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Research team

The Research Center of Cosmic Rays and Radiation Events in the Atmosphere research team consists of a key foreign researcher and fifteen other researchers. Eight of the fifteen team members are new staff (as per the conditions of the call). One new position will be opened for a technician.

Dr. Günther Reitz

Günther Reitz is the new key foreign researcher and the director of the CRREAT project.

He received his Diploma in Physics and Thesis in Biophysics at the University in Frankfurt. Günther Reitz was until his retirement the head of the Radiation Biology Department of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine of DLR from 2004 to 2015. Since 2015 he is working as a consultant of the Department. In May 2017 he was appointed Adjunct Professor at the Soochow University, Suzhou, China. The prime objective of his work comprises research on the radiation field in space especially for manned missions and its biological effects with the goal to provide an accurate assessment of the radiation exposures of astronauts to recommend radiation protection measures which pave the way to other planets.

Dr. Günther Reitz started his career as Co-Investigator in the Biostack Experiment flown in 1975 on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Program. The method applied in the Biostack Experiments, the so called Biostack concept, allowed the first time to assign a radiobiological effect to the passage of a single heavy ion of the cosmic radiation. He was since this time Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator and Project Manager in numerous spaceflight experiments investigating the radiation environment and its biological effects using US and Russian spacecraft, and the International Space Station. He was the inventor, project manager and Principal Investigator of the ESA-MATROSHKA project, which allowed the first time to measure the depth dose profile of cosmic radiation in a human phantom outside and inside the ISS. All projects were performed successfully in collaboration with universities and organizations in US, Russia, Japan and Europe. A further milestone was his participation in the experiment “Radiation Assessment Detector” of the NASA Mars Science Lab Mission, in which the first measurements of the radiation inside a spacecraft on the way to Mars and on the Mars surface are provided.

Dr. Günther Reitz is acting chairman of COSPAR Commission F “Life Sciences as Related to Space” and permanent chairman of the Workshop of Radiation Monitoring on the ISS (WRMISS) since its foundation in 1996. He has established an international network in the field of radiation dosimetry in space and contributes to set up a European Program for Investigations into Biological Effects of space Radiation (IBER) which is complementary to the NASA space radiation health program. He is member of several national and international organizations and has more than 220 scientific publications.

Assoc. Prof. Eric Benton

Eric Benton is an excellent key foreign researcher (EKFS). He is a globally recognised expert in the radiation dosimetry domain. E. Benton will join the CRREAT team for one year, from the beginning of September 2017 till the end of August 2018. For the duration of the project, he will also be a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). He will help to put the students on track and assist with their theses. One of the students will then join the CRREAT team after E. Benton’s stay is concluded.

Simultaneously, E. Benton will start the research activities listed below. With his assistance, two instruments will be developed – the system for stationary correlation measurements of extensive showers (SCOMES) of cosmic rays and lightning, and a, first of its kind in the Czech Republic, tissue equivalent proportional detector for LET spectra determination in mixed radiation fields. By collaboration with Oklahoma State University, the Czech Republic will gain access to cyclotron source of 230 MeV protons and a to a unique 800 MeV spallation neutron source at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) in the National Laboratory of Los Alamos.

Ing. Ondřej Ploc, Ph.D.

O. Ploc will focus on the development of dosimeter for UAV, on dosimetric measurements on high-altitude observatories, and onboard airplanes and spacecraft, with emphasis on detection of terrestrial gamma-ray bursts and other radiation phenomena associated with atmospheric discharges. He will also participate in Monte Carlo modelling of the dosimetric experiments.

O. Ploc serves as deputy director of the project and is the research area garant for RD1.

doc. Dr. Ing. Pavel Kovář

P. Kovář will study the relationships between dosimetric measurements of radiation phenomena in the atmosphere and errors and availability of GNSS receivers. He will also study the manifestations of radiation phenomena in the atmosphere in the radio bands L, S and C. The aim of his research activities will be to better understand the related errors of GNSS systems and the mechanism of their formation. In addition, he will support scientific activities of the team by providing expertise in the fields of signal processing, time synchronization of scientific experiments using GNSS, positioning of mobile navigation instruments, measurements of data for determining the humidity of the atmosphere and provide expertise in lightning detection by radio systems and knowledge in the field of aerospace systems and UAV navigation.

He is also the supervisor of Ing. Jakub Kákona doctoral thesis and research area garant for RD3.

prof. RNDr. Ondřej Santolík Dr.

O. Santolík will analyse and interpret data acquired by terrestrial measurements of signals generated by intracloud discharges. After launch of the TARANIS satellite he will also take care about analysis and interpretation of satellite data.

Ing. Ivana Kolmašová, Ph.D.

Ivana Kolmašová will coordinate scientific activities of IAP within the project. She will lead the technical work associated with the installation of equipment for measurements of signals generated by lightning discharges. She will also perform the analysis and interpretation of both terrestrial and satellite data.

I. Kolmašová is the research area garant for RD2.

doc. RNDr. Zbyněk Sokol CSc.

Zbyněk Sokol deals with numerical weather forecasting with a focus on modelling of convective storms. In the project, he investigates the cloud electrification and develops a model, which explicitly describes the cloud electrification development, formation of lightning and its discharging.

Ing. Václav Štěpán, Ph.D.

