Currently Astroparticle Physics, the emerging interdisciplinary field resulting from the convergence of particle physics, astrophysics, astronomy, cosmology and cosmic ray physics, is regarded as one of the most exciting frontier areas of modern physics research. Many new institutes, groups and centres are being established in Europe and elsewhere; coordinating groups have been set up at EU, ESF and OECD level (ASPERA, ApPEC, and a working group of the global science forum); and two major projects in the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) roadmap, CTA (high-energy gamma-ray astronomy from the ground) and KM3NeT (neutrino astronomy using an underwater observatory), fall in this area.
The School of Cosmic Physics is a participant in both ESFRI projects CTA and KM3NeT, a full partner in the very successful HESS collaboration (the forerunner to CTA), and has recently joined the X-ray astronomy mission ASTRO-H (a joint Japanese, American and European mission which promises to be the most significant X-ray satellite of at least the next decade). There are also strong groups in the local universities (in particular NUIG, NUIM, UCC and UCD) working in this area as well as significant common interests with the School of Theoretical Physics. To provide a proper focus for all these activities the Governing Board of the School agreed in 2010 to the establishment of a Centre for Astro-Particle Physics and Astrophysics (CAPPA) under the direction of Prof Felix Aharonian.
CAPPA is deliberately not linked to any one project or area; instead it aims to be a broadly based centre for the study of the high-energy non-thermal universe through Astroparticle Physics and related areas of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Its focus is very much on theoretical modeling and data analysis in a multi-wavelength and multi-messenger context although some hardware involvement is not excluded. The public availability of large amounts of high-quality and largely unanalysed data from missions such as the Fermi gamma-ray observatory and the Chandra X-ray observatory, and in future from projects such as ALMA, LOFAR and SKA, is an important factor underpinning this approach. The centre will run student training courses, specialist workshop meetings and a strong visitor programme. Guest accommodation is available in the historic Dunsink Observatory for visitors to CAPPA.
Requests to spend time as a visiting scientist in CAPPA should be directed in the first instance to Felix Aharonian.