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ICRANet Newsletter

ICRANet Newsletter
October – November 2016

1. ICRANet Scientific Committee 2016


On 28 to 30 November in the ICRANet’s Seat of Pescara have been hosted the annual meeting of ICRANet Scientific Committee. The scientific results and publications in 2016 of the different lines of research of ICRANet have been discussed with the representatives of the ICRANet Member States and Institutions gathered in Pescara: Prof. Felix Aharonian (Armenia), Dr. Carlo Luciano Bianco (ICRA), Prof. Massimo Della Valle (Italy), Dr. Gabriele Gionti (Vatican City State), Prof. John Mester (Stanford University), Prof. Marcelo Guzzo (Brazil), Prof. Jorge Rueda (Arizona University), Prof. Remo Ruffini (Director of ICRANet) and Prof. Paolo Giommi (ASDC and BSDC). There have been presented also the scientific and teaching activities of ICRANet in 2016.


2. Professor Ruffini, Director of ICRANet Pescara, visited Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China

foto On November 7 Professor Remo Ruffini gave a seminar entitled “Supernovae, Hypernovae and Binary Driven Hypernovae” at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where the father of the Chinese rocket industry Hsue-Shen Tsien graduated from. The organizer of this event was the youngest member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Jing Yipeng, professor in the Department of Physics at this university and a former PhD student of Professor Ruffini. In this occasion Professor Ruffini and Professor Jing Yipeng discussed the cooperation between ICRANet and the Center for Astronomy & Astrophysics (CAA) including the 5th Galileo-Xu Guangqi Meeting (GX V) which will take place in Er Mei mountain, Sichuan, China, in June 2017.

Furthermore Prof. Ruffini announced the location and date for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the afterglows of gamma ray bursts: “We will celebrate this anniversary at ICRANet Pescara for one week starting on February 28, 2017” states Professor Ruffini. "Today these celebrations are particularly important since we are approaching a complete understanding of GRBs and this will be a splendid opportunity to have experts from all over the world at the two Italian ICRANet seats, in Abruzzo and Lazio, where it will be possible to follow all the different paths that lead to the comprehension of this great cosmological phenomenon. My trip to China will also open the way to the entrance of this country into ICRANet as a member state." foto

3. Renewal of the agreement with the Institute of High Energy Physics, CAS

On the 4th of November, the agreement between ICRANet and the IHEP (High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Science) has been renewed. This new agreement was signed by Prof. Shuangnan Zhang, Director of Center for Particle Astrophysics and Prof. Ruffini, Director of ICRANet. This agreement will be valid for 5 years and the joint activities will consist in:
- promotion of theoretical and observational research activities within the field of Relativistic Astrophysics;
- the institutional exchange of faculty members, researchers, post- doctoral fellows and students;
- promotion of technological developments between IHEP and ICRANet;
- development of Data Centers for astrophysical data in all wavebands;
- the organization of training and teaching courses;
- the organization of seminars, conferences, workshops or short courses;
- joint publications

The text of the agreement can be found here.


4. New cooperation agreement: ICRANet – UDESC

On the 9th of October a news cooperation agreement between The Fundacao Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina and ICRANet has been signed. This agreement foresees: to give in a mutual way scientific and cultural support to the interchange of teaching personnel and of students, according to annual programs previously established; to study and develop joint investigation projects; to develop cooperation forms and actions in other areas of mutual interest; each side is in accordance that each specific activity to be developed, should be defined and detailed in terms of its objectives, mechanisms, time and resources.

This agreement was signed by Prof. Marcus Tomasi, Rector of UDESC, and Prof. Remo Ruffini, Director of ICRANet.
The text of the agreement can be found here.


