishing the legal framework for later developments. Presently, Romania has particularly strong involvement in several LHC experiments, like ATLAS, ALICE and LHCb, with main contributions from the National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering “Horia Hulubei” and the Institute of Space Science (ISS).

ISS is part of the ALICE Collaboration since 2006, and has a long-standing experience in the study of Quark Gluon Plasma produced in heavy ion collisions at relativistic energies. The ISS-ALICE group, consisting of 6 physicists and 3 guest scientists, has various activities related to jet and flow analysis, offline production management and software service tasks, GRID maintenance and operation in frame of the ALICE Collaboration. ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is one of the four large experiments operating at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), dedicated to study the properties and behaviour of the strongly interacting matter, at the very high temperatures and energy densities reached in ultra-relativistic collisions.

Pierre Auger Observatory continues operations for another decade — Romania takes part at the International Agreement signature ceremony

AugerPrime-symposiumOn 16 November, Dr. Paula Gina Isar, researcher at the Institute of Space Science (ISS) and institutional representative at the Pierre Auger Observatory, took part together with other Romanian researchers at the signature ceremony of a new International Agreement for continued operation of the Observatory until 2025. The event took place during the AugerPrime Symposium, which was held from 15 to 16 November 2015 in Malargüe, Argentina, to celebrate 15 years of achievements and the AugerPrime upgrade to the Observatory. The International Collaboration counts about 450 scientists from 16 countries and 82 institutions. Former associated country during 2011-2014, Romania became a full member state of the largest cosmic ray experiment in the world in 2014.

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