Astroparticle physics is a rapidly growing field of research at the intersection of astrophysics, theoretical physics, particle or high-energy physics, and cosmology.
Progress in these disciplines has, in the past decade, highlighted some profound questions that lie at their interfaces. These questions have, in different ways, become central to their research programmes.
It is precisely such questions that astroparticle physics addresses, for example:
These questions are profound, challenging and appealing, and answering them will require advanced and innovative methods from the various disciplines.
The importance of these questions, as well as the prospects of obtaining breakthrough results in the near future, have been widely recognized at the local, national and international level.
With Nikhef-FOM complementing the various institutes of the Faculty of Science, the Amsterdam Science Park already harbours excellent and broad expertise in astroparticle physics and gravitation, and has the unique potential to assume a leading role in the field.
With GRAPPA the Faculty of Science intends to:
Researchers of the Institute of Physics (IoP) and the Astronomical Institute “Anton Pannekoek” (API) join forces under the umbrella of the GRAPPA theme.
The research priority is acknowledged by the Faculty of Science and the Board of the university and received additional funding from the Board in 2010.
The present activities in astroparticle physics at the UvA are concentrated at the two institutes –API and IoP. Both institutes have received excellent grades in the most recent national research assessments.
The individual researchers who will initially be actively involved in GRAPPA, 15 in total, are listed in the proposal and all have very strong research and funding records. Awards collected by them in the past years include e.g. two Spinoza Prizes (M. van der Klis, E. Verlinde), two senior ERC grants (R. Wijers, E. Verlinde), four VICI grants (R. Wijers, S. Bentvelsen, P. de Jong, K. Skenderis), one KNAW professorship (M. van der Klis), and numerous junior distinctions.
The GRAPPA initiative is established as an active research centre in 2011. Within GRAPPA, 5-6 new faculty members will be hired in 2011-2012. The new appointees will add significantly to the existing excellence. Given the expected rate of hiring, we envision 50+ publications per year around the theme of GRAPPA.
Six publications with large impact since 2008 and co-authored by affiliate members are mentioned below.