Interview with a new Oskar Klein Fellow

Elena Moretti is the first of the about 300 applicants who was selected to become an Oskar Klein Fellow this year. She comes from a little country-side town, called Cartura, on the south of Padua in Italy, where she graduated in physics in 2006. She got her PhD in Trieste where she worked with the AGILE and Fermi experiments on GRBs. She developed a method that was used to calculate the flux upper limits on the GRB emission that was used in both experiments. In 2010 she moved to Stockholm working as a postdoc at the KTH. We ask her to tell us more about herself and the work she will be doing at the Oskar Klein Centre.

Congratulations Elena! You have been offered an Oskar Klein Fellowship. How does it feel?
It feels good! It gives me the opportunity to develop my newborn interest in the polarimetry field. Wen I came here 2 years ago I was working only in the high energy astrophysics field with the 2 gamma-ray experiments Fermi and AGILE. After one year a new interest was tickling me: PoGOLite. I started to work on it as a “side job” on my spare time….well I guess that would change soon.

You are not new to the OKC. Can you tell us what you were doing before?
As I mentioned it before, I have a KTH postdoc position to work on the analysis of the GRB prompt emission with Fermi data. I am working within the KTH group led by Felix Ryde. We are working on a specific emission model called Subphotospheric emission and in particular I am checking if the spectral shape we predict is consistent with the Fermi data on GRBs. Currently the spectrum of the GRB prompt emission is normally described by a Band function. Unfortunately the Band function does not carry any physical information on the emission mechanism, it was made to follow the “normal” spectral shape of a GRB. SInce the launch of AGILE and Fermi an unexplored energy range became available for the studies on GRBs. It is important, thus, that the predictions of the different models on this energy range are compared with the available data.

Why did you choose to apply for this position?
For the possibility of working on polarimetry. I like to explore different fields and learn always new things and this was a great opportunity for that. I will be still on Fermi following and working on the project we started, but I will dedicate a great part of my time to accomplish the PoGOLite mission and planning the next experiment on polarization.

What do you find unique for your field of research about the OKC?
First of all I must mention the presence in the astroparticle group of the particle physics “soul” and the astrophysics “soul” that are my 2 major interests in my carrier so far. This is not easy to find, normally one overcomes the other and scientific groups call themselves astroparticle but are actually either particle physicists or astrophysicists.
Looking a bit further at the Oskar Klein Centre, I like the freedom to be interested on something else than your research field. I like the idea of get to know a bit of the other researches and, of course, researchers! In Italy is not that common…you meet people because you have to work with them and normally you don’t meet the people that are working in different fields. There are exceptions but are usually created by the people and not by the institutions. I must admit that only after 1 year I started to considerate the OCK meetings as nice events where you can chat with people and not as a duty!

What is your field of research? Can you describe the project/projects in which you will be involved?
This question is as much easy as it is tricky! I think my research field is astroparticle physics. I was a real particle physicist (I worked on the CDF experiment at Fermilab) and since my PhD I am working with 2 astrophysical experiments, so I went through several internal struggles: which one of the 2 I am belonging to? Here I can finally be in both!
As I said I will follow the work I am doing now with the Fermi GRBs as well as the PoGOLite experiment, but I will also start to look at the future and think about a possible next experiment in polarimetry.

So what about living in Sweden?
Uhhh this is difficult: I am not quite Swedish yet and mediate is not my thing ­čśÇ Sweden has good and bad sides….. I like the easy way of everyday life here. In Italy everything is more difficult and being able to manage all to get through the day is sometimes heroic, in particular if you have to deal with public offices. I like that in Sweden there is more attention at the woman condition in the family and at work: they do not have to be superwomen that work, take care of the family and the the house without any help from their partners. What I mainly do not like of the Swedish people is….

…well let’s not talk about that! ­čśë
Congratulations Elena and see you around!

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