E N I G M A*

A network on Blazar research, funded by the European Commission through the TMR (Training and Mobility for Researchers) program


Network for the

Investigation of

Galactic nuclei through










*ENIGMA is the acronym of this European Network for the Investigation of Galactic nuclei through Multifrequency Analysis.
An enigma is a riddle. In ancient Greece the winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes posed a riddle taught her by the muses.
In modern times Blazars pose many riddles to astrophysicists working in all branches of astronomy.
Sphingen are symbols of enigmatic behaviour, as is frequently displayed by Blazars.
The sphinx is thus a symbol for the riddles posed by Blazars which are tackled in our network ENIGMA.
On November 1, 2002 this network which deals with investigations of the structure and radiation processes of quasars through multifrequency studies started officially. ENIGMA is funded by the European Commission through the TMR (Training and Mobility for Researchers) programme, and links eight European research institutions (referred to as members) and seven additional teams (referred to as associate members).


The science activities of this network are addressed in six complementary research themes which are closely connected to each other. While all of the empirical themes drive the requirements of the hardware/software theme, the empirical projects are aimed at maximizing efficiency by teaming up observational resources and coordinated campaigns. The two theoretical themes have many links between themselves, and clear connections to the three empirical subjects.
Further information on each of those subjects is provided here, or by clicking on the specific topic:

1) Towards automated, fast, and accurate photometry:

2) Separating intrinsic and extrinsic Intraday Variability:

3) Radiation processes at high energies:

4) Variations of Source Structure and Flux:

5) Particle acceleration in MHD outflows:

6) The Power of Jets:
      The research aims are directed at answering three fundamental questions:
      a) How is the bulk kinetic energy within jets transformed into radiation?
      b) What is the relationship between jet power and accretion power?
      c) What is the origin of the FR-I/FR-II dichotomy?

In addition to the six specific themes, a joint effort towards establishing a data-bank of densely sampled, long-term, high quality photometric data will be pursued by all teams. This effort will be closely connected with each of the six specific themes. It will provide the basis for the exploration of extended parts of parameter space (short time-scales and long time-scales).


  Team Coordinator
Young Researchers


  PI institution and coordinating partner

    Förderkreis der
    Landessternwarte Heidelberg
    Königstuhl 12
    69117 Heidelberg

Team Coordinator:

  Stefan Wagner

    E-Mail: S.Wagner at lsw.uni-heidelberg.de
    Phone: +49-6221-541 712
    Fax:     +49-6221-541 702

Young Researchers:

Dimitrios Emmanoulopoulos (PhD)
Luisa Ostorero (post-doc)
Lukasz Stawarz (post-doc)

Associated Partners:

John Kirk, MPI Kernphysik, Heidelberg

  Omar Kurtanidze, Abastumani Observatory, Georgia

Team members:

Max Camenzind
Monika Darr
Jochen Heidt,
Peter Strub, Marcus Hauser,
Elisa Ferrero

      Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie
    Auf dem Hügel 69
    53121 Bonn

Team Coordinator:

  Arno Witzel

    E-Mail: awitzel at mpifr-bonn.mpg.de
    Phone: +49-(0)228-525 211
    Fax:     +49-(0)228-525 435

Young Researchers:

Iván Agudo (post-doc)

Team members:

Thomas Krichbaum
Anton Zensus
Silke Britzen
Emmanouil Angelakis
Nicola Marchili
Violetta Impellizzeri
Jens Klare
Simone Friedrichs
Eduardo Ros
Matthias Kadler
Bong Won Sohn

      Tuorla Observatory
    Väisäläntie 20
    21500 Piikkiö

Team Coordinator:

  Leo Takalo

    E-Mail: takalo at utu.fi
    Phone:  +358-2-3338 229
    Fax:     +358-2-2433 767

Team members:

Aimo Sillanpää
Esko Valtaoja
Kari Nilsson
Elina Lindfors
Mikko Pasanen
Joni Virtanen
Tuomas Savolainen
Markku Lainela

      Metsähovi Radio Observatory
    Metsähovintie 114
    02540 Kylmälä

Team Coordinator:

  Merja Tornikoski

    E-Mail: Merja.Tornikoski at Hut.fi
    Phone: +358-9-2564423
    Fax:     +358-9-2564531

Team members:

Anne Lähteenmäki
Ilona Tornianen
Talvikki Hovatta
Elina Nieppola
Mikko Kotiranta
Mikko Parviainen

      Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino
    Via Osservatorio, 20
    10025 Pino Torinese

Team Coordinator:

  Claudia Raiteri

    E-Mail: raiteri at to.astro.it
    Phone: +39 011 8101914
    Fax:     +39 011 8101930

Young Researchers:

Uwe Bach (post-doc, Torino)
Lars Fuhrmann (post-doc, Perugia)

Associated Partners:

Gino Tosti (Team-Leader, Perugia subnode)
Perugia University Observatory
    Via Bonfigli, 06126 Perugia

Team members:

Luciano Lanteri
Edoardo Trussoni
Stefano Ciprini
Massimo Villata

      Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera
    Via E. Bianchi, 46
    23807 Merate

Team Coordinator:

  Gabriele Ghisellini

    E-Mail: gabriele at merate.mi.astro.it
    Phone: +39 039 9991124
    Fax:     +39 039 9991160

Young Researchers:

Krzysztof Katarzynski (post-doc)

Team members:

Laura Maraschi
Anna Wolter
Boris Sbarufatti
Fabrizio Tavecchio
Aldo Treves
Gianpiero Tagliaferri
Ilaria Cagnoni

      University of Athens
Department of Physics,
Panepistimiopolis, 15784 Zografos, Athens

Team Coordinator:

  Kanaris Tsinganos

    E-Mail: tsingan at phys.uoa.gr
    Phone: +30 210 7276915
    Fax:     +30 210 7276725

Young Researchers:

Jose Gracia (post-doc)

Associated Partners:

Jossif Papadakis
FORTH, Crete, Greece

Team members:

Apostolos Mastichiadis
Nectaria Gizani
Manolis Xilouris
Nektarios Vlahakis

      Cork Institute of Technology
    Dept. of Applied Physics & Instrumentation
    Rossa Avenue, Bishoptown, Cork

Team Coordinator:

  Niall Smith

    E-Mail: nsmith at cit.ie
    Phone: +353 (0)21 4326 369
    Fax:     +353 (0)21 4345 191

Young Researchers:

Vladislavs Bezrukovs (PhD)
Andreas Papageorgiou (post-doc)

Associated Partners:

Lorraine Hanlon, Brian McBreen,
Dept. Exp. Physics, UC Dublin
Denise Gabuzda, Physics Dept., UC Cork
Kevin Nolan, IT Tallaght, Dublin

Team members:

Aidan O'Connor
Paul Reynolds
John Howard
Alan Giltinan

In addition to the eight teams, the network is supported by an external advisor, Prof. Alan Marscher, Boston University, who, with his group, works on many aspects of the blazar phenomenon.


Seven postdoctoral positions and three predoctoral positions (for Ph.D. students) are available within the ENIGMA Network. They are hosted by one of the eight European research institutions (members) of this network.

The network has been established to carry out research in the following areas:

Developing reliable robotic systems for automated ground-based monitoring of AGN;
Developing high-precision photometric routines in different waveband regimes;
Developing advanced statistical methods for time-series analysis and applications to astrophysical models;
Multi-frequency observations of radio-loud AGN to study:

  •     radio/optical Intra-Day variability,
  •     relationships between structural and flux density variability,
  •     relationships in different high-energy bands (X-ray, gamma-rays, and VHE radiation with Cerenkov telescopes).
    Numerical simulations and analytical modelling to better understand:
  •     particle acceleration and radiation mechanisms,
  •     magnetohydrodynamic flows,
  •     jet physics in Blazars.

    Postdocs and Ph.D. students will work in their host team and within this active and interacting network of empirical and theoretical research. They will have access to unique observational facilities and will profit from a strong training program involving hardware-related aspects, observational strategies in all waveband regimes, and theoretical research.

    Postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to spend part of their time at other institutes during their appointment.

    Ph.D. students may either carry out part of their Ph.D. with one of the partners, with the remaining part being completed within their home institution, or they may carry out their entire Ph.D. with their host team and obtain their Ph.D. degree at the corresponding university. The ENIGMA network will be very flexible in this regard. The Ph.D. students are expected to work mostly within their host team, but they will be involved in network-wide training programs. Short-term visits to home universities and other network teams will be possible.

    Questions regarding the research program can be directed to Prof. S. Wagner, swagner at lsw.uni-heidelberg.de (network coordinator).

    Ten positions have/will become available between March 2003 and March 2004. The positions are tenable for up to two or three years. Competitive salaries will be paid, differing according to local regulations. Additional support will be available for extended visits to other partner institutions within the network, network meetings and conferences.

    According to the rules of the EC, the positions are open to young researchers, holding a passport of a Member or Associate State of the European Union. Further details are given by the
    regulations of the EC programme .

    Applications should include a curriculum vitae, a publication list, a summary of current research interests as well as a list of topics of interest or institutes which they would prefer to join. Two letters of reference should also be arranged for. The review of applications will start at different dates for different teams. Current openings review applications until the positions are filled. Material should be sent to Landessternwarte Heidelberg, S. Wagner, Koenigstuhl 12, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany, swagner at lsw.uni-heidelberg.de

    For a more detailed description of the positions available and their individual profiles follow this link.

    The poster advertising the vacancies can be downloaded here. Further details may also be found in the Job advertisement of the AAS job register, or the EC-RTN announcement of vacancies.