Inspired by the magic of flight as a teenager, science and the mysteries of the universe has always been my passion. I started my research career jointly at KU Leuven and the University of Warwick pondering evolution scenarios of long-period subdwarf B binaries, a theoretically predicted, but at-the-time unobserved class of binary stars. Mining a 10-year long observation campaign led me to the discovery and characterization of the first system of its kind.
A keen interest in astrophysics and high-performance computing encouraged me towards a PhD in space plasma physics, focusing on the multi-scale interaction with bodies immersed in the plasma. Along this path I updated the fully parallel and implicit particle-in-cell code iPic3D for the analysis of spacecraft charging, engaged in a performance comparison study between CPU, GPU and MIC architectures and developed the first 3-D fully kinetic and electromagnetic simulations of the solar wind interaction with lunar magnetic anomalies. This work allowed me to unravel the ion and electron dynamics leading to the formation of mini-magnetospheres, an effort rewarded with a cover article in Physical Review Letters and a visiting scientist position at LATMOS/UVSQ.
Currently at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU Boulder), I am exploring plasma-surface interactions with airless and magnetized bodies in space and the laboratory. In addition, my collaborators and I are developing iPic3D simulations to disentangle for the first time the kinetic ion and electron dynamics of the solar wind interaction with outgassing comets, focusing on the Rosetta mission and comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
I enjoy teaching and supervising students. I am a passionate glider/GA pilot, hiker and skier. As a competition athlete (track and ultimate) I always look forward to new challenges ahead.