ORIGINS PhD Award 2022 for Riccardo Arcodia

December 15, 2022

This year, one of the ORIGINS Cluster PhD awards goes to Riccardo Arcodia from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics for his excellent thesis. The ORIGINS PhD Awards were presented at a ceremony during the ORIGINS Science Week, which took place from November 28th to December 1st, 2022 at Seeon Monastery.

The ORIGINS PhD Awards for outstanding doctoral theses in the field of astrophysics, nuclear physics, particle physics and biophysics are presented once a year. This year, the selection committee, composed of Cluster Emeriti, was particularly impressed by two works: The dissertation “Accretion onto black holes across the mass scale” by Dr. Riccardo Arcodia and the dissertation “Hadean water-dew cycles drive the evolution of DNA and protocells” by Dr. Alan Ianeselli.

Encounters with Black Holes

In his dissertation, Riccardo Arcodia studied the physics of gas that moves in the immediate vicinity of black holes. He modeled the hitherto poorly understood interplay between the cool accretion disk, which glows in UV and optical light, and the overlying, hot X-ray-emitting corona. He showed that the disk and corona are magnetically coupled, and that this model works for both supermassive black holes as well as the much lighter, stellar black holes in X-ray binaries.

Moreover, Riccardo Arcodia discovered quasi-periodic flares (QPE) from two otherwise dormant galaxies with the X-ray satellite eROSITA and was able to explain this with an encounter of the central black hole with another compact object. "The result about the QPEs is spectacular and already has a major impact, namely a highly cited article in the journal Nature," emphasized the selection committee.

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