Section of Physics

Coordinator: Prof. Ubaldo Bottigli


Sezione di Fisica in Via Roma 56 (complesso di Porta Romana)

The Physics section of the Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment of the University of Siena is active in high level scientific research as well as in education.

The teaching activity includes:

  • a 3 years undergraduate school in Physics: Fisica e Tecnologie Avanzate (FTA);
  • a 3 years graduate PhD school in Experimental Physics: Dottorato in Fisica Sperimentale (see website)
  • undergraduate Physics courses for the degrees in Mathematics, Chemistry, Engineering, Earth Sciences, Environmental and Natural Sciences, Medecine, Biology and Biotechnics.

Our teaching staff includes scientists that perform their research activity within prestigious international scientific collaborations. This facilitates the access – via stages and/or working periods abroad – of our students to first-class international organizations, as for instance CERN (Geneva), FermiLab and CalTech in the United States, Waseda University in Tokio.

Our undegraduate and graduate students operate in a modern and stimulating environment in close contact with advanced research activities, in fondamental as well as applied physics. The education model is strongly oriented to complementing a rigorous theoretical background with “hands-on” activity in the labs, taking advantage of the presence of advanced instrumentation (e.g.: micro-electronics, lasers, particle detectors).

The research work starts from the laboratories located in the Physics Section of the Department, where prototypes of detectors and innovative instrumentation are developed together with their associated front-end and readout electronics. The next step of the research training of our students is the participation in the research work that takes place at national and international laboratories. 

The main research fields include High Energy Physics (with the participation in experiments at particle accelerators and storage rings), AstroParticle Physics (ground experiments as well as experiments in space or balloons), Atomic and Molecular Physics, Applied Physics.

Most of the activities are performed within the framework of the research programs of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). This allows for the access to INFN related research and technological infrastructures and facilities in Italy and abroad.

In the following, the main research activities of the Physics Section of the Departiment are summarized.

High Energy Physics and Astroparticle Physics
ISS - International Space Station

The University of Siena participates in a number of International collaborations as research institution, with significant contributions in terms of leadership, including (in alphabetical order):

  • CALET collaboration for the experimental study of cosmic electrons of very high energy on the International Space Station (ISS), with the participation of the Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA), the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA (Prof. Pier Simone Marrocchesi – scientific coordinator for Italy and Co-Principal Investigator). The Italian participation is funded by ASI;
  • CDF collaboration at the Tevatron Collider of Fermilab in Chicago, for the experimental study of proton-antiproton interactions, funded by INFN (coordinator of the Gruppo Collegato INFN of the University of Siena: Dr. Maria Agnese Ciocci);
  • CMS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of CERN with the recent contribution to the discovery of the Higgs, funded by INFN (coordinator of the Gruppo Collegato INFN of the University of Siena: Dr. Maria Agnese Ciocci);
  • MAGIC collaboration with two Cherenkov telescopes installed in La Palma (Canarias) for the observation of gamma radiation of very high energy from space – funded by INFN (coordinator: Prof. Riccardo Paoletti- responsible for INFN funding agency);
  • CTA collaboration, array of Cherenkov telescopes for the study of very high energy gamma radiation (coordinator: Prof. Paoletti - responsible for INFN funding agency);
  • TOTEM collaboration for the study of high energy proton-proton interactions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of CERN – funded by INFN (Prof. Angelo Scribano: national coordinator and chairman of the Collaboration Board);
Atomic Physics and Quantum Optics
  • TRAPRAD/ FRANCIUM collaboration at Legnaro National Laboratory (Magneto-Optical Trap) – funded by INFN (Prof. Luigi Moi: national coordinator);
  • study of atom-surface interaction processes (LIAD) in the presence of e.m. radiation and adsorbtion/desorption phenomena in alkali dielectrics; optical magnetometry;
Complex Systems
  • Mathematical modelling of complex systems (e.g. biological, socio-economical networks) with inter-disciplinary projects and International Schools (Prof. Maria I. Loffredo)
Medical Physics
  • Digital radiographic systems with computer assisted diagnosis; magnetotherapy;  high intensity source project at Frascati National Laboratory (Prof. Ubaldo Bottigli)
Research and Development
  • R&D projects funded by INFN (e.g.: development of solid-state photodetectors based on Silicon Photomultipliers); EU projects (e.g.: optical magnetometer, INFIERI project); research projects funded by Regione Toscana with the participation of aerospace industries; research projects of national interest (PRIN).