Research areas

In present days there is a clear shift towards a new way of doing physics, which relies strongly on the use of computational means. Computational Physics, which is expanding with the availability of modern and more powerful computers, has been offering new insights on various natural phenomena, complementing and going beyond more traditional visions based on analytical approaches.

We also perspective to use our expertise and available means to start projects on other research areas, organise advanced courses, and provide help for general scientific education.

In this framework, our current research areas are:

Astrophysics and Geophysics

Current astrophysical and geophysical methods encompass a variety of disciplines among which Physics, Mathematics and Computers Engineering. We presently meet in our centre the scientific requirements to model mathematically some of the astrophysical and geophysical processes that govern such different physical systems as the Earth, the Minor Bodies of the Solar System (e.g., Near Earth Objects, Kuiper Belt Objets, and associated families like Centaurs, Comets and Irregular Satellites), to Stellar Evolution, Solar Physics, Light Pollution and Dark Sky Preservation.

The origin of the Earth’s magnetic field is a complex research subject. In our group, we focus on the study of the magnetic field at the Earth’s surface (or above) and of the study of the related fluid flow models at the top of the core. These kind of plots can work as useful boundary constraints for the numerical simulations of the geodynamo.

It is generally known that there exists strong solar wind-Earth’s magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. The role of turbulence in the solar wind – Earth’s magnetosphere interaction processes can be reliably interconnected by investigation of the non-Gaussian characteristics of magnetic turbulence in the solar wind and the occurrence of intermittent magnetic turbulence in the Earth’s plasma sheet.

Condensed Matter

The main objective of this group is to attack some specific problems of the spectroscopic characterization of complex biomolecules, including environment and dissipation effects. The motivation is clear: there is today a great need for accurate theoretical predictions of the response of biosystems to light. Computer simulations of these phenomena can, for instance, guide experimental biochemists in the design of fluorophores with novel spectroscopic properties by selective mutations, or in the control of bioprocesses of medical relevance.

Fundamental Interactions

Among the research topics of most actuality are ultrarelativistic heavy ion collisions, effective field theories of quantum chromodynamics at low and intermediate energies, the structure of nuclear and quark matter, the behaviour of matter under extreme conditions, applications in astrophysics and cosmology, hot and dense stellar matter, phase transitions in nuclear and hadronic matter, development of many-body physics approaches which include bosonization and generalized coherent states methods, scattering phenomenology and hadron spectroscopy, few-body physics and meson production on light nuclei, studies of newly observed hadronic states, which are challenging the traditional understanding of non-perturbative QCD, studies of the influence of final-state interactions, and the discovery of new vector charmonium resonances.

Particles and Fields

Non-perturbative approaches to Quantum Field Theories (Strong Interacting Particles). Low energy effective QCD models and phase transitions. Compact stars: equation of state, crust, collective modes. Pseudo-spin in nuclei. Nucleon and baryon form factors using effective chiral quark models. Boson description of many-body fermion systems.

Teaching and History of Sciences

The GTHS is characterized by its interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary dimension, intending to promote the cooperation of researchers from various faculties of UC and other universities, allowing the development of scientific studies on rich primary fonts of the History of Science in Portugal. The Group also focuses its work on Teaching and Teachers Education, emphasizing didactic and technological aspects. A critical point of the current Portuguese education system is the lack of adequate scientific and pedagogical preparation of many already in-service teachers. In this area the GTHS will continue to develop studies that promote the quality of science teaching, aiming also at an intervention in science communication in all kinds of environments, starting with basic and secondary school but going on to society at large