Physics meets art: From stormy Sun to lonely space cloud

The Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences hosted an art exhibition related to the students' doctoral work. Check out the videos, pictures, a song and a picture book!

The Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences (PAPU) covers many exciting fields. Our students work on theoretical, experimental and observational research in elementary particle physics, cosmology, astrophysics, space physics and planetary astrophysics. The PAPU spring event was held this year in lovely Kumpula gardens. We also hosted an ”art exhibition” where students could send a piece of art related to their doctoral work. Seven works were submitted. Check out the videos, pictures, a song and a picture book below!

Era of gravitational waves, Anna Kormu

A new window is opening to study the early universe. This animation is about Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA). LISA will be the first space-based gravitational wave detector when it launches in the early 2030s. It is a joint project by the European Space Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. LISA aims at detecting gravitational waves from the first moments of our universe and astrophysical sources such as merging black holes and neutron stars. LISA is an equilateral triangle consisting of three spacecraft. It will follow the Earth on its orbit around the Sun in a twenty degree angle and detect the passing gravitational waves. The 'arm length' (distance between two of the spacecraft) is 2.5 million kilometers, roughly six times the distance from Earth to Moon.

"Our dynamic magnetosphere" by Markku Alho

Ever wondered how our near-space bubble looks from outside? Check this 6-dimensional visualization and animation of a 6D Vlasiator run with a lightfield display. It shows a bow shock, magnetosheath and cusps where charged particles from the solar wind can directly enter our magnetosphere (pressure proxy, dusk side), magnetosphere (south side, Bz proxy), tail current sheet (Bx proxy) and magnetic field lines. Surfaces are colored with plasma pressure, showing propagating structures in the sheath, on the magnetopause and in the tail. Earth is a blue marble in the middle. Come and see this visualization live at Kumpula campus at the window B412 Exactum Space Corridor!

"Interacting supermassive black holes" by Alexander Rawlings

Learn how to make supermassive black holes from modelling clay! Supermassive black holes are believed to reside at the centres of almost all massive galaxies. When galaxies collide their supermassive black holes will dynamically interact. A key signature of this interaction will be gravitational waves. This is a prime focus of the upcoming European Space Agency LISA mission. Numerical simulations can not only model the expected gravitational wave signatures, but also probe the complex relationship between supermassive black hole dynamics and the surrounding environment. Exploring this relationship is imperative to our understanding of galaxy formation, including the formation of our own Milky Way galaxy.

"Storms from the Sun" by Chaitanya Sishtla

The Sun is a fiercy star. This movie poster presents simulations of the solar corona that are actively developed to investigate plasma phenomena in this outermost layer of the solar atmosphere. It shows a solar eruption launching from a Sun that can not only cause pretty auroras but threaten our modern technologies on ground and in space. The poster also serves as an allegory for the journey to complete a PhD during its final year.

"Mimicking diffusion in space" by Maxime Dubart

Space is filled with charged particles. This artwork shows the results from a Vlasiator simulation that can model charged particles in Earth’s magnetosphere at high precision. Simulation lacks the resolution to study pitch angle diffusion, but a model has been designed to mimic this. The Velocity Distribution Function expands with time, correctly representing the diffusion.

"Our home in the cosmos" by Teemu Willamo

Listen to a beautiful song “Koti kosmoksessa” ("Our home in the cosmos") made by the band Eris Capella. It is about an astronomer's view of the beautiful planet Earth and its place in the huge, wide cosmos.

  • Performed by: Eris Capella
  • Composition & lyrics: Teemu Willamo
  • Vocals: Jonna Rintamäki
  • Guitars & bass: Teo Korhonen
  • Keyboard: Teemu Willamo & Satumaaria Sukuvaara
  • Drums: Teemu Willamo
  • Sound engineering: Niklas Glass
"Lonely Space Cloud" by Emma Mannfors

How do stars form? This wonderful picture book “Where do baby stars come from?” describes the process to children (or tired physicists) starting from a lonely space cloud. The original Finnish-language draft of this story was first created for a talk at Integraatiofest, a physics/math students' conference, in 2021. And there is a happy ending.

Read the "How do stars form?" picture book here in English or in Finnish​​​​​​​