Early Stage Researchers

Augustin André-Hoffmann

ESR01 https://swatnet.eu/project1/

What is your (scientific) background?
I have a double master’s degree in plasma physics from the University of Toulouse, France and from INRS, Québec. Before that I got a bachelor’s degree in fundamentals physics.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
My motivation to apply here was to learn and work in astrophysics. Besides that, it was also to visit and discover a foreign country and its university culture.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
I’ve always been a kind of observer. When I was young I always wanted to understand how the things I was doing or using worked. I found those answers in science and that’s what has brought me here.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to read, play video games and watch movies. I also do a bit of sports like basketball and rowing, and I’m trying to get back to music.

What is your superpower?
I’m a friendly giant 🙂

Shifana Koya

ESR02 https://swatnet.eu/project2/

What is your (scientific) background?
I completed my master’s degree in Physics from Cochin University of Science and Technology Kerala, India. After that I have done my research internship in solar physics and space weather with the science team of SUIT/ ADITYA L1 and VELC/ADITYA L1 in IUCAA, India and IIA, India. I am glad that I worked with eminent solar physicists in India who stand behind India’s first solar mission ADITYA L1. It’s the place where I learned a lot about research!

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
Since my undergraduate studies itself, I became pretty much sure that I want to do my research in space weather. When I found the opportunity in Euraxess I was excited and made every effort to grab the position. I am glad that my PhD project in SWATNet hugely aligns with my past experiences and it best suits me.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about
science?

Thinking about the impression of science, I want to go back to 2008 – the year when I was in the 6th grade in school. It’s when India launched the most celebrated first lunar mission! I still have a snapshot of the event from that day in front of my eyes, which I watched live on television in the early morning. At that moment, I decided that when I grow up, I want to become a scientist and more specifically an astrophysicist. Yes, I am getting closer to my dreams!

What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a hardcore fan of Indian music, American sitcoms and movies. For a quiet and peaceful day, I would choose to sit down in my room lazily, having lots of chocolate, ice cream and enjoying films or sitcoms.

What is your superpower?
I do enjoy interacting and networking with people from various cultures. I feel recharged when I get an opportunity to help others. I think I have a superpower to read other people’s minds!

Shreeyesh Biswal

ESR03 https://swatnet.eu/project3/

What is your (scientific) background?
I recently graduated with a BS MS Dual Degree in Science from IISER Pune. For my master’s thesis, I used a numerical model to study the geodynamics of subduction zones. In September 2020, I accepted a nomination from IISER Pune to simultaneously pursue another master’s degree in Solid Earth Sciences at IPGP Paris. For my thesis at IPGP, I worked at the Planetology and Space Sciences Department to develop image processing techniques for detecting tsunami signatures in the ionosphere.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
In 2019, I had completed an internship at PRL Ahmedabad, a space research facility under ISRO as a Summer Research Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences. I studied several topics in Space Physics ranging from Ionospheric Physics to Solar Flares and my guides and colleagues from the Space Weather Lab in PRL were very supportive. For my project, I studied the impact of X-class solar flares of Solar Cycle 24 on the Total Electron Content of the ionosphere and currently we are working on a prospective publication. That particular project stimulated my interest in Space Plasma Physics and it was absolutely clear to me that the way forward for my academic trajectory was to do a PhD in Space Weather or Solar Physics. The projects offered under SWATNet provide a wonderful opportunity to work with eminent scientists in this field and hence I chose to apply.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
My first impression or encouter with science was after my eighth birthday party. I got lots of presents from my friends and relatives, but two of them stood out. One was an atlas containing a map of the Earth and the other one was a miniature globe of the Earth. It left me puzzled with several questions. Is the Earth flat or is it round? If I roll up the map, I get a cylinder and that means that the Earth could still be round even if it seemed flat on paper. But then it is not exactly spherical as the miniature globe appears. It took me quite a few years to find answers to these questions.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I am always up on YouTube or Google watching historical documentaries, sports or travel vlogs based on foreign cultures. Sometimes, I spend my free time on coding.

What is your superpower?
I don’t think I can fly or levitate in the air or become invisible and hence I don’t have any superpowers as such. But if I were to mention my strengths, I must say that I trust my writing and teaching skills.

