I am a scientist working on astroparticle physics at the
Vrije Universiteit Brussel. My research interests cover
the origin, propagation, and detection of cosmic particles at the highest
Cosmic Particle Accelerators
Somewhere in the universe cosmic rays are accelerated to energies more than
100,000,000 higher than what is currently achieved at the Large Hadron Collider
at CERN. Mechanisms how these particle can be accelerated have been under investigation for many decades, but
the definitive origin of these particles remains still unclear. I contribute
to solving this puzzle by extending the capabilities of state-of-the-art
cosmic ray simulation software CRPropa to design and test acceleration models.
Particle Detection with the Moon
The highest energetic particles in the universe are very rare - less than one
particle per square kilometer and century can be detected at Earth. Studying
their origin and nature requires thus huge detectors. I am currently developing
a new measurement technique that uses Earth's entire moon as detector, using
that particles hitting the Moon emit a radio pulse that can be detected by
radio telescopes on Earth.
Propagation of Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays at the highest energies travel over distances of 3 - 3,000 Mpc
site of their acceleration to Earth. Mpc stands for the distance of a million parsec
which is roughly 30,000,000,000,000,000,000 km. During their propagation, cosmic rays will
interact with background light, and consequently lose energy and produce secondary particles.
Understanding and modelling these interactions allows to use the observation of cosmic rays and their secondaries
on Earth to study the properties of the cosmic ray sources and also the space they