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Summer Student Program 2024

In the line of our good practice in previous years, Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center will organize the summer student program this year in a hybrid form. That means that we will allow the students to come to CAMK building to work on the projects. The accommodation will be available in dormitories in Warsaw if there are vacancies. The exact form of the collaboration isup to the project supervisor and is indicated in the project description, but in the case of the on-site form the project supervisor is expected to be available on-site for the student. On-line form of the program is also possible.

We invite 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year undergraduate physics or astronomy students (in exceptional circumstances we would accept younger students). The duration of an individual programme should be 4-6 weeks. Suggested topics are listed below. If you are interested in participating in the internship in the on-line only form, please contact the selected scientist directly to arrange for the details. For on-site form, please first contact the supervisor and fix the exact time and duration of the project and then send your application (the supervisor's name, date of the project, scientific CV). Applications should be submitted in PDF form to praktyki@camk.edu.pl. There is no deadline for applications and they will be considered once submitted. The successful candidates will be informed by email.
Please, be aware that the on-site form is limited to EU citizens only.









1. Bhupendra Mishra: mbhupe@camk.edu.pl


Title: Simulating misaligned accretion disks around black holes using GRMHD models


Supervisors: Bhupendra Mishra

Project for CAMK Summer Program July/Sep 202
4, Hybrid and/or on-site form

Project description: In this project the student will work on cutting edge numerical simulations of black hole accretion disks using global GRMHD simulations. The primary goal of this project will be to understand the effects of magnetic field on disk inclination and mass accretion rate into the central black hole. There will be a set of tasks to be done during this project. The student will start with a simple Polish doughnut accretion disk model using MHD code AthenaK (with GPUs capability). As a next step we will add the magnetic field and disk inclination to evolve the simulation further and extract the primitive variables. The data analysis part will be done using python and the visualization  package called yt to develop a fully automated pipeline to get the diagnostics for the simulations. The project will also allow students to learn how to perform large scale computational models using supercomputers and modern Nvidia GPU accelerators available in the CAMK cluster. 

Working knowledge of C++ or/and Python is required.



2. Tomasz Krajewski, tkrajewski@camk.edu.pl


Title: Analytical vs numerical solutions in magnetohydrodynamics


Supervisors: Tomasz Krajewski (tkrajewski@camk.edu.pl)

Form: on-site or on-line.


Time: July-September, flexible.


Project description: Magnetohydrodynamics is broadly used to describe many astrophysical objects, for example accretion disk around black holes or neutron stars. Even though, some analytic solutions of equations of magnetohydrodynamics exist, there are very rare and correspond to highly symmetric settings, usually equivalent to low dimensional problems. As a example we can mention: Sod shock tube problem, propagation of smooth Alfven waves, Taylor–von Neumann–Sedov blast waves and so called (1-2-0-3) problem. Modeling realistic systems requires usage of numerical methods to obtain some approximations of exact solutions. The aim of this project is to compare numerically obtained results with analytical ones for problems in which the later are known. Understanding the imperfection of various numerical scheme will be helpful in deciding which one should be used for studied astrophysical phenomena and help to develop the new more precise or robust one. Moreover, calculating numerical solutions of standard one-dimensional problems are an important test for correctness of implementation of numerical code extensively used in the past. Finally, knowledge of analytical solution gives rare occasion to evaluate effectiveness of so called a posteriori error estimator used to estimate the quality of numerical solutions and are necessary ingredient of algorithms based on advance method of adaptive mesh refinement.


Working knowledge of C++ or/and Python is required.



3. Krzysztof Nalewajko: knalew@camk.edu.pl


TITLE : GRMHD numerical simulations of BH accretion and formation of relativistic jets.

Supervisors :
Krzysztof Nalewajko


Time constraints: the preferred time is Aug 19th - Sep 30th, July is also possible but less regularly.


Project description: I offer an introductory project to general relativistic magnetohydrodynamical (GRMHD) numerical simulations of accretion onto Kerr black holes (BH) and formation of relativistic jets. A numerical code, analysis scripts, access to computing facilities, astrophysical background will be provided and explained. Knowledge of computing, numerical methods, fluid dynamics, magnetism or general relativity will be preferred.



4. Biswaraj Palit: bpalit@camk.edu.pl


Title: Evolution of warm corona in Active Galactic Nuclei


Supervisors: Biswaraj Palit (CAMK-PAN) & Agata Rozanska (CAMK-PAN)


Time: July-August 2024. Preferably onsite, but online is also possible


Project description: AGNs are powerful phenomena that can profoundly impact the properties and evolution of galaxies through various physical processes, making them essential objects of study in astrophysics and cosmology. They are visible across a broad wavelength range, from radio to gamma rays. One of the most enigmatic features in the X-ray spectra of AGN is the soft excess. Multi-phase plasma may co-exist in the inner regions of the accretion disk, which can explain the origin of soft excess in AGNs. We aim to understand the role accretion disk plays in the formation and evolution of the warm plasma better known as the ‘warm corona’. The results of this work will be published (with the possibility of the student becoming a co-author).


