Bruno Merín
Astronomer

Bruno Merín's CV

  • Born in 1975, in Madrid, Spain.
  • Degree in Physics at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM), in 1998.
  • Ph.D. Thesis at LAEFF and UAM, in 2004.
  • Post-doctoral Fellow from Fundación Areces at Leiden Observatory, from 2004 to 2006.
  • ESA Research Fellow at ESTEC from 2006 to 2008
  • Scientist at ESA since 2008, working as Herschel Data Processing Scientist.

The full story

LAEFFI finished my Physics degree in the LAEFF on June 1998, with a specialization in Theoretical Physics. After that, I joined LAEFF ("Laboratorio de Astrofisica Espacial y Fisica Fundamental") of INTA, the Spanish National Technical Institute for Aerospace, where I did my Master and Ph.D. Thesis under the supervision of Prof. Benjamin Montesinos and Prof. Carlos Eiroa.

The subject of my Ph.D. thesis was to study the evolution of the circumstellar disks around intermediate mass stars, the so-called Herbig Ae/Be stars, using data from the simultaneous multi-wavelength and multi-telescope EXPORT International Program at La Palma observatory, led by Prof. Carlos Eiroa, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The goal of this research was to analyze close-to-simultaneous optical to near-IR photometry and optical spectroscopy of moderately large sample of intermediate-mass Herbig Ae/Be stars to get information about the dissipation mechanisms of their disks, which could potentially give information about their potential to form exo-planets. I defended my Ph.D. Thesis at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid on March 2004.

Center for Astrophysics Harvard-Smithsonian, in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA)During my Ph.D. Thesis I was lucky enough to travel to Morelia, Mexico, to have a collaboration with Dr. Paola D'Alessio, a world-known expert in the physics of protoplanetary disks and author of one of the best numerical models to physically reproduce the observations of such type of objects. After that experience, I was then invited by Profs. Nuria Calvet and Lee Hartman to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) to make what it was at the time the first public grid of circumstellar disk numerical models offered to the community for scientific analysis of the Spectral Energy Distributions of such objets. These two stages gave me a good visibility of how the cutting-edge science is done in the International context.

I was awarded my first postdoctoral fellowship by the Fundación Ramón Areces, in Spain, to come to the Leiden Observatory, in the Netherlands, to work with Prof. Ewine F. van Dishoeck (Leiden Sterrewacht, Leiden University) in the analysis of the Spitzer data from the large "Cores 2 Disks" Legacy program, led by Prof. Neal J. Evans, from the University of Texas at Austin (USA).

Leiden at nightDuring this period of time, I had the chance to learn about the data analysis of the images and spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope and to observe at several world-class ground-based telescopes like the William Herschel and Isaak Newton Telescopes in La Palma Observatory (Spain) or the Very Large Telescopes at Paranal Observatory (Chile) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). I was lucky enough to even obtain open time with NASA's competitive Spitzer Telescope to observe with the IRS spectrograph on-board Spitzer, a sample of c2d-selected transitional disk candidates in nearby star-forming regions. These transitional disks show signs of having evacuated inner holes in their disks, which are signposts of possible currently on-going planet formation.

After two years at Leiden observatory, I obtained an ESA Research Fellowship to work with Dr. Timo Prusti at the Research and Scientific Support Department of ESTEC, from the European Space Agency, at Noordwijk, in the Netherlands, and continued to work closely with the Leiden and c2d team members, given the proximity of ESTEC and Leiden.

European Space Astronomy CentreDuring that time, I also got involved in the testing team of the Mid Infrared Instrument MIRI for the James Webb Space Telescope, which took place at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford in the UK, and participated in the definition of the test plan for the Verification and Flight Models of the instrument. During this period, I also was co-director of the Ph.D. Thesis of Isa Oliveira, together with Prof. Ewine van Dishoeck and Dr. Klaus M. Pontoppidan, and member of ESO's Observing Program Committee for two calls. Since October 2008, I am part of the Herschel Science Centre, the science operations center of the Herschel Space Observatory, located at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) of the European Space Agency, near Madrid, in Spain. Here I am Data Processing scientist and chair of the Data Processing Users' Group, a body the coordinates the user input and feeds it back into the development plan for the Herschel data reduction software, called HIPE.



Publications and publication statistics

I am coauthor of 77 refereed papers, which have been cited in another 1622 papers. My H-factor is 29 and I am coauthor of one of the top-10 most cited papers in Astronomy in 2010, the c2d summary paper by Evans et al. 2009.




  • Referee and committee work

    • I referee articles for Astronomy & Astrophysics as well as for the Astrophysical Journal.
    • I have also served as external reviewer for the NASA Origins of Solar System Programme in 2011 and 2013.
    • I served as member of the Observing Program Committee of the European Southern Observatory in Panel C during the periods 80 and 81.
    • I have also reviewed science projects for the European Commission's FP7 "Space" programme.
    • Finally, I have also participated in two ESA reviews: JWST's MIRI Acceptance/Pre-Shipment Review AR/PSR in 2012 and Euclid's Mission Requirements Review in 2014.

    Outreach

    Since I joined Herschel, I have participated in a number of outreach initiatives, which aimed at sharing the fascination of doing astronomy nowadays with the general public. These collaborations have been always done in Spanish and amount to two articles in the top-audience general newspaper "El País":
    And two participations in Radio programs, both at the Radio Círculo and at Radio Exterior from Radio Nacional de España: