Job & study > Master and Bachelor thesis

Page by Gianni Bernardi

In the context of the consolidated collaboration with the University of Bologna, IRA offers the opportunity to Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students to carry out their degree thesis at one of its divisions. A list of Master Thesis students currently present at IRA can be found here.

Below you can find a list of the available dissertations. For more information on a specific project, please contact the thesis coordinator. For coordinators: new thesis projects can be inserted by filling the form at this link.

Thesis title Observations of the Epoch of Reionization and Cosmic Dawn with the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array
Coordinator Prof. Lauro Moscardini (; Dr. Gianni Bernardi (
Duration  6-8 Months – available from September 2021
Division  INAF-IRA
Description One of the key frontiers of modern observational cosmology is to understand how the first structures grew from tiny fluctuations of the density field into the first stars and galaxies that, subsequently, ionized the intergalactic medium. Observations of the 21 cm line emitted by the neutral Hydrogen from the intergalactic medium at high redshift (6 < z < 30) is one of the best probes of the Cosmic Dawn and subsequent Epoch of Reionization.

The student will analyze observations taken with the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array, a custom-built radio interferometric arrays that observes the 21 cm line in the 6 < z < 30 range. The student will work on the data calibration and foreground separation with the ultimate goal of improving the current 21 cm power spectrum, providing a better constraint on the physical properties of the first stars and galaxies – e.g., the average mass of the dark matter halo where they formed, their X-ray properties, how their star formation process started and evolve with time.


Thesis title Studying the Cosmic Dawn with the 21 cm global signal
Coordinator Prof. Lauro Moscardini (; Dr. Gianni Bernardi (; Dr. Marta Spinelli (
Duration  6-8 Months – available from September 2021
Division INAF-IRA
Description Single-dipole antennas observing at low frequency have the potential to measure the 21 cm global signal, the sky-averaged brightness temperature arising from the 21 cm transition of neutral hydrogen, and thus study the Universe at Cosmic Dawn when the formation of the first stars occurs (z ~ 20).

The thesis will consist in the analysis of the available data from Large-aperture Experiment to Detect the Dark Age (LEDA), located in Owens Valley in California, and/or simulations of the Radio Experiment for the Analysis of Cosmic Hydrogen (REACH), deployed in the Karoo radio reserve in South Africa. Both experiments aim to measure the sky-averaged 21 cm signal in the 12 < z < 30 range.

The analysis will include the development of techniques to disentangle the signal from the much stronger Galactic and extra-galactic foregrounds and the characterization of the impact of the systematic effects.


Thesis title Mapping the large scale structure of the Universe with 21 cm Intensity Mapping
Coordinator Prof. Lauro Moscardini (; Dr. Gianni Bernardi (; Dr. Marta Spinelli (
Duration 6-8 Months – available from September 2021
Division INAF-IRA
Description Intensity Mapping (IM) of the redshifted 21 cm line from neutral hydrogen is a promising technique to construct three-dimensional maps of the large-scale structure of the Universe in the post-reionization era, complementary to galaxy surveys. The central idea of IM is to measure the integrated 21 cm line emission from all galaxies that fall into a single resolution element (i.e. beam) without the need to resolve them individually. IM, therefore, allows the detection of the 21 cm emission at higher redshifts compared to standard observations of individual galaxies.

As IM observations trace the underlying matter distribution of the Universe on large scales, a 21 cm detection would place tight constraints on cosmological parameters.

The student will take an active part in the MeerKLASS IM survey of the MeerKAT radio telescope.  The MeerKLASS data cover a  300~deg^2 sky patch with the goal to observe IM up to z ~ 0.4 and new data will be available soon. Thesis activities will include (but not necessarily limited to) data analysis, foreground separation, and simulations of the expected cosmological signal.


Thesis title