Prof. Gianfranco Bertone (1975) has been appointed professor of Theoretical Astroparticle Physics at the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam (UvA).
Bertone’s field of expertise is astroparticle physics, a rapidly growing field of research at the intersection between particle physics, cosmology, and astrophysics. He has in particular contributed to the shaping of the modern quest for dark matter, the mysterious substance that appears to permeate the universe at all scales. His contributions range from new particle searches at CERN to the interplay between dark matter and black holes, and from astronomical evidence for dark matter to the history of the dark matter problem.
As a professor, Bertone will be exploring new ways to identify dark matter by taking advantage of the opportunities arising from upcoming astronomical surveys and gravitational wave observations. His research will also be connected to his work as the founding director of the new European Consortium of Astroparticle Physics (EuCAPT), which aims to bring together the European community of theoretical astroparticle physicists and cosmologists. Bertone’s vision for EuCAPT is as an open and inclusive network that will increase the exchange of ideas and knowledge; coordinate scientific and training activities; help scientists attract adequate resources for their projects; and promote a stimulating, fair and open environment in which young scientists can thrive.
Bertone will contribute to the physics teaching programme within the Faculty of Science and at Amsterdam University College. Beside teaching within the Bachelor’s programme Physics and Astronomy, and within the Theoretical Physics and GRAPPA tracks of the Master’s programme Physics and Astronomy, Bertone will act as coordinator of the honours programme in Physics and Astronomy.
Bertone has been an associate professor at the UvA’s Institute of Physics since 2011. He was the spokesperson for the Gravitation & Astroparticle Physics Amsterdam (GRAPPA) centre of excellence from its foundation until 2019. Before coming to Amsterdam, he was a visiting professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Zurich, and coordinator of the Theoretical Physics group at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris.
Bertone was the editor-in-chief of Elsevier’s journal Physics of the Dark Universe until 2017, when he stepped down to support open-access publishing platforms. He recently joined the new two-way open access platform SciPost, founded in Amsterdam by UvA scientists. He is the creator and chair of the international conference series TeV Particle Astrophysics, and the co-founder of the research collective Dark Machines, that develops machine learning methods for fundamental research in physics and astronomy.
Beside teaching and research, Bertone is active in science outreach. He has written two popular science books, and has given numerous public lectures. He is the founder of an outreach project that aims to stimulate interest in science among high school students, with particular attention paid to those with socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.