School of Physical Sciences and Computing
Leighton Building, LE106
+44 (0) 1772 89 3551
Subject Areas: Astrophysics
Cristina Popescu leads the Interstellar Medium Group, which investigates the formation and evolution of galaxies by studying the detailed physical processes that take place in these complex systems related to the interaction of radiation with dust, gas and cosmic rays. This research uses radiative transfer calculations and simulations and modelling techniques. Cristina is also interested in applications of theoretical models to observations, including data from ground and space-borne observatories.
Prof. Popescu is the President of Commission J1 of the International Astronomical Union. Her research aims at modelling emission mechanisms in galaxies ranging from the low energy submillimeter and infrared emission to the optical and ultraviolet emission, and up to very high energy gamma-ray photons. It links together the infrared, optical and ultraviolet astrophysics to the rapidly expanding field of high energy astrophysics and astro-particle physics, operating at the interface between observation and theory. On the observational side, a key feature of this research is to empirically determine physical attributes of galaxies such as star-formation rates, star-formation histories, and gas and dust content using a powerful new multiwavelength approach exploiting the hitherto unprecedented range of spaceborne and ground-based observatories available to the present-day astronomical community. On the theoretical side, the ultimate goal is to explain these empirically determined physical attributes in terms of physical processes controlling the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time. A key goal is to identify the processes governing how these systems have accreted their gas over cosmic time from the intergalactic medium contained within the evolving dark matter structure of the Universe. This ultimately addresses the fundamental issue of how the baryons are related to dark matter, what this implies about the nature of dark matter, as well as what effect the galaxies have on their environment, and the effect the environment has on galaxies. The research also addresses physical processes occurring on smaller scales in the interstellar medium inside galaxies which shapes the panchromatic emission of galaxies. Examples are the formation and destruction of dust and the injection and propagation of cosmic rays.
She is a Visiting Senior Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. She is also leading a research group at the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest as a CS1 (Senior Research Scientist grade I - equivalent full Professor). She was awarded a Leverhulme Trust research grant award for "Connecting the high and low energy views of the Milky Way." She was the co-chair of the International Astronomical Union Symposium (IAU) 284, "The Spectral Energy Distribution of Galaxies", Preston, 2011. She was awarded a Sasakawa foundation award to support Japanese scientists to participate to the IAU Symposium that she organised at UCLan. She was also awarded an IAU grant to support young scientists and researchers from countries economically disadvantaged to contribute to the IAU Symp. 284. In 2009 she was awarded an STFC standard grant for the project "Dust physics and the formation and evolution of galaxies" which was subsequently extended into the Consolidated Grant of JHI in 2011. In 2008 she was awarded the Centenary Jubileum Medal of the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy. She was a Visiting Senior Scientist at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena, California. She was a recipient of the Otto-Hahn Prize of the Max Planck Society in 1997. She has published over 220 articles with over 8500 citations and has an h-index of 49.
PhD in Astrophysics, University of Heidelberg, 1996
MSc in Physics, University of Bucharest, 1990
Diploma in Physics, University of Bucharest, 1989
Cristina has published over 220 articles with over 8500 citations and has an h-index of 49
Currently Cristina is teaching in the Physics and Astrophysics team. She also taught in the maths team and for the distant learning courses.
She is a Research Degrees Tutor for the JHI.
Visiting Senior Scientist at the Max Planck Institut fuer Kernphysik, Heidelberg, Germany.
Co-chair of the International Astronomical Union Symposium 284, "The spectral energy distribution of galaxies", University of Central Lancashire, Preston, September 2011.
Co-chair of the international conference "Hunting for the dark: the hidden side of galaxy formation", Malta, October 2009.
Co-chair of the international conference "The spectral energy distribution of galaxies: confronting models with data", Heidelberg 2004.
Co-editor of three Proceedings books.
Member of the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA), HATLAS, HiGAL, SAFARI/SPICA consortia.
Leader of a research group at the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, Bucharest