Work Plan: The student will be given a basic introduction to AGNs (in two lectures), especially in X-rays, and the fundamentals of X-ray observations (in one lecture). The student will learn to use XSPEC (X-ray data fitting software) and perform data reduction of the X-ray satellites- XMM-Newton and NuSTAR. Further tasks include spectroscopic analysis and interpretation.



 Basics of Python and knowledge of statistics.




5. Iwona Kotko: ikotko@camk.edu.pl


Title: Investigating the isolated binary evolution scenario for Gaia NS1-like systems


Supervisor: Iwona Kotko 


Time: July-September, online & on-site form

Project description: Gaia NS1 is a wide neutron star - low mass star binary that has been recently discovered by the Gaia mission. It is the first dormant (no X-ray emission) NS binary ever discovered. Its peculiar orbital parameters  make its formation scenario puzzling. Investigating the possible isolated binary evolution of Gaia NS1-like binaries may shed light on different aspects of binary evolution theory and may help to better understand the statistical properties of other binary populations like XRBs, CVs or double compact objects which are the sources of gravitational waves detectable by LIGO/VIRGO/KAGRA or LISA (in the future).

The aim of the project is to check under what conditions  it is possible to obtain the binaries of parameters matching (within assumed uncertainties) the observational parameters of Gaia NS1 and to calculate the predicted formation rate of such binaries (assuming that their formation will be successful within the model).
The student will get familiar with the population synthesis calculations in general and with the StarTrack code specifically. The calculations will be done on the CAMK computer cluster. Equally important to gaining the knowledge of numerical tools will be learning the basics of binary stars evolution. The advantage of the project is that it gives the opportunity to learn the stellar and binary evolution in the "laboratory", by studying how the system changes in each timestep depending on the parameters that one can control. The results of this work may lead to a publication co-authored by the student.


programming and computer skills. Basic knowledge of C will be an advantage.




6. Miljenko Cemeljic: miki@camk.edu.pl


Title: Numerical simulations of star-disk and star-planet magnetospheric interaction

Supervisors: Miljenko Cemeljic & Fatemeh Kayanikhoo


Time: July/Sep 2024

Project description: We offer introduction to numerical simulations with the state-of-the-art code PLUTO. Students will choose star-disk or star-planet project, where they will learn to use the code and perform simulations which will be a part of future publications. Star-disk simulations will investigate the jet launching from a thin accretion disk. Star-planet simulations will investigate the radio emission from auroras on planets around pulsars.




7.  Grzegorz Pietrzyński: pietrzyn@camk.edu.pl


Title: Measuring Cosmic Distances


Supervisors: Grzegorz Pietrzynski, Piotr Wielgórski, Gergely Hajdu


Time: July/Sep 2024


Project description: Modern physics is unable to explain independent determinations of the expansion of the Universe. This problem called the Hubble tension provide a strong evidence for new physics. In order to solve the Hubble tension and eventually pave a road for new physics one has to measure cosmic distances with much better precision and accuracy. Cosmic distances are one of the most challenging and fascinating fields of modern astrophysics. The international team called the Araucaria works on this topic since 2020 (https://araucaria.camk.edu.pl/).


We offer an introduction to the topic and a possibility to join one of the projects, which include pulsating stars (Cepheids, RR Lyrae, ect), eclisping binaries, TRGB, JAGB, and other distance indicators. This project may include observations in our dedicated observatory in Chile.



basic knowledge of astrophysics, programming and computer skills




8. Felipe Espinoza-Arancibia: fespinoza@camk.edu.pl

Title: Understanding Cepheids at different crossings of the instability strip


Supervisors: Felipe Espinoza-Arancibia (CAMK PAN), Bogumił Pilecki (CAMK PAN)


Form: on-site.
Time: August (4 weeks)

Project description:

Cepheids are one of the most important classes of variable stars, crucial for different areas of astrophysics. Because of the relationship between their period and luminosity, they are important distance indicators in the local Universe. They are also key objects for testing the predictions of stellar evolution and pulsation theories. The student will learn about the evolution of intermediate-mass stars and the modeling of classical Cepheids. The student will work with stellar evolutionary tracks computed using the state-of-the-art code Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) and with the MESA functionality Radial Stellar Pulsations (RSP). The objective of the project is to compute the time that Cepheids spend evolving in the different crossings of the instability strip. The results of this project will be compared with available empirical results and will be used in a publication (with the possibility of the student becoming a co-author). The program may be extended according to the skills and will of the student.



Programming skills will be important for the necessary analyses and visualization and will be an asset.