Václav Štěpán will provide expertise in Geant4 Monte Carlo toolkit used for modeling of ionizing radiation in the atmosphere, the response of the detectors used in the experiment in realistic geometries and supervise calculations using the resources of the National Grid Infrastructure MetaCentrum. He will participate in the implementation of the measurement using UAVs, development of the required software and in processing and interpretation of the acquired data and will ensure their availability for the scientific community.

Ing. Iva Ambrožová, Ph.D.

I. Ambrožová has many years of experience in the measurement of cosmic radiation, predominantly using passive detectors (TLD detectors and solid phase track structure detectors). She will analyze the results of measurements from terrestrial observatories, onboard the aircraft, satellites and the International Space Station.

doc. Ing. Carlos Granja, Ph.D.

Carlos Granja devotes to radiation detection, radiation imaging, spectrometry and tracking of energetic particles using highly integrated instrumentation (position-sensitive semiconductor detectors) together with innovative methodology (quantum imaging dosimetry, high-resolution particle tracking on integrated ASIC chips). He specializes in experimental nuclear physics, nuclear reactions, radiation sources and interaction and measurement of radiation in LEO orbit and in the atmosphere. Research interests include space weather and novel radiation phenomena in the atmosphere and near Earth environment.

Mgr. Ronald Langer

R. Langer will focus on statistical studies of the relationship between cosmic radiation intensity and atmospheric characteristics affecting the production of secondary particles, calculations using computer models and analysis of time series of cosmic radiation parameters.

RNDr. Jana Minářová, Ph.D.

Jana Minářová contributes as a postdoc to the project by testing a model that explicitly treats the cloud electrification and lightning in thunderclouds, and is implemented to a numerical weather prediction model.

Ing. Jan Mikeš, Ph.D. (FEE)

Jan Mikeš will at FEE CTU in Prague focus on radiative manifestation of lightning discharge and study initiation of lightning by radiation particles. He will also focus on the challenges of detection and localization of lightning. He will participate in the development of the Laboratory of Environmental Electrotechnics and on the installation of the generator of lightning currents. He will support the research team throughout the tests focused on resilience of the scientific equipment against damage by atmospheric electricity.


Ing. Dagmar Peksová

Dagmar Peksová deals with the research of the relation between cosmic radiation and high-energy atmospheric phenomena, especially the terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGF), radiation phenomena associated with lightning, and radiation protection of aircraft crew. In the frame of the CRREAT project, she will conduct experiments with the ionizing radiation created by the artificial lightning generators in a laboratory to estimate the dose rates on board aircraft induced by lightning. Moreover, she will analyze dosimetry data for the European network on board aircraft (EDNA) in order to find the TGF effects.

Dissertation topic: Dosimetric Context of Cosmic Rays and High-Energy Atmospheric Physics
Supervisor: Ing. Ondřej Ploc, PhD.
Ph.D. student since: 2016

Ing. Martin Kákona

M. Kákona will focus on development of new methods for data acquisition for cosmic rays, and utilize the newly recorded data for optimization of the methods. He will also develop new methods for acquisition and evaluation of dosimetric data.

Based on his previous experience with management of research and development project, he is also simultaneously working as project manager.

Ing. Jakub Kákona

He will strive to enhance the methods for detection and localization of lightning and will study and analyze their relation to the radiation phenomena in the atmosphere.

He will participate in the development of electronics for the detection of radio interference, detection of lightning and related experiments.

Dissertation topic: Radio detection of electromagnetic phenomena in the atmosphere
Supervisor: Pavel Kovář

Ing. Jakub Šlegl

J. Šlegl will focus on a relation between extensive cosmic-ray air showers and lightning. He will participate in the development and installation of stationary and movable detectors for cosmic-ray air showers. He will analyse the data from SEVAN detectors on Lomnický štít and Milešovka and their relation with lightning detection.

Thesis supervisor: Ondřej Ploc
Dissertation topic: Correlation measurements of extensive cosmic-ray air showers and lightning
Started his Ph.D. studies: 2017

Ing. Marek Sommer

M. Sommer‘s main task and the core of his thesis is to use the MCNPX code to build a detailed picture of the ionizing radiation environment in Earth's atmosphere. The results would be beneficial in a wide variety of areas, for instance in aircraft dosimetry, validation of other computer models, and perhaps in understanding the role of cosmic ray secondaries in lightning initiation.

Furthermore, he participates in experiments and evaluation of their results. His focus is primarily on the use of HAWK TEPC (tissue equivalent proportional counter) detector for precise dosimetry and evaluation of the data from Timepix pixel detector.

Dissertation topic: Verification of Models Describing Ionizing Radiation Transmission in the Atmosphere
Supervisors: Ondřej Ploc and Eric Benton

Former team members:

prof. Ing. Karel Kudela, DrSc.

The task of the key foreign scientist (KFS) was to transfer the expertise in the research of cosmic rays measurements done primarily on the surface of the Earth and from the research of suprathermal energetic particles in satellite experiments into the Czech scientific community. As project director, he coordinated the project from the scientific perspective. Thanks to prof. Kudela, the team has access not only to cosmic rays measurements on devices operated by the project but also to measurements of the secondary components of cosmic rays recorded at laboratories in other countries (using neutron monitors, muon telescopes).

K. Kudela was the director of project CRREAT till August 31, 2017.

RNDr. Mária Kancírová

M. Kancírová carried out statistical studies of relationships between the intensity of CR and the atmospheric characteristics affecting the production of secondary particles and performed time series analysis of cosmic rays data.

crreat/researchers.txt · Last modified: 2017/10/29 12:12 by Jakub Kákona