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ICTP-SAIFR Scientific Bulletin #9, January – March 2015

New Young Investigator Fapesp/Simons Fellow

Rafael Porto, former researcher at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, arrived at ICTP-SAIFR in January as a tenure-track professor supported by a joint grant from the Simons Foundation (New York) and FAPESP. Dr. Porto is an expert on applications of Effective Field Theory in Gravitational Waves and Cosmology.

IV Southern-Summer School on Mathematical Biology

The IV Southern-Summer School on Mathematical Biology was held at ICTP-SAIFR from January 5 - 11. It was the fourth version of this school organized by Prof, Roberto Kraenkel (IFT-UNESP) with the assistance of Profs. Paulo Inácio Prado (USP-São Paulo) and Marcel Clerc (Univ. de Chile, Santiago). Lectures covered the basics of population biology and were supplemented with modelling exercises addressing problems in ecology and epidemiology.

School on Pathogen Dynamics, Climate and Global Change

From January 12 – 24, the School on Pathogen Dynamics, Climate and Global Change took place at ICTP-SAIFR. Organized by Profs. Andrew Dobson (Princeton U.), Giulio De Leo (Stanford U.), Graciela Canziani (U. Nacional del Centro, Argentina) and Mercedes Pascual (U. of Michigan), this activity provided an introduction to the basic underlying mathematical concepts used to study disease dynamics, their connections to climate systems, and the ecology and economics of land-use change.

3rd Joint Dutch-Brazil School on Theoretical Physics

The 3rd Joint Dutch-Brazil School on Theoretical Physics was held at ICTP-SAIFR from February 2 – 6 and jointly organized with the Dutch Research School of Theoretical Physics (DRSTP). It featured minicourses by Nima Arkani-Hamed (IAS Princeton) on “Scattering Amplitudes and the Amplituhedron”, Jan de Boer (University of Amsterdam) on “Entanglement Entropy and its Uses” and Cumrun Vafa (Harvard University) on “Topological Strings and Supersymmetric Amplitudes”, as well as student presentations.

2015 Meeting of Scientific Council and Steering Committee

The Steering Committee of the ICTP-SAIFR, headed by Fernando Quevedo (Director of ICTP Trieste), and its Scientific Council, headed by Peter Goddard (IAS Princeton), met in São Paulo on February 9-10. The Steering Committee approved the Director’s Report and discussed future directions for the ICTP-SAIFR. The Scientific Council heard short presentations on the scientific activities of 2014 and deliberated on the proposals for 2016.

Juan Maldacena Colloquium

On February 10, Juan Maldacena (IAS, Princeton) gave a colloquium entitled “Cosmological Collider Physics”. Prof. Maldacena´s work focuses on quantum gravity, string theory and quantum field theory and has been awarded various prizes including the Dirac Medal in 2008 and the Fundamental Physics Prize in 2012. In this colloquium, he discussed the imprint of new particles during inflation in possible primordial non-gaussianities.

International agreements with IFT-Madrid and IPhT-Saclay

In February, two new agreements were signed with Instituto de Física Teórica (Madrid) and with the Institut de Physique Théorique (Saclay) on the joint financing of visitors and workshops. The purpose of both agreements is to encourage scientific exchange visits and collaborations between researchers of these centers in order to promote progress in all research areas of common interest.

ICTP-SAIFR in Nature Physics

In March, Fabio Iocco (FAPESP/Simons tenure-track professor of ICTP-SAIFR), in collaboration with Miguel Pato (Stockhom U. & TU Muenchen) and Gianfranco Bertone (U. Amsterdam), published an article in Nature Physics entitled “Evidence for dark matter in the inner Milky Way” which established for the first time the presence of dark matter in the innermost regions of our galaxy. In the picture, the rotation curve tracers used in the paper are displayed over a photo of the disc of the Milky Way as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.


In February, the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) awarded funding for the interchange of researchers to Riccardo Sturani (FAPESP Young Investigator - ICTP-SAIFR) and Erik Katsavoinidis (Kavli Institute – MIT). The joint grant was awarded to four research groups in all areas of science, and the group of Sturani and Katsavoinides will perform research in the area of Gravitational Wave Astronomy.

Onuchic Minicourse on Energy Landscapes in Biophysics

On March 8, Prof. Jose Nelson Onuchic (Rice University) presented a minicourse on energy landscapes in biophysics at ICTP-SAIFR. The energy landscape theory and the funnel concept have been successfully used to describe the general characteristics of protein folding. Prof. Onuchic is co-director of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

2014 IFT/ICTP-SAIFR winners of Prêmio Jovens Físicos

The ceremony for the winners of the 2014 IFT-UNESP/ICTP-SAIFR Premio para Jovens Fisicos was held in March. These Prizes are awarded annually to students who obtain the highest score on an exam administered by IFT and ICTP-SAIFR professors. From left to right are the ICTP-SAIFR Vice-director Rogério Rosenfeld, the 2014 winners Anderson S. Misobuchi (USP-São Paulo), Caique M. Ronqui (USP-São Paulo), Rodrigo Voivodic (USP-São Paulo), Rodrigo A. e Silva (USP-São Carlos) and the ICTP-SAIFR Director Nathan Berkovits.

Minischool on Biophysics of Protein Interactions

The Minischool on Biophysics of Protein Interactions was held at ICTP-SAIFR from March 9-13 and organized by Fernando Barroso (USP-Ribeirão Preto), Roland Netz (FU Berlin) and Rudolf Podgornik (U. Ljubjana). The school presented different approaches to Coulomb systems in order to describe the electrostatic interactions in soft- and bio-matter. Attendants were invited to present their research activity in a poster session.

Rawitscher Minicourse on Numerical Spectral Methods

From March 18 - April 15, Prof. George Rawitscher (Univ. of Connecticut) is presenting a minicourse of 12 lectures in which he describes general properties of spectral methods and its use in computer algorithms. Various applications of these methods will be discussed with special emphasis on the solution of the one-dimensional Schroedinger equation.

Forthcoming events:

NCC/ICTP-SAIFR School and Workshop on Advanced Techniques for Scientific Programming (April 13-30, 2015)

First Peruvian School on High-Energy Physics and Cosmology - Lima (June 22-26, 2015)

School on QCD and LHC Physics (July 22-31, 2015)

School on Gravitational Waves: from data to theory and back (August 3-11, 2015)

Workshop on Astrophysics and Relativity: Astro-GR 2015 (August 11-15, 2015)

International Neutrino Summer School 2015 (August 17-29, 2015)

School on Complex Networks and Neuroscience (September 28 – October 16, 2015)

6th ICTP Latin-American String School - Mexico City (October 26 – November 6, 2015)

2015 Prêmio IFT/ICTP-SAIFR para Jovens Físicos (October 31, 2015)

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