High-Energy Astrophysics

Research group at Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics

Norbert Werner

Norbert is an astrophysicist, an associate professor (Docent) and the leader of the High-Energy Astrophysics research group. He is mainly interested in the hot atmospheres of galaxies and clusters of galaxies, black hole feedback, and in the use of nano-satellites in astrophysics. 
Norbert earned his PhD at the Netherland's Institute for Space Research and Utrecht University in 2008, where he mainly worked on the physics and chemical enrichment of the hot gas permeating clusters of galaxies and the cosmic web. Then he spent 8 years at Stanford University, in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, mainly studying the influence of supermassive black holes on the hot gaseous haloes, investigating the faint and mysterious cluster outskirts, and working on preparations for the science with the Japanese ASTRO-H/Hitomi satellite. Between 2016 and 2020 he was the leader of the MTA-ELTE Lendulet Hot Universe research group in Budapest, where he helped to initiate the development of CubeSats to detect gamma-ray bursts. 
Norbert and his team now continue their research activities in the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics thanks to the MUNI Award in Science and Humanities (MASH) grant from Masaryk University and an EXPRO grant from the Czech Science Foundation. 

Jakub Řípa

Jakub received his PhD in 2011 at Charles University (Prague, Czech Rep.) where he worked on the statistical studies of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Then he became a postdoctoral researcher in the Ewha Womans University (Seoul, Korea) and in the Sungkyunkwan University (Suwon, Korea) where he mainly worked on preparation of the UFFO-Pathfinder GRB instrument which was launched on the Lomonosov satellite. Then he moved to the National Taiwan University (Taipei, Taiwan) where he worked on testing the isotropy of the Universe using GRBs. There he also worked on the Taiwan Astroparticle Radiowave Observatory for Geo-synchrotron Emissions (TAROGE) for the detection of ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECR) and on the ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) which was a long-duration balloon experiment to detect ultrahigh-energy neutrinos (UHEN). Next he moved back to the Czech Republic to the Charles University for a postdoctoral position.

He is now working at the Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics at Masaryk University and in the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary) where he continues his research on GRBs and works on the development of CubeSats capable of detection and localization of GRBs. These projects are HERMES, CAMELOT, GRBAlpha and the GRB instrument on board of the VZLUSAT-2. His fields of expertize are GRBs, instrumentation for their detection and statistical methods for data analysis.

Matej Kosiba

Matej is mostly interested in machine learning (ML) applications in astrophysics. He sees it as a future of speeding and improving methods to analyze vast astrophysical data sets as well as great potential in finding new physics. 
Matej has graduated his bachelor and master degrees at Masaryk University and he currently continues pursuing his Ph.D. degree at Masaryk University as well as at the University of Turin in Italy in a co-tutoring programme with Norbert Werner and Francesco Massaro. 

Matej's bachelor thesis was about morphological classification of galaxies using convolutional neural networks, where he got firstly involved in ML domain. Matej has a half-year working experience at European Space Astronomy Centre, where he worked during his Master studies as a trainee on the multiwavelength classification of galaxy cluster candidates using convolutional neural networks. Part of his project was a creation of the official Zooniverse crowd-sourcing citizen science project, The Hunt for Galaxy Clusters. He continued with the project as his master thesis in astrophysics. Thanks to this project, he got involved in The XMM CLuster Archive Super Survey collaboration (X-CLASS). 
In the first year of his PhD studies, Matej was selected for a half-year internship at The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Saclay, France, where he worked on cosmological studies using machine learning and distribution of galaxy clusters in the Universe. 
He is currently back at MU in Brno since September 2020 working on his research.

Romana Grossová

Romana is a 5th year Ph.D. student working under Norbert's supervision. From 2017, she participates in the co-tutoring program with the University of Turin in Italy and gained a second supervisor, Prof. Francesco Massaro. Her main interest is in the study of active supermassive black holes in the centres of giant elliptical galaxies with the Very Large Array (VLA) at radio frequencies between 1-2GHz.

Romana did her bachelor's and master's degrees at Masaryk University in Brno working in the field of optical spectroscopy.
From the 2nd year of her Ph.D., she has been traveling between Italy and Czech Republic, dividing her time between the University of Turin and Masaryk University. During her 3rd and 4th year of Ph.D., she spent summer-months at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Boston working with Dr. Paul Nulsen on her sample of active galactic nuclei (AGN) in giant elliptical galaxies, comparing and analysing their radio and X-ray emission.

