Colóquios do Departamento

O próximo Colóquio do Departamento de Física realiza-se no dia 4 de Março às 16h00.


"Heavy Ions in Therapy and Space" *

* Distinguished Lecture IST


Speaker: Marco Durante, GSI Darmstadt, Germany

Venue: Anfiteatro PA1, piso -1, Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: Research in the field of biological effects of heavy charged particles is needed for both heavy-ion therapy (hadrontherapy) and protection from the exposure to galactic cosmic radiation in long-term manned space missions. Although the exposure conditions (e.g. high- vs. low- dose rate) are different in therapy and space, it is clear that a substantial overlap exists in several research topics, such as individual radio-sensitivity, mixed radiation fields, and tissue degenerative effects. Late effects of heavy ions are arguably the main health risk for human space exploration, and with the increasing number of cancer patients treated by heavy-ion therapy, including young adults and children, this issue is now becoming the main source of uncertainty for the success of hadrontherapy as well.Reducing uncertainty in both cancer and non cancer late risk estimates is therefore the first priority in heavy-ion radiobiology. In addition, researchers involved either in experimental studies on space radiation protection or heavy-ion therapy often use the same accelerator facilities. Several heavy-ion therapy facilities are now under construction or planned in Europe, USA, and Japan. Beam time will be available at these facilities for clinical radiobiology and basic heavy-ion effects experimental research, as already happens since several years at the HIMAC in Japan. The NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) in Brookhaven (Long Island, NY) provides beams of very heavy ions at energies around 1 GeV/n which are of specific interest for space radiobiology. In Europe, these very high energy beams are available at GSI in Germany, where the new Facility for Anti-protons and Ion Research (FAIR) is currently under construction. It is foreseeable that the availability of beam time and the presence of many dedicated research programs will lead to great improvements in our knowledge of biological effects of heavy ions in the coming few years.


Short Bio: "Prof. Dr. Marco Durante is Director of the Biophysics Department at GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research (Darmstadt, Germany) and Full Professor of Physics at the Technical University of Darmstadt. He is also Professor of Physics at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy, and at the Gunma College of Medicine in Japan.

Dr. Durante got his Ph.D. in physics in 1992 and has dedicated his research efforts to the biophysics of high-energy charged particles, with applications in cancer therapy and space radiation protection. He is generally recognized as world leader in the field of particle radiobiology and medical physics and is co- author of over 300 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals (h-index=44) and one patent on proton therapy (EU patent WO2013083333). He is currently chair of the ESA Life Sciences Advisory Group and of the ESA Topical Team on Space Radiation, vice-chair of the Particle Therapy Co-Operative Group (PTCOG), member of the technical-scientific Committee of the Italian Hadrontherapy Center (CNAO) and of the Program Advisory Committee of the GANIL (Caen, France), KVI (Groningen, The Netherlands), iThemba (South Africa), and Rez (Czech Republic) accelerators. Dr. Durante was President of the International Association for Radiation Research (IARR) 2011-15, and is Associate Editor in several International scientific journals (Br. J. Radiol., Int. J. Particle Ther., Int. J. Radiat. Biol., Phys. Med., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., J. Radiat. Res., Life Sci. Space Res., JINST, Front. Oncol.).

He has been awarded several prizes for his contributions to charged particle biophysics, including the 2004 Galileo Galilei Award in Medical Physics, the 60th Timofeeff-Ressovsky medal by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the 8th Warren K. Sinclair Award of the US National Academy of Sciences, the 2013 IBA-Europhysics Award for Applied Nuclear Science and Nuclear Methods in Medicine (European Physics Society) and the 2013 Bacq & Alexander award of the European Radiation Research Society (ERRS). "

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Cada Colóquio desta série faz parte de um dos ciclos seguintes:


1.       The end of Nature

2.       Trends and frontiers in Physics

3.       Physics at the core of Technology

4.       Paths and ways for a graduate in Physics

Docentes responsáveis: Teresa Peña, Amaro Rica da Silva e Pedro Assis


2º Semestre, ano letivo 2019/2020

Marco Durante
Heavy Ions in Therapy and Space *GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany
2 e 3
Patrícia Gonçalves
Instituto Superior Técnico, DF/LIP, Lisboa
2 e 3

Elsa Abreu
ETH Zurich, Institut of Quantum Electronics, Switzerland
2 e 3
Petra RudolfMolecular Motors and Switches at SurfacesGroningen University, Netherlands2 e 4


