Category Archives: news

Poison in my reactor

40 protons and 48 neutrons is all it takes to have the second greatest neutron killer in a nuclear reactor. 88Zr has an enormous neutron capture cross section, reaching 6 orders of magnitudes higher than neighboring nuclei, even its somewaht heavier cousins. Read the commentary on the research work by Jennifer Shustermann and collaborators in Nature by Stephen Heinitz and Ulli Köster in this link

(both images come from the original works listed above)

Academy of Athens Awards 2018

I feel great honor and joy in announcing that I am this year’s recipient of the prestigious Academy of Athens Award in “Experimental Physics” (Award “G. Foteinos”). The award is related to the published paper in Physical Review C (doi: 10.1103/PhysRevC.96.035806), entitled:
First cross-section measurements of the reactions 107,109Ag(p,γ)108,110Cd at energies relevant to the p process
by A. Khaliel, T.J. Mertzimekis, E.-M. Asimakopoulou, A. Kanellakopoulos, V. Lagaki, A. Psaltis, I. Psyrra, and E. Mavrommatis

This is work carried out by our group at the University of Athens and all co-authors deserve congratulations for their contribution and commitment.

Here is the official announcement by the Academy of Athens (in greek, see #12).


The radiation released by Hiroshima bone has marked human bones

On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, leading to a nuclear blast that instantly claimed about 45,000 lives. Now, the jawbone of one of those casualties — belonging to a person who was less than a mile from the bomb’s hypocenter — is helping researchers determine how much radiation was absorbed by the bones of the victims, a new study finds.

The amount is staggering: Analyses show that the jawbone’s radiation dose was about 9.46 grays (Gy). A Gy is the absorption of one joule of radiation energy per kilogram of matter, which in this case is bone.

read more here and the original publication in PLOS ONE here

QS rankings 2018 and the UoA Physics Department

The QS World University rankings for 2018 were announced very recently. It is always interesting to see some of the data regarding overall performance and assessment by the QS foundation. The latter uses their own algorithm and set of criteria to manage available bibliographical data (in collaboration with Elsevier as I read), thus producing a ranking list for several hundreds of universities around the World.

Regarding Physics I am interested in, our National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Physics Department is placed in positions 401-500, maintaining its status in the top-500 universities of the world. However, according to the QS criteria, UoA Physics is placed in the last position among Greek Physics Departments. See results and a screenshot below:

Putting aside the fact that NTUA (ranked in 151-200) is not a pure Physics Department, AUTh occupies the second place, while U.Crete is in No3.

Amid non-existent research funding, personnel reduction to a 40% with respect to what it was 3-4 years ago, turbulence with new legislation and “reforms”

I am personally very happy that NTUA Physics is still in the top-500. A different ranking based on another set of criteria (excluding from points the number of foreign students and faculty, mutlilingual programs, international character etc) has put the Physics Dept of UoA in the 101-150 worldwide for 2016 and 76-100 in 2017. Not bad for what we, as faculty, experience in our miserable everyday lifes.

Προσωρινοί πίνακες κατάταξης ΕΛΙΔΕΚ – Μεταδιδάκτορες

Μόλις πριν λίγο αναρτήθηκαν οι προσωρινοί πίνακες κατάταξης για τη δράση ΕΛΙΔΕΚ “ενίσχυση μεταδιδακτόρων”. Για τις φυσικές επιστήμες, υπάρχει το όριο των 24 προτάσεων προς χρηματοδότηση, το οποίο αντιστοιχεί σε βαθμολογία 84.

Έγκριση Προσωρινών Πινάκων Κατάταξης για επτά (7) Επιστημονικές Περιοχές, στο πλαίσιο της 1ης Προκήρυξης ερευνητικών έργων ΕΛΙΔΕΚ για την ενίσχυση Μεταδιδακτόρων Ερευνητών/τριών

Στην Πυρηνική Φυσική (βασική ή εφαρμογές) δεν υπάρχει καμία που να ξεπερνά το όριο αυτό, νομίζω 75 είναι η πιο υψηλή που βρίσκεται. Εξαιρετικά ανησυχητικό για το μέλλον του πεδίου, καθώς οι μεταδιδάκτορες πρέπει να ενισχυθούν για να είναι έτοιμοι να αποτελέσουν την επόμενη γενιά μελών ΔΕΠ στο αντικείμενο. Χωρίς εμπειρία δεν υπάρχει περίπτωση να συνεχίσουν προς αυτήν την κατεύθυνση.