Jayesh Goswami

ESR04 https://swatnet.eu/project4/

What is your (scientific) background?
I completed my master’s degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, India. My project work was focused on the study of the decay of the magnetic field of an isolated neutron star and evaluating the time scale over which these fields evolve.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
My motivation for applying at SWATNet is because of its diverse community connection which not only limits to a single region but allows me to explore a larger community around the globe with an opportunity to work in different institutes, which not only improve my academic profile but also my social and cultural personality.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
The first fascinating impression of science for me was when I heard about the black holes and their mysterious identity, and I believe this particular interaction had a huge role in developing my interest in the field of astrophysics and space science.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to play computer-based video games, reading science fiction, and playing cricket and football.

What is your superpower?
I am pretty much flexible to switch between a Night owl and an Early bird easily.

Mayank Kumar

ESR05 https://swatnet.eu/project5/

What is your (scientific) background?
I am Mayank and I am from India. I graduated with B.Sc in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics as major subjects and I got M.Sc from IIT(ISM), Dhanbad India in the Physics stream. I qualified for three national-level exams, namely GATE 2020, 2021, and JAM-2018. After completing M.Sc I engaged myself in preparing for the exam called national eligibility test (NET) for a PhD admission and in parallel searching for PhD opportunities. Thankfully, I got the right one and I am fortunate to be selected for SWATNet.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
When I was going through the details of the SWATNet program, the thought immediately stroke my mind – it looks like it is something I was searching for for ages. Things that impressed me most were the uniqueness of the concept of host and co-host university with supervisors from both institutes. Industrial training and summer schools are very important features of this program. I feel that SWATNet is a complete package in itself, which a PhD student desire to take in order to boost up a career.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
I am not used to be a bright student during school days. I still remember one day a new science teacher join our school, and during introductions, she started asking every student what would you like to become in the future. Upon my turn, I stood up and said I want to be a scientist. A loud laugh burst on me. One friend of mine behind me said: “How could you even think about being a scientist?!”
Today when I look back I feel that I feel myself very fortunate that I am selected for this programme and standing among the top world-class researcher. I am thankfull to Prof Kris Murawski from UMCS, Poland and Prof Emilia Kilpua from UOH, Finland for providing me with this golden opportunity.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love reading books, especially on the topics of self-improvement and personal development. I like outdoor games like cricket and badminton. I also love cooking.

What is your superpower?
Using the word superpower would not seem to fit here – it is more the things I am good at. I feel that I am a very good observer, more specifically a good self-observer. I understand myself and respect other people’s emotions.

Andreas Wagner

ESR06 https://swatnet.eu/project6/

What is your (scientific) background?
Before joining SWATNet I was working as a Master’s student in the group of Manuela Temmer at the University of Graz, Austria. There we developed a validation scheme for coronal magnetic field models based on EUV and white-light data. This scheme should enable modelers to assess the quality of their simulations compared to others or compare different parameter settings within a model. To showcase the application of the validation scheme we applied it exemplarily to the EUHFORIA coronal model and derived an ideal parameter set. This work was also summarised into a paper and got accepted for publication in the A&A journal.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
While working in Graz I was notified by my supervisor about this project. It looked very intriguing, being a big and especially international project, which opens a lot of opportunities for the future. Of course, I very much enjoyed the work I did for my Master’s thesis and the following paper, but taking a step further and looking into magnetic field models which are capable of modelling eruptive phenomena was my long-term goal. Thus, Project 6 from SWATNet captured my interest the most out of the project list as it was exactly what I was looking for.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
I really like the feeling when you work on something and at the end of the process, you finally see the results. It is most satisfying though if you can also visualise what you were working on or even make a nice animation. It feels like your work somewhat comes to life then.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I am quite a big music enthusiast, so a significant portion of my free time is devoted to that. If I am not making music myself by playing the piano I am listening to or searching for new music. I am quite picky, but if I find something I like it is most likely out of any subgenre of metal music, classical music, older pop music or rock. Other than that, I was a lot into speedcubing (i.e., solving the Rubiks Cube and related puzzles as fast as possible) and while I do not have the time and motivation to practice as much as I once did, it is still a nice time filler and I usually carry one of those puzzles everywhere I go. I also have/had a lot of plants (I couldn’t bring them to Finland, obviously), like to cook, draw, watch sports (mostly winter sports and formula 1) and enjoy playing video games if time allows.