Samuel Kováčik

Samuel is a theoretical physicist; his research interests revolve around the idea of the (quantum) structure of space. He obtained his Ph.D. at the Comenius University of Bratislava, where, with his supervisor prof. Peter Prešnajder, showed that quantum mechanics does not have any hard feeling about the underlying space being quantum as well. He investigated the idea of quantum and emerging spaces in the context of matrix models during his postdoc at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies, where he received two consecutive research fellowships. One of his side projects is investigating the consequence of the quantum structure of space on microscopic black holes. 

Samuel also tries his best to be active in science outreach, he founded the project Vedátor, which runs on various social platforms, has a website and a podcast devoted to the same goal.

Jean-Paul Breuer

Jean-Paul is a PhD candidate in Astrophysics within the High Energy Group. He works mainly on merging galaxy clusters and the hot intracluster medium, with an interest in understanding these hot atmospheres using multiwavelength observations.

Jean-Paul earned his BSc. in Earth and Space Sciences specialising in Geophysics from Jacobs University Bremen (previously International University Bremen) followed by a MSc. Eng. in Earth and Space Physics and Engineering specializing in Astrophysics and Space Research from the Technical University of Denmark.

Personal page here.

Orsolya Kovács

Orsolya received her PhD from Eötvös Loránd University for the studies she was carrying out as an SAO Predoctoral Fellow at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her main research interest is observational X-ray astronomy, involving the analysis of Chandra and XMM-Newton data, regardless the nature of the X-ray source. 

Orsolya got introduced to X-ray astrophysics by her CfA advisor, with whom she presented the first direct X-ray detection of the missing baryons' hideout. Orsolya also performed X-ray studies on ultra-diffuse galaxies to contribute to the exploration of these curious objects. Her recent project at Masaryk University focuses on the observational possibilities of gas clumping in the outskirts of galaxy clusters and on the hot X-ray emitting atmospheres of massive galaxies. 

Filip Münz

Filip has made his first steps in exploring the Universe from the domain of particle physics - the topic of his master and doctoral thesis was detection of gamma rays of very high energies on ground using Cherenkov light from air showers of secondary particles (the work on CELESTE experiment was based at College de France). Then he moved to lower energies to satellite experiments, esp. INTEGRAL (almost a year spent at ISDC, Versoix, Switzerland) and a legacy of HETE-2 (IASF INAF, Bologna).

Meanwhile in Astronomical institute at Ondrejov he participated at robotic telescope setups for rapid follow-up of GRB afterglows. Based on his more recent experience with fabrication and characterization of electronic nanostructure in CEITEC he aims to pursue the detection of transients with small satellite projects.

Martin Topinka

Martin is an astrophysicist. His main scientific themes are gamma-ray bursts and other high energy transients, robotic telescope follow-up, astrophysical application of machine-learning, data analysis and simulations.

Martin graduated with a Master degree from Charles University (Prague, Czech Rep.) in Astronomy and Theoretical Astrophysics. He got a Marie Currie fellowship at MPA (Garching, Germany) coding MHD simulations of jets and obtained his PhD from UCD (Dublin, Ireland) where he worked on the data analysis of short transients from INTEGRAL. Then he worked as a postdoc at UCD, being responsible for the Watcher robotic telescope in the GLORIA robotic telescope network. Then he spent a year as a postdoc at CTU (Prague, Czech Republic) in machine-learning applied to astronomy before joining the JWST team at Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies focusing on the high redshift universe. Upon his return to Czech Republic he joint the High Energy Astrophysics group at Masaryk’s University in Brno.

Tomáš Plšek

Tomáš is a Master student studying X-ray cavities in hot atmospheres of elliptical galaxies and their connection with AGN feedback. He is also interested in SPH simulations of clusters of galaxies and applications of machine learning techniques in Astrophysics. For his Bachelor thesis, he produced a hydrodynamical simulation of a Virgo like cluster using the parallelised cosmological code GADGET-2.

Filip Hroch

Mr. Filip Hroch is man who is counting the photons. His interest is focused on astronomical photometry, specially on base of photon counting detectors, as well as on all the fundamental principles (astro-)physics; He works on field of robust statistical methods.

Mr. Hroch studied on Masaryk university (Moravia); his final thesis was focused on study of meteor showers, and gamma-ray bursts.

Mr. Hroch has worked for Astronomical Institute in Ondřejov (Bohemia), and Integral Space Data Centre in Versoix (Helvetia).

Mr. Hroch is developer of Munipack and related software. He is also proud Debian Maintainer.

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