5. Laura Becerra, PhD student of ICRANet, moved in Los Alamos to foster the cooperation within ICRANet network


A researcher at ICRANet, former student of the IRAP PhD program, a twenty-seven years old Colombian Laura Becerra, has been selected to spend six months at the Los Alamos National Laboratories, in the USA, to foster the cooperation within ICRANet, in particular between ICRANet seat in Tucson, Arizona, and the Los Alamos National Laboratories. Laura has just published her new article in the Astrophysical Journal, that opened the way to new questions on the issue of black holes. For the first time in this article it has been studied in detail what happens to binary systems during the hypercritical accretion and it has been possible to see how the formation of a black hole occurs. Already in 2012 some scientists of ICRANet, an international research center guided by professor Ruffini, theoretically estimated the growth rate of the material on a neutron star caused by the explosion of a supernova, in the immediate proximity. Thanks to the simulations implemented by Dr Becerra and to the work of the ICRANet team, the international research community on relativistic astrophysics got detailed reports on the simulations of supernovae explosions from stellar cores composed by iron, carbon and oxygen in a binary system, and of their impact on a companion star. These cores by exploding eject a large amount of material that falls over the neutron star and it increases its mass. The simulations of ICRANet team, involving more than one million particles, confirm the estimates that they already proposed in 2001 and developed then in 2012, and define the exact moment of the origin of a black hole. Moreover, for the first time the concept of the cosmic matrix is illustrated as the astrophysical process that arises from a binary system, composed by two celestial bodies (FeCO core and a neutron star), and it evolves in a new binary system, composed by two new celestial bodies: a black hole and a new neutron star.

The scientific press release can be found here.

6. School - work project with the Scientific High School Galileo Galilei in Pescara

During the 2016-2017 academic year, the ICRANet of Pescara will host the 3rd class of 25 students of the Scientific High School "Galileo Galilei" of Pescara. In total 70 hours will be divided between theory and practice. ICRANet professors, will deliver 30 hours of lectures on different topics in astrophysics.

The focus of the lectures, that will start on 6 December, will be:
1) History of the astrophysics and the relativity
2) The stars Novae
3) Supernovae
4) Hipernovae
5) Gravitational Waves
6) The White Dwarfs
7) The Neutron Stars
8) The Big Bang: primordial cosmology and the formation of the structures to wide staircase
9) The Dark Subject in the universe and his research to the Gran Sasso
10) The quantum gravity
11) Gravity and e Spazio Tempo (from Keplero and Newton to Schwarzschild, Lense-Thirring and Kerr, the twins' paradox)
12) The galactic Black Holes and those stellar


7. Professor Rueda visited Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) and the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute (FAI) at Almaty, Kazakhstan


On November 21-25, 2016, Prof. Jorge Rueda visited the Institute of Experimental and Theoretical Physics of the Faculty of Physics and Technology of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KazNU) and the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute (FAI) at Almaty, Kazakhstan.


Prof. Rueda was invited to KazNU and FAI by Prof. Kuantay Boshkayev through a scientific project of collaboration for the study of neutron stars. Kuantay Boshkayev is a former student of the IRAP PhD and is currently professor at KazNU. Prof. Rueda delivered a set of lectures on “Physics and astrophysics of neutron stars” and “Dark matter” at KazNU and a colloquium at FAI "Induced gravitational collapse and the role of the neutron stars structure".

8. Recent publications

- "On the classification of GRBs and their occurrence rates" (

GRBs, traditionally classified as “short” and “long” have been often assumed, till recently, to originate from a single Black Hole with an ultrarelativistic jetted emission. There is today clear evidence that both short and long GRBs have as progenitors merging and/or accreting binary systems, each composed by a different combination of iron-carbon-oxygen (FeCO) core, Neutron Stars (NSs) Black Holes (BHs) and white dwarfs in different combinations [1].

foto foto
Fig. 1. Structure of the NS hypercritical-accretion region above the NS radius RNS. Fig. 2. Neutrino τν and photon optical depths τγ in the NS hypercritical-accretion region above the neutrinosphere τν=1, with selected mass accretion rates.

