Marc Illa Subiña

Me at Virigina Beach, USA

Hi there, my name is Marc, I’m 24 years old, and I’m in my first year of PhD at the Universitat de Barcelona, in Catalonia. I’ve done all my studies in Barcelona, starting with a Bachelor degree in Physics, then a Master’s in particle Physics, and now a PhD in nuclear Physics.

Don’t be fooled by the picture I have posted, it was the only recent one I had (I don’t like taking pictures, especially of myself). I’m not a beach person. I prefer the mountains. Maybe this is because I’m from a small town in the center of Catalonia, called “les Masies de Voltregà”, where one can go for a walk without needing to take the car. Or maybe because I get sunburned very easily. One of the two (or both).

My research area, as I’ve said before, is nuclear physics. In later posts I’ll talk more about it, but for now, it’s enough to say that I try to simulate the most fundamental particles of matter (quarks and gluons) and see if what we get is what we have in our “real” world. In this way we can study systems that are very difficult to test experimentally. For that, we need powerful computers to do all the calculations, and that’s why I applied for the Summer of HPC project at CaSToRC, The Cyprus Institute, in Nicosia, where they research exactly the same field of particles physics as I am studying. These two months are going to help me get familiarized with supercomputers, and how to write parallel code, so that in the future I can use MareNostrum – the Spanish national supercomputer hosted at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). Furthermore, to be able to work with one of the leading groups in my research area is going to be very challenging, but at the same time very enriching.

When I’m not doing physics, I like to listen to music, read or go hiking, and now I’m traveling quite a lot for my PhD (as you can see by my picture), killing two birds with one stone: I learn about new areas of physics that I’ve never heard before and meet new people at the same time. To end, I’ll leave you with a cool time-lapse I took during one of my flights.

Airplane flying through clouds

I hope you like it and see you in Cyprus! (and remember to bring sunscreen, lots of sunscreen!!)


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