About Me

Here I am, 28 years a PhD in astroparticle physics and lots of hopes for the future. I love nature and go hiking and snorkeling and prefer quiet places into the green with respect to a crowded city. I will try in the following to summarize the important facts about myself as a physicist and not only. After this section there will be a much more professional report of my academic life and achievements, moreover if interested you can download my full CV below in pdf format.
I was born in 1988 in a little lovely city in the centre of Italy called Senigallia. Since childhood I was attracted by science in the broad sense and only at the high school I became really passionate with physics. This probably was also due to good teachers in physics and mathematics at that time at Liceo Scientifico E. Medi of Senigallia. In the meanwhile I experimented various sports and I became a professional in Table Tennis. Both with my team and by myself I obtained good results and most importantly I met a lot of life-long friends.
In 2007, after the diploma, I moved to Pavia for attending the faculty of Physics. I ended up passing the test both for IUSS and Collegio Ghislieri and the latter became my house for 5 years. You have to know that Collegio Ghislieri is an ancient College in Pavia with merit requirements and an active social life. There are a lot of good students spanning from Medicine to Literature and from Mathematics to Phylosophy. I grew up in this interdisciplinary environment and met lots of fellow students and friends with which I am still in contact.
After completing my master in Theoretical Physics in 2012 I passed the exam (written and oral) for enter the PhD course in Astroparticle Physics at SISSA with the maximum score of my year. In SISSA during the first year I followed various courses at an advanced level on relevant aspects of Astroparticle physics, going from Advance General Relativity to Advance QFT passing through Cosmology and Beyond Standard Model physics. I did the exams of a selection of this courses, consisting in orals, written or seminar-like presentations and I passed them with full marks.
Finally in the second year I choose my research field and my supervisor in Prof. Stefano Liberati. Since then, I have collaborated with many wonderful people, Post-Doc, PhD students and professors. Moreover, I have also collaborated in the last two years with SISSA for the schools, the outreach program of SISSA directed to kids and people outside of science. This was a great experience in science communication. And here I am again, sitting in my room writing these words and fighting with HTML, I hope that you will enjoy surfing my site.

Contact Details

Alessio Belenchia
SISSA
via Bonomea 265
Trieste, 34136

+39 040 3787 531
abelen@sissa.it

Present Position

PhD, SISSA-International School for Advanced Studies

Astroparticle Physics September 2012-Sep 2016

I graduated in September 2016 defending my thesis Exploring Spacetime Phenomenology: From Lorentz Violations to Experimental Tests of Non-locality. I did my PhD under the supervision of Prof. Stefano Liberati. My research topic are Analogue Gravity and Quantum Gravity Phenomenology, see my research section to learn more about it.

Education

SISSA

PhD in Astroparticle Physics Sep 2012-Sep 2016

During my PhD I have published more than 7 scientific articles and 1 proceeding of an international conference. I have attended several conferences and delivered invited and contributed talks and seminars.

University of Pavia

Master in Theoretical Physics- 110/110 cum laude October 2010-July 2012

I have done 2 years of Master in Theoretical Physics at University of Pavia (Italy). I followed more then 13 different courses spanning from Quantum Opticts and Advanced Quantum Mechanics to General Relativity and Mathematical Physics obtaining the score of 30/30 cum laude in each one. My master thesis was in the field of Quantum Information/Computing under the supervision of Prof. Giacomo Mauro D'Ariano and Dr. Paolo Perinotti. In particular we studied the universality of the CNOT gate (plus local gates) in a generalized probabilistic theory different from standard quantum mechanics arriving to a proof of universality in this theory as well as a simpler one (wrt the one already existing) in standard Quantum Mechanics. Moreover the thesis project ended up with the publication of an article on an international journal.

IUSS Pavia

Diploma of the Science and Technology class- Excellent 2007-2012

I am an alumno of the Institute for Advanced Study of Pavia IUSS. IUSS fulfils, since 1997, an advanced teaching and research model successfully implemented by other prestigious institutions in Italy, like the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Scuola Sant’Anna in Pisa. I studied in the Science and Technology class following over 8 interdisciplinary courses going from pure mathematics to chemistry, artificial intelligence and space science to name few. I passed all the exams with an average score superior to 29.5/30 and all the annual reports. For the final thesis on Cosmological Inflation: theory and observations I was supervised by Dr. Claudio Dappiaggi and Prof. Girogio Goggi.

University of Pavia

B.A. Degree in Physics- 110/110 cum laude September 2007-October 2010

I have studied physics for my bachelor degree at the University of Pavia following more then 20 courses spanning all the relevant area of physics and mathematics at an undergraduate level. My curricula was oriented in Mathematical and Theoretical physics and I obtained a final mean score superior to 29.5/30. For the final project I did a thesis on Decoherence in Quantum Mechanics under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Pasquini.