This paper sheds new light on the process of hypercritical accretion, which is at the heart of the induced gravitational collapse (IGC) paradigm for gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), proposed by prof. Ruffini [2,3] and ICRANet scientists. The IGC paradigm, originally proposed in 2001, has been developed further in 2012 to explain the GRB-SN connection [4]. Within this paradigm a long GRB originates in a binary systems composed of a FeCO core and a NS, where the orbital period measures minutes [4]. In such systems the explosion of FeCO core as a supernova leads to hypercritical accretion onto the NS companion, which reaches the critical mass, hence inducing its gravitational collapse to a BH with consequent emission of the GRB. The IGC paradigm was first successfully applied to GRB 090618 [5,6]. Based on this paradigm the new concept of binary-driven hypernovae (BdHN), characterized by four different episodes of emission with precise spectral and luminosity features, has been proposed by prof. Ruffini with ICRANet scientists for long GRBs [7].
Accretion is a familiar process in astrophysics, and it is known to power such objects as X-ray binaries [8,9]. There the gravitational energy is converted into heat, so that accretion disk emits X-rays. In contrast, according to the BdHN model [7], the gravitational energy of hypercritically accreting matter is released primarily in the form of neutrinos, see Fig. 1 and 2. The accretion process is so violent, with mass accretion rate up to one solar mass per second, that photons remain trapped within the accreting flow. With such huge accretion rates the temperature near the surface of the NS reaches 10 billion of degrees. Actually, this phenomenon was pioneered independently by Zeldovich [10] and Ruffini [11] in 1973, before the discovery of GRBs was announced.

Fig. 3. Snapshots of the expanding supernova ejecta which interacts with the companion neutron star.
The white dot in the origin is the newly formed neutron star.

Estimates of the accretion rate and the possible fate of the accreting NS in the IGC binary were presented by ICRANet scientists already in 2012, see Refs. [4-6]. The new paper reports results of detailed numerical simulations of the explosion of a FeCO core as a supernova and hypercritical accretion of the supernova ejecta on the binary NS companion. These new simulations, performed by Laura Becerra as a part of her PhD thesis in the IRAP PhD program coordinated by ICRANet, involving more than a million of particles, see Fig. 3, include the effects of the finite size of the ejecta for different FeCO core progenitors and confirm the previous estimates, as well as identify the separatrix for such systems, which separate those where BH is formed, and examine the moment of its formation, from those where there is no BH formation. In addition, the expected luminosity of such systems undergoing hypercritical accretion is computed, and the results are shown to be in agreement with observations of the X-ray flash XRF 060218. This work also evidences the asymmetry of the supernova ejecta as induced by the presence of the companion, accreting NS as well as the formation of the new NS, see Fig. 3. The colorful snapshot of interaction between the supernova ejecta and the hypercritically accreting NS shown in Fig. 3 was selected for the poster of IRAP-PhD program for 2016 call.

Fig. 4. Cosmic-matrix of XRFs and BdHNe as introduced in [12].

The new results obtained in this paper:
* show the moment of formation of the BH, as the result of hypercritical accretion of the supernova ejecta onto the companion NS, see Fig. 3;
* give the first treatment of neutrino emission in the process of hypercritical accretion and provide the determination of the neutrinosphere, see Fig. 1 and 2;
* give the first detailed model of a “Cosmic Matrix”, see Fig. 4, which describes these systems as a four-body problem in analogy to the case of particle physics. The “in-state” is represented by the FeCO core and the NS companion. In the case of a BdHN the “out-state” is the a new NS, i.e. the neutron star left by the supernova explosion of the FeCO core, and a BH formed from the gravitational collapse of the NS companion of the FeCO core in the in-state. In XRFs the “out-state” is a new NS and another NS, more massive than the initial one present in the in-state.

These results are supported by numerical simulations done at Los Alamos National Laboratories by Chris Fryer and his group. Laura Becerra, who will receive the joint degree between the Universities of Bremen, Oldenburg, Savoie, Rome, Ferrara, Nice, will be spending six months at Los Alamos, starting 1 November, to foster the collaboration within ICRANet, including the ICRANet seat in Tucson, Arizona, and the Los Alamos National Laboratories.

[1] Ruffini, R., Rueda, J.A., Muccino, M., et al. 2016, ApJ, in press. See also
[2] Ruffini, R., Bianco, C. L., Fraschetti, F., Xue, S.-S., & Chardonnet, P. 2001, ApJ, 555, L117.
[3] Ruffini, R., et al. 2008, in The Eleventh Marcel Grossmann Meeting on Recent Developments in Theoretical and Experimental General Relativity, Gravitation and Relativistic Field Theories, ed. H. Kleinert, R. T. Jantzen, & R. Ruffini (Singapore: World Scientific), 368.
[4] Rueda, J. A., & Ruffini, R. 2012, ApJ, 758, L7.
[5] Izzo, L., Rueda, J. A., & Ruffini, R. 2012a, A&A, 548, L5.
[6] Izzo, L., Ruffini, R., Penacchioni, A. V., et al. 2012b, A&A, 543, A10.
[7] Ruffini, R., et al. 2014, A&A, 565, L10.
[8] Ruffini, R., Giacconi, R. “Physics and Astrophysics of Neutron Stars Black Holes”, North Holland Pub. Co. Amsterdam 1978
[9] Ruffini, R., in Astrophysics and gravitation: Proceedings of the sixteenth Solvay Conference on Physics at the University of Brussels, September 1973.
[10] Zel'dovich, Y. B., Ivanova, L. N., & Nadezhin, D. K. 1972, Soviet Ast., 16, 209.
[11] Ruffini, R., & Wilson, J. 1973, Physical Review Letters, 31, 1362.
[12] Ruffini, R., Wang, Y., Enderli, M. et al., 2015 ApJ, 798, 10.

- “Strong Lensing by Fermionic Dark Matter” Phys. Rev. D 94, 123004 (2016) In a recently published paper: L. Gabriel Gómez et al. Phys. Rev. D 94, 123004 (2016), we compute the lensing effects of the pure dark matter (DM) component both on halo scales, where we compare them to the effects of the Navarro-Frenk-White (NFW) and the nonsingular isothermal sphere DM models, and near the galaxy center, where we compare them with the effects of a Schwarzschild Black hole (BH) with a DM quantum core.

Fig. 1. Deflection angle for the entire galaxy. The ferrmionic model (Inos MC) has to be compared with a combination of black hole and a conventional NFW model.

The DM density profiles predict slightly different deviations of light (of 0.1 arcsec) in the halo part (~8 kpc). However, the effects of strong lensing are achieved for the RAR profile only (for the more compact solution 102 keV: inos MC) at short distances (10-4 pc). The reason for this fundamental difference is the presence of the compact DM quantum core whose effects start to be appreciable even around pc scales. The DM quantum core compactness is not large enough to account for the formation of relativistic images as in the case of a BH. This means that there is no photon sphere, neither inside nor outside the DM quantum core; however, it can generate multiple images and Einstein rings. Interestingly, the proposed Event Horizon Telescope could resolve the predicted shadow of the central BH within the next years with the inclusion of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). If a BH shadow will not be observed, then it will open a window for alternative scenarios regarding the nature of the Sgr A* central object including the DM quantum core predicted by the RAR model.

Other publications
• D. L. Cáceres, S. M. de Carvalho, J. G. Coelho, R. C. R. de Lima, J. A. Rueda, “Thermal X-ray emission from massive, fast rotating, highly magnetized white dwarfs”, to appear in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Published online on November 23, 2016: <>
• J. G. Coelho, D. L. Cáceres, R. C. R. de Lima, M. Malheiro, J. A. Rueda, R. Ruffini, "On the nature of some SGRs and AXPs as rotation-powered neutron stars", to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

9. ICRANet and the world university ranking

During the ICRANET 15th Steering Committee Meeting Dr Costantino Zazza presented his report on “ICRANet and the world university ranking” showing the level of ICRANet in this Shanghai method of evaluation based mainly on four criteria:
• quality of education;
• quality of faculty;
• research output;
• per capita performance.

He showed the list of the top 10 universities of this ARWU-ranking, making a comparison between one of them, Caltech, and ICRANet. By using the SCOPUS database it is evident that the level of these two is similar: 10,73 Caltech (325 units) vs. 9,00 ICRANet (6 units). This comparison shows the very high level of ICRANet among the universities classified on the basis of their publications. This means that ICRANet must be considered as an excellence center where making research at the maximum level within an international background level.

On this regard Prof. Ruffini added that:
- all ICRANet publications are published on scientific journals with a high impact factor (e.g. 5.7/5.8 or 6.0);
- a great attention is given to the high quality of teaching per capita. In order to do so, the selection process follows the standard of the major USA universities, such as Stanford. This makes ICRANet an “island” of excellence in Armenia, Italy and Brasil.
The presence, in ICRANet, of scientists such as Professor Barres de Almeida Ulisses, Professor Vladimir Belinski, Professor Jorge Rueda, Professor Ruffini Remo and Professor Sahakyan Narek helps in this outstanding performance.


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