What is your superpower?
I am quite eager, so if I set myself a goal, I am pretty determined to achieve it. This kind of quality helped me to stay focused during hard times and allowed me to fight through whatever made me struggle. Some may also consider solving a Rubiks Cube in a couple of seconds as some kind of superpower, probably

Lidiya Annie John

ESR07 https://swatnet.eu/project7/

What is your (scientific) background?
I have been born and raised in India. I have completed my Bachelor of Science in Physics from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India and Master of Science in Astrophysics from University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. During my Master’s studies at Glasgow, I received many good opportunities to conduct research on Solar physics, especially on solar corona. Hence, I realised my interest to pursue a serious research in Solar physics. So later for my Master’s final project, I opted to analyse Type III solar radio bursts.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
I learnt about the SWATNet project from my department career service at University of Glasgow. When I went through the information about the students projects offered by SWATNet, I was particularly interested in Project 7 – a study of solar energetic particles. Since I have already done some research during my master’s on the same topic, I opted to apply for this project. Also, the fact that I could pursue a joint PhD programme at two world-renowned universities in two different countries captured my interest. I love to travel, explore new cuisines and cultures. So I thought “Why not? I am going to apply for this.” I am glad that I did. So now, I got this amazing opportunity, to be a part of a wonderful team of SWATNet ESRs. I will be doing SWATNet Project 7, titled “Particle acceleration in coronal shock waves”, at University of Turku, Finland and KU Leven, Belgium.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
My most memorable impression about science occurred when I was in middle school. I happened to read the biography of Dr. Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian born woman in space, who passed away during the space shuttle Columbia disaster. That’s when I really started thinking about what is actually outside the Earth. Her outstanding life made a serious impact on me and directed me to pursue a career in space physics.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to read books from different genres. Also, as I have already mentioned, I love to travel and explore new places. For me, travelling helps to refresh and rejuvenate. The best journey I had until now is a solo trip that I took on the high lands of Scotland.

Edin Husidic

ESR08 https://swatnet.eu/project8/

What is your (scientific) background?
Hello, my name is Edin and I come from Duisburg, Germany. I completed my physics studies at the Ruhr University of Bochum, Germany. In my master’s thesis at the chair for theoretical plasma astroparticle physics, I investigated stability conditions and dispersion relations in non-thermal plasmas.
In SWATNet I am working on Project 8 under supervision of Prof Poedts and Prof Vainio. We aim to develop a novel focused transport simulation model for SEP events in complex heliospheric scenarios. My main host is KU Leuven, Belgium, and my secondment is the University of Turku, Finland.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
I find the subject of space weather incredibly fascinating. The nonthermal plasmas in space provide a rich field for complex processes in which particles and waves interact. Improving our predictive power for space weather events is of enormous importance to our modern and technology-dominated society, to which I would like to contribute. I particularly like the international cooperation within the SWATNet project, that is the opportunity to work with other international PhD students on a large joint project and learn from experienced experts in the process.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
I remember how I recognised and learned to appreciate the incredible predictive power of physical theories while studying physics. It was incredibly fascinating to see how well mathematical models describe reality.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time I like to do sports and play guitar, e.g. blues or songs from my favorite band Pink Floyd. I also like to spend time with friends and family, watch films (sci-fi and horror), play chess and travel.

Ronish Mugatwala

ESR09 https://swatnet.eu/project9/

What is your (scientific) background?
Recently, I finished my master’s degree in astronomy. My master’s thesis was on the Coronal Mass Ejections morphology and kinematics.
 
What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
When I came to know about SWATNet, first thought that came into my mind was “This is golden opportunity, so apply for it”.
Main reason behind my SWATNet application is uniqueness of this PhD program  – I will have two supervisors from different universities and I will also spend time in both universities, so I can get international research exposure with different work environments. Also, I have a chance for observational and industrial training. Furthermore, members of the network come from different cultural and scientific backgrounds that make this network very diverse, and communicating with them provides me with broad exposure of the field.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
My most memorable feeling about science is also related to astronomy. It’s my first stargazing night. I can’t describe my feelings about that night in words.

