Supervisors from the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center



Dr. Kuźniak is an experimental physicist, the leader of the SiPM Systems for Astroparticle and Medical Physics Group at Astrocent, and a member of DEAP-3600 and DarkSide collaborations.

Dr. Kuźniak received his PhD from the Jagiellonian University, following a 3-year research stay at the Paul Scherrer Institut (Switzerland) and Institut Laue-Langevin (France), where he worked on cold and ultracold neutron experiments (nTRV/BRAND, nEDM) motivated by the baryon asymmetry puzzle.

He was then employed as a postdoc at Queen’s University (Kingston) and research scientist at Carleton  University (Ottawa), focusing on the direct search for dark matter with DEAP-3600, a detector located 2 km underground at SNOLAB (Sudbury, Canada). His analysis leadership guided the effort of the collaboration starting from early simulation studies, through development of the full simulation and analysis package, analysis of the commissioning data, to publication of the first results from DEAP-3600; he was also in charge of several key R&D items and detector subsystems.

His aim is to lead the development of SiPM and light collection system for DarkSide-20k dark matter search at LNGS (Italy) and the planned future 300 tonne liquid argon detector (ARGO), and explore broader applications of this cutting-edge technology to neutrino experiments and medical physics.


Research interests:

Dark matter, liquid argon detectors, WIMPs, neutrinos, light collection and detection.


Major publications:

Ajaj R. et al. (DEAP Collaboration), (2019). ”Search for dark matter with a 231-day exposure of liquid argon using DEAP-3600 at SNOLAB”, Phys. Rev. D 100, 022004.

Kuźniak M. et al. (2019). “Polyethylene naphthalate film as a wavelength shifter in liquid argon detectors”, Eur. Phys. J. C 79, 291.

Aalseth C. A. et al. (2018). ”DarkSide-20k: A 20 Tonne Two-Phase LAr TPC for Direct Dark Matter Detection at LNGS”, Eur. Phys. J Plus 133, 131.

Amaudruz P.-A. et al. (2018). ”First results from the DEAP-3600 dark matter search with argon at SNOLAB”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 071801.

Amaudruz P.-A. et al. (2016). ”Measurement of the scintillation time spectra and pulse-shape discrimination of low-energy beta and nuclear recoils in liquid argon with DEAP-1”, Astroparticle Physics 85, 1.


Joanna Mikołajewska joined the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences (NCAC PAS) as an associate professor in 1993, and has held the title of Full Professor since 1998. She received her PhD from the Nicolaus Copernicus University, and afterwards she was employed there as an assistant professor at the Institute of Astronomy.

Prof. Mikołajewska has published over 250 scientific papers, prevailingly in peer-reviewed journals. Her scientific interests concentrate on various aspects of binary star interactions and evolution. She is an internationally recognized expert in the study of symbiotic stars – strongly interacting binaries where a white dwarf accretes material from an evolved giant. These binaries pose a serious challenge to binary evolution theory, which cannot reproduce their orbital period distribution. Understanding these binaries has important implications for a wide range of applications, e.g. chemically peculiar stars, compact binaries, type Ia supernovae, and many others.

Prof. Mikołajewska takes very active part in international scientific life. She was a member of the Organizing Committee of the IAU Commission 42, the Observing Programme Committee of the European Southern Observatory, and is at present a member of the South African Large Telescope (SALT) Science and Technical Committee. She is regularly invited to scientific organizing committees of international conferences, and has chaired several of them.


Research interests:

Interacting binaries, symbiotic stars, novae, X-ray binaries, binary evolution.


Major publications:

Mikołajewska J. (2012). “Symbiotic Stars: Observations Confront Theory”, Baltic Astronomy 21, 5.

Mikołajewska J. et al. (2014). “First detection and characterization of symbiotic stars in M31, MNRAS 444, 586.

Mikołajewska J., Shara M.M. (2017). “The Massive CO White Dwarf in the Symbiotic Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi, ApJ 847, 99.

Mikołajewska J. et al. (2017). “A survey of the Local Group of galaxies for symbiotic binary stars - I. First detection of symbiotic stars in M33”, MNRAS 465, 1699.

Iłkiewicz K., Mikołajewska J. et al. (2019). “Wind Roche lobe overflow as a way to make Type Ia supernovae from the widest symbiotic systems”, MNRAS 485, 5468.


Grzegorz Pietrzyński is a professor at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences (NCAC PAS). He received his PhD and then DSc (habilitation) degrees from the University of Warsaw in 1999 and 2006, respectively. He has published more than 400 refereed papers, cited more than 21 000 times. He actively works on several different fields of modern astrophysics including the cosmic distance scale, stellar astronomy, and extragalactic planets.