Collegio Ghislieri

Alumno of Collegio Ghislieri of Pavia 2007-2012

I am an alumno of Collegio Ghislieri. Collegio Ghislieri is an Italian institution committed to promote University studies on the basis of merit, it requires a mean score of at least 27/30 with minimum score of 24/30 in each exam and moreover the knowledge of at least two languages other than Italian to be proved by acquiring an official certification.

Languages

Italian

Mother tongue

English

Very good command

Certifications:
  • December 2008, First Certi cate in English (Level B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference).
  • August 2012, three weeks English course at the International Language School of Malta
  • 2015, Advanced course held at SISSA (50 hours)

Spanish

Basic communication skills

Certifications:
  • May 2011, Diplomas de Espa~nol como Lengua Extranjera (Level A2 in the CEFR).

IT Skills

  • Windows operating systems, Microsoft Office
  • Latex typesetting language
  • Wolfram Mathematica
  • HTML, CSS
  • C, C++
  • Pascal, Visual Basic, SQL

Conferences

Here is a list of schools and conferences that I have attended during my PhD. In the next section you can find pdf files of my talks at various conferences.

Schools

  • 22 Jul-2 Aug 2013
    School and Workshop on New Light in Cosmology from the CMB, ICTP , Italy
  • 1-6 June 2014
    SIGRAV graduate school Gravity and the Quantum, Como, Italy
  • 24-29 August 2015
    Mathematica Summer School on Entanglement Entropy, Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Canada

Conferences

  • 9 - 15 Jun 2013
    2ndMediterranean Conference on Classical and Quantum Gravity (2nd MCCQG) Veli Losinj, Croatia
  • 14-17 Oct 2013
    Dark Side of the Universe 2013 IX InternationalWorkshop, SISSA, Italy
  • 17-21 March 2014
    Workshop Quantum Gravity in Paris, LPT, Orsay, France
  • 24-25 April 2014
    Workshop Foundations of Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Gravity, Imperial College, London
  • 1-5 September 2014
    Workshop Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity, SISSA, Trieste, Italy
  • 8-12 September 2014
    Workshop Conceptual and Technical Challenges for Quantum Gravity, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • 15-18 December 2014
    Workshop Emergent Time and Emergent Space in Quantum Gravity, AEI, Postdam, Germany
  • 12-18 July 2015
    Fourteenth Marcel Grossmann Meeting - MG14, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy
  • 20-23 July 2015
    Workshop:Quantum Gravity Meeting, University LaSapienza, Rome, Italy
  • 17-21 August 2015
    Quantum Information in Quantum Gravity II, Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Canada
  • 7-12 September 2015
    Prospect for Causal Set Quantum Gravity, ICMS, Edinburgh, UK
  • 20-25 June 2016
    Relativistic Quantum Information North, IQC, Waterloo

Talks

Clicking on the title of the talk you can download the pdf file (if present).

Publications

Links to the papers are present also in the research section.

Awards and Fundings

  • 2016 SIF-Italian Society of Physics
    Award "Giuliano Toraldo di Francia"
  • 2014 COST action MP1006
    Grant for the STSM (Short Term Scienti c Mission) "Seeking Observable Signatures of Quantum Theories in a Discrete Spacetime Background"
  • 2012-16 PhD scholarship at SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies)
  • Summer 2012
    Winner of a scholarship of the Italian Ministry of Foreign A airs for spending three weeks in Malta for an English course
  • 2009
    Winner of the scholarship "Ida Beltrami" of the FAB (Aurelio Beltrami Foundation)
  • 2007
    Award \In Studii Laus" of the Rotary Club and Rotaract of Senigallia for the best high school students

Events
organization

  • 2015-present
    Co-organizer of the Gravity Group Journal Club at SISSA
  • 2014-15
    SISSA for the schools. Series of seminaries and activities of science communication for schools and broad audience
  • September 2014
    Member of the Local Organizing Committee of the workshop Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity, 1-5 September 2014, SISSA, Trieste, Italy

Research

Quantum Gravity Phenomenology

Quantum Gravity is the marriage of Quantum Theory with General Relativity but as in some marriages the two do not go very well together. Nowadays, even thought the research in this field is almost 100y old and despite the fact that we have learn a lot, we still don't have the theory of Quantum Gravity. What we have is a pletora of models with their good aspects and their everpresent problems. Then what is really missing? One of the answers is an empirical guidance. I.e. we need some help from experiments in order to falsify some models and pinpoint the relevant aspect that survive the empirical tests (see here for a series of recent conferences on this topic).
The recent focus of my research is, on one side, on the phenomenology of a Quantum Gravity model called Casual-Set theory and on the other on some phenomenological aspect of non-locality (to be intended as presence of infinitely many derivatives in the e.o.m.s)


Causal-set Phenomenology:
Causet theory is a Quantum Gravity theory which postulate that the true nature of spacetime is both discrete and (locally) Lorentz Invariant. The math behind causal-sets is the one of partially ordered sets and the simplicity of the physical starting assumptions make this theory appealing. We have recently studied how to construct a scalar QFT starting from the non-local d'Alembertian operator(s) derived from Causal-set in this JHEP paper ( arxiv version ) pointing out some relevant feature like the violation of the Strong Huygens principle (see Jonsson at al. and Blasco at al. for the possible relevance of such violations). In a following paper we have investigated the small scale properties of this non-local effective theory by studying its spectral dimension and found evidences of dimensional reduction.