* IST - Distinguished Lecture



1º Semestre, ano letivo 2019/2020

25/SetFilomena Nunes *Unveiling the mysteries of unstable matter
* (Included in the Distinguished Lecture Program of IST)
Department of Physics and Astronomy, National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab, Michigan State University2 and 4
9/OutJorge VieiraPlasma based accelerators and light sources: from compact to topologicalPhysics Department and Institute for Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion, Instituto Superior Técnico2 and 3
16/OutPedro Gil FerreiraNobel Prize in Physics 2019 and tests of General Relativity with Cosmology **Physics Department, University of Oxford2
30/OutPedro Ribeiro Quantum Matter In and Out of Equilibrium Physics Department - Instituto Superior Técnico/CeFEMA2 and 3
Isabel AlmeidaProton therapy – from the benefits to the challenges for clinical implementationCenter of Nuclear Sciences and Technologies at C2TN/IST3
27/NovJan PawlowskiFrom strongly correlated QCD to asymptotically safe quantum gravity ***Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Heidelberg2
11/DezNuno LeonardoRare Signals from Big Data Physics Department - Instituto Superior Técnico/LIP/CERN2
**  Jointly organized with CENTRA
*** Jointly organized with CFTP

11 de dezembro de 2019

"Rare Signals from Big Data"

Speaker: Nuno V. G. Leonardo, Physics Department - IST, LIP
Venue: Anfiteatro PA2, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: The LHC and its detectors are among the largest and most complex scientific apparatuses ever built. The goal is that of probing Nature at the smallest scales and most fundamental level. The strategy is to accumulate large datasets at the highest energies to search for tiny signals. It is in a word a tale of extremes. CERN’s LHC has started operations a decade ago, and has facilitated a wealth of precious physics results. Following the discovery of the only known scalar elementary particle, the Higgs boson, and the ongoing study of its properties, the overarching goal is to detect signals from New Physics (NP), beyond the standard model of particle physics. Such expected signals of interest are extraordinarily rare. High-energy physics has thus long been a driver in managing and processing enormous scientific datasets. The LHC produces about 800 million collisions, generating about 75TB worth of data - each second. A hierarchical sequence of steps is employed to extract the tiny signals from the enormous background of known processes. Machine learning techniques are increasingly employed ubiquitously at each of these stages. I will present an overview of recent LHC results with focus on the ongoing search effort for NP through rare processes. Summarize the tantalizing pattern of deviations that are emerging from the data (which forms the most significant indication of NP in collider data to date, and illustrates how NP may be first revealed at the LHC). Illustrate how multivariate techniques are employed in the endeavour of detecting rarer signals in increasingly large and precise datasets. Also in view of the high-luminosity phase of the LHC towards the next decade.

Short Bio: Nuno Leonardo’s current research focuses on the acquisition and physics exploration of LHC data with the CMS detector at CERN. He is a researcher at LIP and invited faculty at IST. Previously he held researcher positions at MIT, CERN and Purdue University, and studied at IST (Licenciatura), Cambridge (MSc) and MIT (PhD). At CMS he has served in the Trigger and Physics coordination of the experiment, and at LIP he serves as coordinator for advanced training. He has made contributions in the areas of heavy flavor, heavy ions, Higgs and searches for new physics beyond the standard model.


27 de novembro de 2019

"From strongly correlated QCD to asymptotically safe quantum gravity"

Speaker: Jan M. Pawlowski, Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of Heidelberg
Venue: Anfiteatro PA2, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: QCD gets strongly correlated for large distances or small momentum scales at about 1 GeV. In this regime QCD undergoes a dynamical change from a theory of weakly interacting quarks and gluon into one of weakly interacting hadrons. Consequently, QCD hosts a very rich bound state and resonance structure as well as a rich phase structure at finite temperature and chemical potential. In turn, gravity gets strongly coupled at small distances or large momentum scales at about 10^19 GeV. This scale is typically seen as the embedding scale of classical general relativity as an effective theory in a ultraviolet closure of gravity such as string theory. In the past two decades an alternative scenario, has been investigated in detail, based on Weinberg’s idea of asymptotic safety. In this scenario strong quantum fluctuations that drive gravity into an ultraviolet scaling regime: asymptotically safe gravity. In the present talk I discuss similarities and differences of strongly correlated QCD and asymptotically safe gravity within a diagrammatic approach based on the quantum equations of motion. This comparison allows us to understand some of the physics intricacies of asymptotically safe gravity from the view point of QCD, a model for strongly correlated systems. I close with a personal viewpoint on the outstanding challenges and perspectives in both theories.

