USI’s first PhD in cooperation with IRSOL

On August 8, Simone Riva, a doctoral student at the Faculty of Informatics of the Università della Svizzera italiana, successfully defended his PhD thesis at USI. This is the first PhD awarded by USI within the framework of a cooperation with the Istituto ricerche solari Aldo e Cele Daccò (IRSOL). Dr. Riva developed his research under the supervision of Dr. Luca Belluzzi and Prof. Rolf Krause and will continue his studies as a postdoc within the scientific cooperation between IRSOL and USI.

Simone Riva focused his activity on the development of high-perforance-computing techniques, needed to model with unprecedented accuracy the intensity and polarization of particular lines of the solar spectrum, which encode precious information on important phenomena taking place in the chromosphere, i.e. the layer above the solar surface visible to the human eye, and on the boundary between the chromosphere and the outermost region, the corona. The modeling of these lines requires considerable computing power and had so far been performed by applying some simplifying approximations. After initial tests, the algorithms developed by Dr Riva proved to be perfectly suitable to perform applications in state-of-the-art three-dimensional models of the solar atmosphere, and revealed artefacts and inaccuracies produced by the previous simplifications.
The computational tools developed in this thesis open up unprecedented possibilities to access the wealth of information encoded in the new spectro-polarimetric observations of the solar chromosphere, carried out both from ground and from space.

“We at IRSOL are very thankful to USI for this opportunity to advise students in their research projects and open for them opportunities to space and solar research using advanced computational methods and facilities available at USI”, commented Prof. Svetlana Berdyugina, director of IRSOL, adjunct professor at the USI Faculty of Informatics and a chair of the examination committee.

From left to right, Prof. Krause, Dr. Belluzzi and Dr. Riva (photo Dr. Franziska Zeuner).