Non-locality Phenomenology:
The work in this field is at the very beginning and we have various projects related to Causal-set theory that are still work in progress. We have recently studied the response of inertial Unruh-DeWitt detectors coupled to a non-local scalar field and found that the response is sensitive to the non-locality scale. It is reasonable to envisage future tests of these non-local effects in the response of local detectors in order to cast stringent constraints on the non-locality scale. Inspired by, but not related for the moment to, the non-locality of Causal-set we are investigating a sort of non-local Quantum mechanics with the aim to can cast bounds on a phenomenological parameter identified with a non-locality scale using macroscopic quantum objects and in a way (almost) model independent. We have recently shown that the characteristic effect of non-locality on the dynamical evolution of a mechanical oscillator consists in a spontaneous, time-periodic squeezing of coherent states of the oscillator.

Analogue Gravity

Analogue Gravity is a research field that studies condensed matter systems (and not only) that are, in a mathematical well defined way, analogous to QFT in curved spacetime. Indeed the major (but not the only) goal of the analogue gravity program would be to experimentally detect Hawking radiation in an analogue sistem (see here for a nice website on the topic). Nevertheless analogue gravity offers also the possibility to obtain analogue spacetimes that are more then a fixed arena for the propagation of analogue fields in curved spacetimes. My work has been to study an analogue model based on a relativistic Bose-Einstein condensate in which the dynamics of the analogue spacetime induced by the back-reaction of the pertubations propagating on top of it takes the geometrical form of a scalar theory of gravity. For the details see my PRD paper ( arxiv version ) and/or this very brief talk at PI (first 10min of the video).

Quantum Information/Computing

For my master thesis I have worked on a Quantum Information project with Prof. Giacomo Mauro D'Ariano and Dr. Paolo Perinotti. We have studied the universality of the C-NOT logical gate in a generalized probabilistic theory that differs from standard QM. In particular this theory correspond to quantum mechanics formulated with real Hilbert spaces instead of the standard complex ones. We proved the universality of C-NOT entangling gate (and that it is required an ancilliary re-bit in general) and as a by-product we also provide a short proof of universality of C-NOT for standard QM. The details can be found in this EPL paper ( arxiv version ).

Outreach Activities

  • SISSA for the Schools: seminaries and visits

    SISSA for the school organized various visits of SISSA during the year for primary and secondary schools. The visits permit the kids to interact with students and researchers in SISSA and to be introduced to cutting edge reserach through interactive seminars in a friendly environment.
    I have participated in this outreach activity both being a guide for the visits and presenting interactive seminars on different arguments in physiscs.

    • 28 May 2015, Science Communication:
      Light, space and time: how Einstein changed the world, interactive lecture for high school students
    • 12 March 2015, Science Communication:
      Light, space and time: how Einstein changed the world, interactive lecture for middle school students
    • 11 February 2015, Science Communication:
      The (poor) Schrodinger cat: curiosities from the Quantum world talk for last year high school students
    • 11 February 2015, Science Communication:
      guide for the exhibition The hystory of the Universe
    • 22 January 2015, Science Communication:
      Curiosities from the Quantum world, talk for primary high school students
    • 20 November 2014, Science Communication:
      guide for a SISSA tour with elementary school students
  • SISSA for the Schools: special day

    SISSA for the school organized also special days for high school student (see here ) to come and enjoy SISSA. This year it was at 11 of Febrary, we had more then 500 participants. We organized interview with the researchers, visits of the school and a great number of interactive seminars and activity.<\br> I led various groups of students through the visit The history of the Universe and also presented an interactive seminar.

  • FameLab:

    I have partecipated (without passing the preliminary phase) to the regional selection of FameLab Italy. FameLab is a competition of science communication. The audience is composed of high school students and there is a commitee of experts. Each candidates then has three minutes to explain in an accessible and without multimedia support a science fact. If you want to see some funny way of presenting science go to this video (in italian) on YouTube (I am at the 12th minuts!).

  • JCOM masterclasses:

    I attended, thanks to a SISSA scholarship, the JCOM Masterclasses course on Facilitating the debate on the scientific and technological development ,helded at ICTP from 11 to 15 of Jenuary 2016. JCOM Masterclasses are short, intensive training courses to empower scientists, senior-middle managers of cultural institutions and other professionals to communicate science through different media to different audiences.

  • Trieste NEXT:

    SISSA participates actively to Trieste NEXT a science festival that is held in Trieste once per year and in which different science institutions of the Trieste's area participate in order to make the public know what is going on in science. I was both in 2014, 2015 and this year a volunteer at the SISSA stand presenting an activity on the "Quantum World" and "Einstein and the discovery of Gravitational Waves".

(Image credit NASA)