Hel.A.S. Newsletter 157 - March 2011

  1. Short News
  2. Graduate Studies in Astrophysics in Crete for 2011-2012
  3. Advanced Astrophysics and Space Physics Degrees in France
  4. SAO Predoctoral Fellowships
  5. Medium-Class Missions for ESA's Cosmic Vision
  6. Upcoming Astronomy Meetings in Greece
  7. About this Newsletter

The registration and abstract submission for the 10th Conference of Hel.A.S. has opened. Please visit the conference web site for more details.


The Department of Physics of the Univ. of Crete, in collaboration with the Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas (FORTH) is issuing a Call for Applications for the 2011-2012 Graduate Program in "Advanced Physics". A number of graduate fellowships towards a 1-year Master's Program in "Astrophysics & Space Physics", as well as towards a 3-year PhD Program in Theoretical or Observational Astrophysics are available. The Astrophysics Group in Crete would like to encourage all interested undergraduate and Masters' students to consider the possibilities the Department of Physics and FORTH have to offer. For more information on the Astrophysics Graduate Program in Crete please check the following [PDF file]. The deadline for early application is March 15, 2011 while the final application deadline is July 15, 2011. For details about the overall program as well as the application process you may visit the Crete Physics Graduate Program web page at:



A number of graduate programs in astrophysics in the area of Paris (France), welcome students from Universities around the world who are interested in pursuing advanced research degrees in Astrophysics and Space Science. Since these possibilities are not well understood, we use this opportunity to present in this newsletter a concise description of the different levels of entry in the French system.

The Master programs in France usually last 2 academic years, called “M1” and “M2” respectively. Students follow a number of advanced courses in astrophysics, physics, and mathematics, depending on the specific area. The “M1” corresponds to the 4th year of University studies in Greece. Since the duration of an undergraduate University degree in Greece is typically four years, students who have completed their undergraduate studies in a Greek University may directly enroll in the “M2” level. However, it is likely more helpful to enroll in the “M1” in order to have enough time to better adapt in the French academic system, especially for students not fluent in French.

Upon their successful completion of the “M2” year and depending on their grades, students have the opportunity to obtain a fellowship towards a PhD degree. Typical fellowships provide a net monthly stipend of ~1400 Euros (which can be incremented by ~300 Euros in case a student is eligible to become a teaching assistant) for the whole three year duration of the degree. Note that a student who cannot secure a fellowship is not allowed to enroll in a PhD program. Furthermore it is more difficult but still possible for a foreign student to be offered a PhD fellowship if she/he has not completed the “M2” level in France. Even though proficiency in French language is required for “M1” and “M2” since most courses and all exams are in French, a PhD thesis can be written in English. Admission in all three levels, “M1”, “M2” and a PhD are open to applicants depending on their background and academic scores.

  • In the Paris region a number of Universities and Institutes, such as the Observatoire de Paris, the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, the Université Paris Diderot, the Université Paris-Sud, as well as individual research laboratories are participating in a Master program entitled “Astronomie, Astrophysique et Ingénierie Spatiale”. Specific information on how to be admitted at the different levels follow:

    The application deadline for “M1” level is 1 June 2011 (see http://master-1.obspm.fr ).

    There are two different “M2” levels. An “M2 Recherche” which leads mainly to PhD studies, and an “M2 Professionnel” more oriented towards careers in space engineering. The application deadline for “M2 Recherche” is 15 June 2011 (see http://master-recherche.obspm.fr). The “M2 Professionnel” has a running application (see http://osae.obspm.fr).

    For graduate students who already hold a Master degree (M2), the deadline for application for a fellowship towards a PhD degree is 31 May 2011 (see http://ecole-doctorale.obspm.fr.

    For more information on the above please contact the Hel.A.S. members Prof. Christophe Sauty and Prof. Yannis Zouganelis.

  • A number of plasma physics laboratories and universities of the Paris region, including the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, the Université Paris-Sud, the Université Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, the Institut d’Optique and the Ecole Polytechnique participate in the challenging program of the “M2” level entitled “Plasmas : de l’Espace au Laboratoire.” (see http://www.ufr925.upmc.fr/plasmas/m2_plasma.htm). This program deals with theoretical and experimental aspects of astrophysical and space plasmas (solar and magnetospheric physics, stellar evolution, interstellar plasmas), as well as thermonuclear fusion (tokamaks, ITER project) and cold plasmas. As explained above, after completion of this “M2” program, candidates may apply for a PhD fellowship. The "M2" application deadline is 1 July 2011.

    For more information please contact the Hel.A.S. member Prof. Yannis Zouganelis.


Started in 1985, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Predoctoral Programhas welcomed graduate students from universities around the world interested in carrying out all or part of their research under the guidance of SAO Scientists. The 2011 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) Predoctoral Program invites applications from current graduate students pursuing thesis research in astrophysics or related fields. Applicants in theory, observation, instrument development, or laboratory experiments at a university or college are strongly encouraged to apply. Online applications are due by April 15, 2011, 17:00 GMT. For more information visit:


The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics creates a rich environment for collaborations among future colleagues by bringing together over 300 SAO scientists across a broad spectrum of scientific endeavors in nearly all areas related to astronomy, including: atomic and molecular physics, geophysics and atmospheric physics, the solar system, solar physics, planetary systems, the interstellar medium, stars and star formation, supernovae, compact objects, galaxies, extragalactic astronomy and cosmology. Facilities include the MMT Observatory, Magellan, and other optical and infrared telescopes; radio telescopes, especially the Submillimeter Array on Mauna Kea, Hawaii; a large Beowulf cluster and network of workstations; a number of specialized laboratories; an outstanding library system; and access to data from a wide range of space missions, especially the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope.


ESA has recently selected four out of 47 candidates for a medium-class mission that will launch in the period 2020-22. The four proposals chosen to proceed for assessment phase are The Exoplanet Characterisation Observatory (EChO), the Large Observatory For X-ray Timing (LOFT), MarcoPolo-R, and the Space-Time Explorer and Quantum Equivalence Principle Space Test (STE-QUEST). Once this phase is completed, a further down-selection will be performed, leading to a decision on which mission will be finally implemented. For more visit:



The following meetings will take place in Greece. Please check the corresponding web page or contact the organizers by e-mail for more information.


This Newsletter was sent to all members of Hel.A.S. who have e-mail access. The next edition of the Newsletter will be mailed around April 1, 2011. Please send your announcements (e.g. appointments/departures, job openings, research opportunities, awards, conferences in Greece) or comments before March 25, 2011. If you do not wish to receive future issues of this Newsletter or the e-mail address to which it was sent is not your preferred one, please inform the Secretary of Hel.A.S.


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