Scientific Rationale

Goal of the school is to offer graduate students and young researchers an updated, comprehensive view of multi-wavelength astrophysical polarimetry. This is a particularly favourable time for getting together experienced and junior scientists. Polarimetry is entering its golden age thanks to the upcoming space missions (IXPE, XIPE and e-XTP) which, for the first time ever, will systematically perform polarimetry measures in the X-rays. Polarimetry provides an entirely new way to look at the high-energy sky. In particular, it will give key information on highly-magnetic neutron stars (or magnetars), where vacuum birefringence (a Quantum Electrodynamics effect predicted 80 years ago and never measured in the lab) can at last be verified and on the structure and geometry of black hole accretion discs, making it possible to test General Relativity in the strong field limit and obtain an independent measure of the black hole spin. Polarization measurements will test inflation by detecting CMB polarization anisotropies associated with primordial gravitational waves background.

The activities of the school will benefit from the presence of world leading experts in the field of astrophysical polarimetry. Lectures will cover both observational and theoretical issues, with particular emphasis on the polaringenesis in different classes of astrophysical sources and on the most advanced measurement techniques across the electromagnetic spectrum. This will offer an excellent opportunity for young scientists (undergraduates, graduates and post-docs) attending the school to foster their professional growth in a high-level, multi-disciplinary environment, where they will become acquainted with different aspects of astrophysical polarimetry, from "hard theory" to data analysis and instrument design.

About the school

The school is organized over a ten-day period (from June 18 to June 26, 2018). Classes will be held for six hours per day each working day and on Saturday morning, for a total of 45 hrs. At least 12 hrs will be devoted to hands-on sessions, where the material presented in the lectures will be applied by the students to realistic situations, under the supervision of lecturers. English will be the official language of the school.

Participants will be limited to 35 and selected on the basis of their CV and reference letters. Lecturers will be asked to post their presentations at least one day in advance on this website. A web forum will be opened, where both students and lecturers can discuss ideas and suggestions.

The school is jointly organized by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Padova, the Department of Mathematics and Physics, University of Roma Tre and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, UCL, UK.