My name is Francesca Fragkoudi (pronounced Fran-goo-dee*) and I am an Assistant Professor at the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University. My research explores how spiral galaxies -- like our own Milky Way -- form and evolve throughout cosmic history. I'm particularly interested in the connection between the dynamical processes occurring in galaxies -- such as secular evolution -- and the broader cosmological context, and in the dark matter problem. I use theoretical tools, such as N-body & hydrodynamic simulations (both isolated and cosmological) and orbital structure theory, to interpret observations of the Milky Way and of galaxies in the nearby Universe. For more information you can have a look at the Research tab and my publication list (link to ADS).
Science and its communication are essential for achieving a fairer, more peaceful and sustainable society, as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Astronomy, in particular, is a powerful tool for inspiring and fostering a sense of global citizenship. In this spirit, I founded and coordinate, on behalf of GalileoMobile, the award-winning project "Columba-Hypatia: Astronomy for Peace". Columba uses astronomy as a tool for peace and diplomacy on the post-conflict island of Cyprus; you can read more about it and my other science outreach endeavours in the Science Communication tab.
Before moving to Durham, I was an ESO Fellow in Garching (2020 -- 2022), and a Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (2018 -- 2020) in the groups of Simon White and Volker Springel. Previously, I was a postdoc at GEPI, Observatoire de Paris (2016 -- 2018) working with Paola Di Matteo and Misha Haywood. I carried out my PhD at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (2012 -- 2015) under the supervision of Lia Athanassoula and Albert Bosma. I hail from the small island of Cyprus, which I left to move to Bristol, UK and then to Barcelona, Spain, to undertake a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Astrophysics & Cosmology, respectively. After finishing my Masters, I took a year out of academia, during which I worked odd jobs in Cyprus and travelled around South America.
*Why is there an "n" there?
In Greek, my name is written as Φραντζέσκα Φραγκούδη. The letters "γκ" (which tend to be transliterated to "gk" in the latin alphabet) produce the sound "ng" -- like in the word "finger".
“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known."
- Carl Sagan
"Πλάτυνε η Σκέψη τη ζωή τόσο πολύ, τόσο πολύ,
πόκανε ο άνθρωπος τη Γη κι' όλο το Σύμπαν: σπίτι..."
- Ανθίας Τεύκρος