He is the leader and co-founder of the international project Araucaria, working to significantly improve the extragalactic distance scale. The Araucaria Project has so far resulted in more than 150 refereed publications in top astronomical journals. Prof. Pietrzynski has been awarded many prestigious grants including the ERC advanced grant. He has won several prizes and awards: the Marian Miesowicz Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of physics by the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), an award for the second most important discovery of the last 25 years in Polish science – by a plebiscite of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2014), and the Marie Curie Prize of the Polish Academy of Sciences for outstanding achievements in physics (2019).


Research Interests:

Extragalactic distance scale, galaxies, binaries.


Major publications:

Pietrzyński G. et al. (2019). “A distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud that is precise to one per cent”, Nature, 567, 200.

Pietrzyński G. (2018). “Twenty-five years of using microlensing to study dark matter”, Nature, 562, 349.

Pietrzyński G. et al. (2013)., “An eclipsing-binary distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud accurate to two percent”, Nature, 495, 76.

Pietrzyński G. et al., (2012). “RR Lyrae-type pulsations from a 0.26-solar-mass star in a binary system”, Nature, 484, 75.

Pietrzyński G. et al. (2010). “The dynamical mass of a classical Cepheid variable in an eclipsing binary system”, Nature, 468, 542.


Rodolfo Smiljanic is an associate professor at the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences (NCAC PAS). He earned his PhD from the University of São Paulo in 2008. Afterwards, he spent 3 years as a Fellow at ESO, in Germany, where as a functional duty (25% of his worktime) he worked as a support astronomer for the UVES spectrograph. He has worked at NCAC PAS since 2012. He is an expert on the determination of chemical abundances from high-resolution spectra of late-type stars. His team is exploring novel methodologies to extract complete, precise, and accurate chemical abundances from large samples of stellar spectra, combining traditional radiative transfer with machine learning techniques. He is a member of the Gaia-ESO Survey consortium, where he co-leads the working group responsible for the analysis of high-resolution UVES spectra of FGK-type stars. He is national co-PI of the CUBES consortium, currently developing a phase-A study for a new near-UV medium-resolution spectrograph for the VLT. He is also part of an international team that is developing the science case for a new high-resolution multi-object spectrograph for the VLT.

Research interests:

High-resolution spectroscopy, stellar chemical abundances, late-type stars, stellar evolution, Galactic archaeology.

Major publications:

Smiljanic R., et al. (2014). “The Gaia-ESO Survey: The analysis of high-resolution UVES spectra of FGK-type stars”, A&A, 570, A122.

Smiljanic R., et al. (2018). “Deep secrets of intermediate-mass giants and supergiants. Models with rotation seem to overestimate mixing effects on the surface abundances of C, N, and Na”, A&A, 616, A112.

Smiljanic R., et al. (2016). “The Gaia-ESO Survey: Sodium and aluminium abundances in giants and dwarfs. Implications for stellar and Galactic chemical evolution”, A&A, 589, A115.

Evans C. J., et al. (2018). arXiv:1806.11173, in Ground-based & Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy VII, Proc. SPIE 10702, p. 107022E, Revisiting the science case for near-UV spectroscopy with the VLT;

The MSE Science Team, (2019). “The Detailed Science Case for the Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer”, arXiv:1904.04907.


Dr. Wada is an experimental physicist, the leader of the Ultrapure SiPMs and Associated Readout Electronics Group at Astrocent, and a member of the DarkSide collaborations.

Dr. Wada received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, USA, based on the study of resonance particles in relativistic heavy-ion collisions as a member of the STAR collaboration.

Upon completing his PhD, he was awarded a named fellowship (The Dicke Fellowship) at the Physics Department of Princeton University. He focused on programs for the direct detection of dark matter with the DarkSide-50 detector located in the underground lab at Gran Sasso National Laboratory, Italy. He led the Princeton group, and the analysis resulted in the world’s best exclusion limits at low dark-matter masses for nuclear and electron scatterings.

Dr. Wada and his group are developing ultrapure SiPM based photodetectors for future generation dark matter direct detection and neutrinoless double-beta decay searches. His group is also interested in applying our technologies earned in pure science to medical physics, such as the Positron Emission Tomography scanner.


Research Interests: 

Dark matter, Beyond the Standard Model, Low background experiment, Noble liquid detectors  


Major Publications:  

Agnes, P. et al.First Results from the DarkSide-50 Dark Matter Experiment at Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso”, Phys. Lett. B 743 456 (2015). 

Agnes, P. et al.Results from the first use of low radioactivity argon in a dark matter search”, Phys. Rev. D 93 081101 (2016). 

Agnes, P. et al.The veto system of the DarkSide-50 experiment”, J. Instrum11 P03016 (2016). 

Agnes, P. et al.DarkSide-50 532-day dark matter search with low-radioactivity argon”, Phys. Rev. D 98 102006 (2018). 

Agnes, P. et al.Low-Mass Dark Matter Search with the DarkSide-50 Experiment”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 121 081307 (2018).