Tag Archives: Research

DIY Science

I started my scientific adventures a quarter of a century ago. I am not very old, but I am not young either. When I started, I was full of dreams, ambitions, plans for the future. Some of them have come true, some others not, some others had to be adjusted as time went by and maturity kicked in. But my passion for science-studying, making and disseminating have played all central roles in what one could call an academic career after all this time.

In this exciting trip I’ve had several mishaps, several failures, many major and minor disappointments. I’ve lost friends and colleagues, I’ve earned others. For sure I found great mentors that shed bright lights on the tough road ahead and made me feel comfortably about myself and science. I am deeply thankful for all the guidance and training and education they gave me.

This coming Wednesday is my anniversary No. 7 at the University of Athens as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Physics. For those who do not know me, what I do for living (and fun!) is related to studying the fundamental constituents of matter, the ones forming the very big and very small bodies we see in the universe. Nuclear Physics it is. Two years ago I got my precious tenure, essentially having next-to-none financial support by the university or the Greek state to form a group, build an instrument or travel abroad to collaborate with foreign colleagues in big labs. Luckily enough, some mobility money from EU have helped a lot to keep in touch with current trends, participate in international collaborations and important experiments.

Promotion to the next academic rank in Greece is so much more political than other places I know. You can leave a large portion of your scientific life in what I call “an isomeric state of rank” if you disturb ierarchy or accidentally get in the center of internal political turbulence (oh, it can get nasty if you have the unfortunate luck to have big egos fighting big egos around here). But what bothers me most is that you have no means to prove yourself in the real field that should matter and could boost your career: research.

I am sick and tired with the conditions I try to do research here. I have dug out all kind of boxes in the stockroom with small detectors, old NIM units, bad cables, broken magnets and power supplies (I even found an old HPGe detector) being abandonded literally for decades to rot, I have taken them out, tested them, repaired them, upgraded them and put them in operation. I am proud of this DIY way of doing science, educating young guys, motivating them to put their hands into greese and dirt and get blood on their fingers and finally do something with that damn thing. But i am really sick and tired. This is not research of the future, this is not the way to drive the scientific potential of the best Physics Dept in the country to new endeavors, this is unfair for them and for me.

Last week, I finished writing  and submitted my first proposal to a Greek funding agency. I have spent my Christmas vacation to write the whole thing up, do the math in money, plan the proper activities, all for just the possibility to have 40k EUR for a few small detectors and a magnet. Not even close for what I really need, but it is the only chance that has been given to me and the rest of the scientific community in Greece since 2010, after the crisis has started. The first Open Call for Proposals offered by the Greek State. I, we, hope it won’t be the last for another 8-10 years. Whatever the chances to get through evaluation, I see this as my last opportunity to build something new from scratch, something completely mine. Before I call it quits and fly off from this rotten, pathetic system and do something useful for myself and the society. 

All this sounds weird: I used to love the DIY way of doing things…

(anyone hiring out there?)

Τελικά Αποτελέσματα κύκλου χρηματοδότησης ΕΔΒΜ34 – Δεκ 2017

Σήμερα ανακοινώθηκαν τα τελικά αποτελέσματα του κύκλου χρηματοδότησης ΕΔΒΜ34 “Υποστήριξη Ερευνητών με Έμφαση στους Nέους Ερευνητές”. Αναλυτικά μπορούν να αναζητηθούν στη ιστοσελίδα eduIII.gr. Παρακάτω παραθέτω ένα γράφημα που δημιούργησα πρόχειρα από τα δεδομένα που βρήκα εκεί περισσότερο ως οπτική απεικόνιση, που για κάποιους είναι πιο “ευανάγνωστη” από τον αντίστοιχο πίνακα. Δυστυχώς δεν είχα πρόχειρα τα στατιστικά των προτάσεων ανά ίδρυμα, ώστε να δώσω και τα ποσοστιαία αποτελέσματα. Το γράφημα λοιπόν περιορίζεται στην παράθεση του απόλυτου αριθμού εγκεκριμμένων προτάσεων ανά ίδρυμα. Προεξέχει με μεγάλη διαφορά το ΑΠΘ, σχεδόν το 25% του συνολικού αριθμού (63 από 246 συνολικά).