What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like to watch movies and series, mostly SciFi. I also listen songs. But nowadays I got a huge interest in medical dramas.

What is your superpower?
I am still unaware of my superpower, but I think something that can qualify as the closest thing is that working under stress is not that much stressful for me.

Grégoire Francisco

ESR10 https://swatnet.eu/project10/

What is your (scientific) background?
My curiosity and eagerness to learn new things led me to have a quiet atypical path, with a clear backbone though: my taste for mathematics, programming and modeling. I studied economics, mathematical engineering with a specialisation in data science, and also some physics. I have some professional experience in R&D in finance and in machine learning at Amadeus, a travel IT system company. With SWATNet I wish to keep widening and deepening my quantitative skills to ultimately put them at the service of exciting science!

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
I wanted to do a PhD in Machine Learning applied to science. I am very curious about everything but a constant since a kid is that I have always been interested in space, so when I saw SWATNet research projects I was immediately attracted to it and thought this is what I want!

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
I remember as a kid visiting the Palais de la Découverte in Paris and being amazed by pretty much everything: the planetarium, a solar system exposition, experiences with liquid nitrogen, or Faraday cages. I wanted to know more and understand how everything worked and I remember aspiring to become a scientist later.
But maybe the most recent one was during my master’s courses with the discovery of links between deterministic and stochastic mathematics. More specifically between Stochastic and Partial Differential Equations. I kind of felt in awe of the beauty of it, and ultimately started to put into perspective our understanding of the world and what modeling and mathematics are.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like cooking, practicing and learning foreign languages, and after a long day of work I love to share an apéro (french afterwork) at the beach with friends, or anywhere actually!
I also enjoy sports, especially biking, skiing, running and hiking, but I don’t practice regularly (definitely not as much as binge-watching series…)

What is your superpower?
I can go back to any place I’ve ever been without indications. I call it the turtle power. It is very powerful and useful but I would say it works only 98% of the time (or at least that’s what I like to think!).

Simone Chierichini

ESR11 https://swatnet.eu/project11/

What is your (scientific) background?
I studied at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” in Italy, where I obtained my bachelor’s degree and then master’s degree in Physics. The master’s degree course that I attended is called “Physics of complex systems & Big Data”, and I specialised in topics related to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
I believe that SWATNet is an ambitious project that will give me the opportunity to continue learning and studying in a field of research that I was passionate about during my university years. In addition, this project gives me the feeling of being able to work on something “bigger than myself” and is a great source of motivation for me.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
My favorite science-related feeling is the feeling of discovery, the feeling you get when you first understand the physics behind a given process or phenomenon. I remember very well the first time I experienced this feeling, I was in high school and the physics teacher explained to us how the physics behind using a straw to drink fruit juice works. It was wonderful for me to discover that we can drink the juice through the straw because atmospheric pressure pushes it into the mouth. This is a story that I like to tell because I think it gives a good idea of the feeling I was talking about.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like sports a lot. Until a few years ago I played basketball, then because of an injury I stopped. Now I don’t play a specific sport regularly, but when I have some free time I like to play a few games with my friends. However, my favorite way to spend some free time for myself or with friends is to travel.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot in my life and I love the fact that these kinds of experiences can make me relax and learn so much at the same time.
 
What is your superpower?
I think my “superpower” is patience. I have learned to handle the most difficult situations without ever losing my temper.

Slava Bourgeois

ESR12 https://swatnet.eu/project12/

What is your (scientific) background?
I completed a couple of years of intensive Mathematics & Physics classes, followed by an engineering school called SeaTech, Toulon (South of France) where I specialised in fluid mechanics.

What was your motivation to apply for a PhD position at SWATNet?
What attracted me is the topic but also the human experience: discovering new cultures, learning new ways to work, getting to know and work in several research teams.

What is your most memorable event, feeling or impression about science?
Last year, when I saw and did experiments with the “Planeterrella”, an auroral simulator which can reproduce the auroral blue and purple ionospheric emissions.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like playing music and hiking in the mountains.

What is your superpower?
I can reproduce a sound of lion’s roar by using a transverse flute.