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Nectaria Gizani

Visiting Scholar


  • Break Through Listen Laboratory, 339


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Research Interests

Nectaria is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sience and Technology of the Hellenic Open University (HOU) and a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Astronomy, the Berkeley SETI Research Center.

Her research is focused on the physics of Active Galactic Nuclei (radio interferometric observations), on cosmic magnetic fields , the radio detection of cosmic rays, and the solar activity impact on earth’s climate via its radio flux monitoring at 2.8 GHz. She has recently united forces with a radio engineer colleague to convert a 30m telecommunication antenna to a radio telescope. At the Break Through Listen Laboratory at UC Berkeley, she is involved in the software development of wide band periodic detection pipeline for the GBT and Parkes radiotelescopes and the Allen Array R & D.

Personal Interests

Radio Engineering

CODALEMA astroparticle physics Experiment for detecting radio emission from cosmic rays.


1. Higher Education

Ph.D. in Radio Astronomy, Jodrell Bank Observatory, University of Manchester, Manchester. Direct acceptance for Ph.D. with a PPARC (Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council) fellowship. Title: ``Environments of Double Radio Sources Associated with Active Galactic Nuclei''. Supervisors: Prof. A. Pedlar, Drs J.P. Leahy and S.T. Garrington. Her PhD thesis was nominated for the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) thesis prize in the area of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and for the Hellenic Astronomical Society thesis prize

BSc in Physics at the University of Athens, Greece; Grade ``Very Good'', 1st Honour Degree, June 1992. Title: ``On the Polarization of the Radio Waves above Active Solar Regions''.

 2. Publications

  • Participation to eight (8) refereed dissertations of various scientific fields (Radioastronomy, astroparticle physics, solar physics and computational physics).
  • 42 refereed publications on Radioastronomy & Astrophysics and Astroparticle Physics and Break Through Listen Physics. First author in 19 of them.
  • Published her research in more than 20 conference proceedings in the above scientific fields.
  • Citations from ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) Web of Science (R)-Powered by ISI Web of Knowledge (SM), ISPIRE (former SPIRES), and the Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) databases have revealed a total of ~490 third party citations. Google Scholar suggests around 990 citations with h-index 13.

3. Professional Experience

  1. Currently on Sabbatical Leave at University of California, Berkeley, Department of Astronomy, Break Through Listen Laboratory. Initially planned working on reviving the Allen Radio Telescope Array (ATA). Currently working on implementing pulsar pipeline to be used in Break Through Listen Backend at the Green Bank Radiotelescope (GBT) to locate wide  band signals.
  2. Assistant professor, School of Sciences and Technology, Hellenic Open University, in the area of Astroparticle Physics and Radio Astronomy, January 2016 -

4. Recent Academic Teaching Experience

  1.   Coordination and Tutoring of the Module PSF 50 entitled "Advanced Studies in Classical Physics" (or PSF 50), which is a compulsory module of the 1st year, of the 2-year Post Graduate Course entitled "Advanced Studies in Physics" (PSF, Master Course), School of Science and Technology, Hellenic Open University (HOU) October 2014 - 2016. Such a module is equivelant to up to three scientific subjects included in an ordinary university post graduate course curriculum. Students acquire advanced knowledge in Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics. Auxiliary notes and presentations are provided. Maintenance of the website of the course and the websites related to teaching in general (study, open, class).
  2. Coordination and Tutoring of the Module PSF 61 entitled "Structure of Matter and the Universe", which is an optional module of the 2-year PSF Master Course, School of Science and Technology, HOU, October 2009 - Today. Students acquire advanced knowledge (in the manner described in the previous bullet) in the following scientific disciplines: Solid State Physics, Introduction to Particle Physics, Theoretical Cosmology - Gauge Theories, Astrophysics and Observational Cosmology. That is, the course discusses issues from the very small (particle physics) to the very large (Astrophysics) all joined under the scientific area of Cosmology (Quantum Cosmology, first sub - seconds of the Universe creation, Gauge theories up to the area of Relativistic and Observational Cosmology (large scale structure)), which is the study of the Universe. Auxiliary notes and presentations are provided. Maintainance of the website of the course and the websites related to teaching in general (study, open, class). \item Supervised 13 Theses at the School of Sciences and Technology of the Hellenic Open University in the area of Astroparticle Physics, June 2010 - today