Αποτελέσματα ΕΔΒΜ34

A critical update of the nuclear EM moments database

Some of you know about my efforts to put together a database containing experimental data of nuclear electromagnetic (EM) moments. I am not going to go into details about what a nuclear moments is; all Nuclear Physics textbooks have extended information on them and why they are useful for nuclear structure.

 I have to clarify that I have stood on the shoulders of giants: Several researchers have tabulated experimental data, both on magnetic dipole and electric quadrupole moments, and made them available in print. Already since my PhD years I found myself struggling to find the proper info out of printed copies of those compilations (PDF were very scarce 10-15 years ago). The most recent compilation has been made available by Nick Stone, a colossal work indeed. Still, printed matter is all you can get.

In 2007 I decided I should take over the very hard task to import the existing compilations into a modern database scheme, check the data and update them frequently, as more and more papers were published. With the help of two students, Kostas Stamou and Thanasis Psaltis, both pursuing doctoral studies as we speak, I managed to have a first version in 2009. Lots of things had still to be done from that point. Frequent updates are considered THE top and most important priority in the philosophy behind the database.

Yesterday, I have completed a major update, past due already from July, however, this one was accompanied by a vast cleanup of citation data, references and errors in all kind of things. The database has currently 5352 entries for 1205 isotopes and each single one of them has been checked for integrity. Nevertheless, I can not really brag about this, as experience has shown me in the past that there is always a good experimental error associated to such works. So, please judge me lightly if you spot something missing. And PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

The database can be found here:


Version is dated: 10.09.2015 and includes all data up to Feb 2014.

I hope you find it useful.

NuSTRAP Mini-Workshop 06.15

Today was a very very very interesting day for our group. I am particularly happy, we managed to gather in a room, some twenty of us, and go through our first mini-Workshop.
The First NuSTRAP mini-Workshop is a mini one, just because we had only three interesting talks for two hours.

We started at 10 am in a classroom near our lab, had some nice cake and biscuits and coffee, and attended three talks spanning a broad range of subjects, all within the research borders of our group. Ms. Lagaki, a MS student gave a nice overview of ion separation by lasers in ISOLDE, Mr Psaltis followed presenting his talk on p-process nuclei (to be presented in the upcoming p-process Workshop taking place in Cyprus in about 10 days) and Ms Mitsi presented her work on a new analysis code of micro-XRF data collected from ANKA synchrotron facility.

The real profit out of this mini-Workshop is that the whole group gathered together and people working in completely different scientific regimes (from fundamental science to applications) had the opportunity to interact and get informed of the parallel scientific directions the NuSTRAP group has been dealing with the last couple of years. My feeling is that the whole thing was quite successful and deserves to be repeated. September is a very convenient month to do it. I will keep you posted.

Βραβεία Ακαδημίας Αθηνών – Ματιά στα δεδομένα

Τα βραβεία της Ακαδημίας Αθηνών ανακοινώθηκαν πριν περίπου ένα μήνα. Μπορεί κάποιος να τα βρει εδώ.

Με λίγη έρευνα, είναι εύκολο να δούμε ενδιαφέροντα στοιχεία για την ποιότητα των εργασιών, στηριζόμενοι σε στατιστικά στοιχεία που παραθέτουν τα ίδια περιοδικά για την απήχησή τους. Δυστυχώς, η Ακαδημία Αθηνών δε δημοσιεύει όλες τις εργασίας που έχουν κατατεθεί ανά κατηγορία διαγωνισμού, ώστε να είναι εύκολη και η σύγκριση με τις βραβευμένες.

Να σημειωθεί ότι στο PDF που παραθέτω περιλαμβάνονται στοιχεία μόνο για έγκριτες δημοσιεύσεις (έχουν παραληφθεί βιβλία, μελέτες σε ειδικά έντυπα και υποτροφίες).

Τα σχόλια και συμπεράσματα δικά σας.