Short Bio: Jan Pawlowski a professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and is the head of the Strongly Correlated Systems Group there. His research interests include: Phase diagram of QCD, Ultracold gases, Non-equilibrium evolution of quantum systems Quantum gravity & UV-completions of the Standard Model, Renormalization group methods, Lattice gauge theory, Topological aspects of quantum field theories & Conformal field theory/string theory.


13 de Novembro de 2019

"Proton therapy – from the benefits to the challenges for clinical implementation"

Speaker: Isabel Almeida, Center of Nuclear Sciences and Technologies at C2TN/IST
Venue: Anfiteatro PA2, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: “Proton therapy is an emerging technique to treat cancer in the last decade. The clinical rational of proton therapy is the potential to decrease the levels of radiation given to healthy tissues, while keeping a very high dose conformity to the tumor. Moreover, with the increase of life expectancy worldwide and higher rate of cancer cases in children and young adults, there is the real need to reduce radiation induces side effects. However, proton therapy accurate treatment has still many challenges to overcome until the technique reaches a level of stable maturity.”

Short Bio: “Isabel Almeida did her PhD on improving geometric input data for Monte Carlo dose calculations for proton therapy at the radiotherapy Institute MAASTRO Clinic, Maastricht, the Netherlands. In 2018 Isabel had the opportunity to take part on the commissioning of the proton center in Maastricht and continued working for the proton center as a physicist since the start of patient treatments. Isabel is now working at the Center of Nuclear Sciences and Technologies at C2TN/IST as part of the Taskforce on Proton Therapy and Research.”



30 de Outubro de 2019

"Quantum Matter In and Out of Equilibrium"

Speaker: Pedro Ribeiro, Departamento de Física, IST
Venue: Anfiteatro PA2, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: Interactions of a macroscopic number of microscopic degrees of freedom give rise to new phases of matter. In many condensed matter systems the quantum nature of degrees of freedom has to be considered to describe the relevant physics. At typical energy scales of solid-state setups, electrons, ions, and photons are only available building blocks. Nevertheless, the field never stopped to unveil ever richer and surprising phenomena, ranging from exotic forms of magnetism to high-temperature superconductors. I will explain the motivations and limitations to approaching the quantum many-body problem that allows understanding of these phenomena. I will refer not only to solid-state systems but also to cold-atoms and quantum information setups which also deal with large numbers of quantum degrees of freedom. I will (partially and selectively) report some of the advances in the field within the last two decades. Finally, I will survey some new actively explored directions, such as novel non-equilibrium phenomena, many-body quantum chaos, thermalization, and information loss.

Short Bio: I am an Auxiliary Professor at the Physics Department of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) and a researcher at the Center of Physics and Engineering of Advanced Materials (CeFEMA). I am also an associate member of the Beijing Computational Science Research Center (CSRC). Previously, I held an Investigator FCT (Researcher) - Starting Grant (2014-2019) and was an invited Professor at the Physics Department of IST (2014-2019). Before that, I was a research fellow at the Russian Quantum Center (RQC), Moscow (2014-2015). I held a number of postdoctoral positions namely, at the Condensed Matter Theory Group of MIT, Cambridge, USA (2009-2010, 2013-2014) at Centro de Física das Interacções Fundamentais - CFIF, IST, Lisbon (2010-2011), at the Max Planck Institute - PKS, Dresden (2011-2013). I obtained my PhD in 2008 from University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris-VI and my Master in Physics Engineering from IST (2004).

My research has been developed within the fields of Condensed Matter and Quantum Information and my current scientific interests lie at the interface between many-body strong-correlation effects, quantum information and non-equilibrium processes. I’m particularly focused on open quantum systems driven away from equilibrium as I believe this research line will provide a route to novel phases of matter with exotic properties that are impossible at equilibrium and will yield important developments in thermoelectrics, electronic and sensing devices and quantum information processing.


16 de Outubro de 2019

"Nobel Prize in Physics 2019 and tests of General Relativity with Cosmology"

Speaker: Pedro Gil Ferreira, Department of Physics, University of Oxford
Venue: Anfiteatro PA2, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: General Relativity is at the heart of modern cosmology. It is an assumption that explains the expansion of space-time and is crucial to our understanding of the large scale structure of the Universe. Modern cosmological data is becoming sufficiently accurate and we can test this assumption. I will explain how we go about doing this, what the current constraints are and what we might expect from future cosmological surveys..

Short Bio: Licenciatura in Physical Engineering, Technical University of Lisbon, (1991), Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, Imperial College, London (1995),Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford (2008). "My main interest is in Physical Cosmology and spans from the very early Universe to current measurements of structure formation. One of my foci of research is in the Cosmic Microwave Background and I have worked on the BOOMERanG, MAXIMA, CBI, Clover, QUIET and PLANCK experiments. I also work on the dark sector, on theories of dark matter and modified gravity, scalar field theories of dark energy and possible tests of the Copernican principle. I continue to work on the theory and observations of large scale flows and methods for measuring cosmic magnetic fields."


9 de Outubro de 2019

"Plasma based accelerators and light sources: from compact to topological"

Speaker: Jorge Vieira, Departamento de Física, IST
Venue: Anfiteatro PA2, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Matemática, IST - Alameda

Abstract: The high accelerating fields in plasmas are paving the way towards miniaturized accelerators and light sources that could become invaluable for scientific advancement. The incredible potential of plasma accelerators and light sources has been leading to experiments in major accelerator laboratories, which include CERN, DESY and SLAC. I will describe some of my most recent results in the context of these experiments, focusing on fundamental aspects such as the intrinsic stability of the acceleration structures. I will then focus on a distinctive feature of plasma-based accelerators that remains nearly unexplored: the tremendous flexibility on the plasma topology. Unlike conventional accelerators, the accelerating structures in the plasma can assume nearly arbitrary topologies. This topological freedom may be at the core of a new generation of accelerators and light sources delivering customized relativistic particle beams and attosecond X-ray radiation bursts with unprecedented properties, beyond the current possibilities of both conventional and plasma based approaches. I will describe how a new class of intense laser pulses, often denoted by structured light, can control the plasma accelerator topology, and show how the tremendous topological flexibility of plasma accelerators can address some of the major open questions in the field. Finally, I will outline what are my near-future research plans in plasma acceleration and light sources, and how my research may contribute to address major open scientific questions of our time.

Short Bio: Licenciatura em Engenharia Física Tecnológica at IST (2005). Junior researcher at the GoLP/Group of Lasers and Plasmas (2003-2005). PhD in Physics at IST (2010). Stayed at the UCLA plasma simulation group under the supervision of Prof. Warren Mori in 2006 and 2008. Post-doc at IST from 2010-2012 with a post-doctoral fellowship from the Portuguese Science Foundation, and an Humboldt Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich (Germany) future accelerators group with Dr. Patric Muggli in 2012-2013. In 2016 Jorge Vieira was awarded with an FCT researcher fellowship (development level) at GoLP and is currently an assistant professor at the physics department at IST.


25 de setembro de 2019

"Unveiling the mysteries of unstable matter"

Speaker: Filomena Nunes, Department of Physics and Astronomy, National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab, Michigan State University

* This Colloquium is included in  the "Distinguished Lecture" Program of Instituto Superior Técnico
Venue: Anfiteatro VA6, Piso -1 do Pavilhão de Civil, IST - Alameda

** Note: Exceptionally at his time and place

Abstract: From halos to clustering, from exotic radioactive decays to superheavy nuclei, there are many interesting phenomena in the limits of stability of matter. A new rare isotope facility is being constructed in the U.S. with the aim of producing these exotic forms of matter: the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams will provide access to the largest variety of isotopes ever produced in a laboratory.  Along with experiment, theory plays an important role in unveiling the mysteries of exotic nuclei. An overview of the overarching questions our community is addressing will be presented, highlighting the theoretical opportunities that lie ahead. Also, a few concrete examples of my own research in reaction theory will be discussed, demonstrating the importance of coupling theory and experiment for the advancement of the field.

Short Bio: Graduated in Physics Engineering Instituto Superior Técnico (1992) and obbtained a PhD in Theoretical Nuclear Physics at the University of Surrey (1995). Professor and FRIB Theory Alliance Managing Director, Department of Physics and Astronomy, MSU. “I study direct nuclear reactions and structure models that are useful in the description of reactions. Unstable nuclei are mostly studied through reactions, because they decay back to stability (often lasting less than a few seconds). My work focuses on developing models for reactions with exotic unstable nuclei. Reaction theory is very important because it makes the connection between experiments such as the ones performed at National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL), and the nuclear structure information we want to extract. Within the realm of direct reactions, my contributions have been toward understanding inelastic excitation, breakup and transfer reactions.”

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 Histórico de Colóquios Anteriores

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