5. Technical Experience

  • Radio Astronomy
  1. Principal investigator (PI) and responsible scientist for a 2m antenna conversion to a radiotelescope, located at the Hellenic Open University (HOU) Campus. The antenna was an S-band satellite dish on an amateur-built alt-azimuth mount. The purpose of this small radiotelescope is to record continually the solar flux at 10.7cm during the day and be used for educational projects during the night. The antenna is part of a bigger experiment to probe correlations between the climate changes in Greece and the solar activity - solar weather. 10.7 cm is the optimum wavelength to monitor the solar activity .
  2. Responsible for obtaining the antennas of the CODALEMA experiment of Astroparticle Physics, in Greece. ESPA funding 2013 for equipping the Hellenic Open University Physics laboratory. On-going Collaboration with the Groupe Astroparticules, Laboratoire SUBATECH, Nantes, France. \item Processing radio data from the Low Band LOFAR antennas of the radio signal bursts from cosmic rays at ultra high energies. LOFAR of Astroparticle Physics Program and the LORA experiment, Univ. of Nijmegen (Prof. Heino Falcke), August 2011.
  3. 'Now How' simulations of radio signal bursts from ultra high energy cosmic rays with the software REAS and COREAS.
  4. Responsible for the acquisition Low Band LOFAR antennas experiment, interferometer LOFAR, the Netherlands, ESPA funding 2010--2012 for equipping the University of the Aegean and HOU Physics laboratory.
  5. The inclusion of the radio detection from ultra high energy cosmic rays was an essential part of the main scientific case of a successful proposal (ASTRONEU Program).
  6. Successful observational proposals using radio interferometers and processing radio-data
  7. VLBI (Very Large Baseline Interferometry) observer (e.g. among other things, managing the VLBI field system and changing VLBI tapes), JBO, University of Machester, Manchester, UK.
  • Astroparticle Physics
  1. Constructing flat scintillation counters for the HELYCON (HEllenic LYceum Cosmic Observatories Network, telescope to detect muons and calibrate the neutron telescope KM3Net.\\ Calibrating EMCO (high voltage power supply), cables and photomultiplier tubes, June 2006--2008

6. Radioastronomy Research Projects

  1. Principal Investigator (PI) of the research proposal entitled 'PYTHIA' (Progressively Towards Hellenic Invisible Astronomy) under the “Hellenic Foundation for Research & Innovation (HFRI) 1st Call for proposals for research projects for the support of Faculty members and Researchers working in the Greek Universities and Research Centers and the procurement of strategic research equipment.
  2. PI in the Scientific Research Proposal E13A014 entitled "Tracing parsec-scale structure in the Hercules A's core region" with EVN at 6 and 18 cm, February 2013. Co-PIs, Prof. Mike Garrett, ASTRON, The Netherlands, Prof. Dr. Eduardo Ros University of Valencia, Spain, Dr. Antxon Alberdi, Instituto de Astrof\'{i}sica de Andalucia (IAA, CSIC), Spain. Succesful proposal.
  3. PI in the scientific Research "Identifying the nucleus and small scale emission of the key-radiogalaxy 3C310" Global VLBI at 6 cm, February 2013. Co-PI Prof. Mike Garrett, ASTRON, The Netherlands.
  4. PI and Coordinator of the Research Project entitled HELL-ABYSS (HELLenic AstroBiologY Scientific reSearch), in the area of astrobiology, International Astronomical Union, Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) call for proposals,Hellenic Open University, October 2012. It was evaluated at a very good rank, 1st in the waiting list.

 7. Recent Achievements

  1. Appointed the one of the two scientists responsible for the 30m antenna located in Thermopile Telecommunication Station owned by the Hellenic Telecommunication Company (OTE). The scope of the project is to convert the antenna to a well performed fully steerable radiotelescope as well as have it radio linked with other telescope forming a radio interferometer.
  2. European Expert Reviewer Education, Audiovisual and Cultural Executive Agency H2020-FETOPEN-2014, 2015: Remote Expert/evaluator for Horizon 2020 Secure Societies Challenge, REA calls, 2014 -- 2015. Evaluated a total of 15 proposals in astrophysics & astronomy, astroparticle physics and propulsion systems. \item Referee of the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics (JASTP).
  3. HOU acquired 6 autonomous CODALEMA butterfly antennas and the University of the Aegean 1 low band LOFAR antenna.
  4. Awarded 4 out of 5 grades for a proposal on writing-up an auxiliary book and a glossary to assist the study of the subject area of "Structure of Matter and Universe" (for PSF 61). It was considered mature and well-thought for direct funding by the Kallipos Foundation for the developement of Hellenic Academic and Auxilliary Books.


Breakthrough Listen Initiative

Breakthrough Listen Initiative

Lead: Andrew Siemion

The Breakthrough Listen Initiative, funded by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, is the most powerful, comprehensive and intensive scientific search ever undertaken for signs of intelligent life beyond Earth. The project is using the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in Australia to search for radio transmissions from advanced civilizations.  In addition, the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory is being used to search for optical laser transmissions from other technological civilizations.

More about Breakthrough Listen Initiative