‘Women of CTA’ Returns Online this February 11

On Friday 11 February at 18:30 CET, the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) will host its fourth edition of the “Women of CTA” event via livestream on the CTA YouTube and Facebook channels in recognition of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The event makes part of the global effort to raise awareness about the work and achievements of women in STEM and to promote equal opportunities in the field.

This year’s “Women of CTA” will feature three female astrophysicists – Anna Wolter (INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera), Heide Costantini (Aix-Marseille University and CPPM/IN2P3) and Judit Pérez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and IFT) – who will share their work on the gamma-ray astronomy, challenges of the science education and their professional and personal experience in the field. The event, moderated by Alba Fernández-Barral (CTAO), will include a “Question & Answer” session with the viewers at the end.

Meet the speakers:

Anna Wolter

After her degree at the Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) and a period at the Center for Astrophysics of the Smithsonian Institution (Cambridge, MA – USA), Anna became part of the INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera. She has always worked in the high-energy Astrophysics field, favoring Extragalactic Astronomy, studying sources such as galaxy clusters or black holes, including Ultraluminous X-ray sources and Active Galactic Nuclei (galaxies with a supermassive black hole at their centre that eats up the surrounding material, becoming very luminous). She has always believed in a multiwavelength approach to study astrophysical phenomena: by looking at things from different perspectives, at different frequencies and with different instruments, it is possible to learn much more from the Universe. Between 2013 and 2018, she was appointed member of the Steering Committee of the High Energy Division of the IAU.


She has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, and many outreach texts. She has delivered more than 200 conferences for schools or public lectures, and values the interaction with Universities and the young: she has held a few monographic courses at the universities in Milano and supervised Master and PhD thesis. Since 2010, she represents Italy in the ESO Science Outreach Network and, since 2020, she coordinates the outreach efforts for the national ASTRI project and serves as Country Representative of Italy at the CTA Outreach Committee. She also makes part of the editorial staff of EduINAF, the outreach magazine of INAF, and of astroEDU/it, the Italian version of the IAU portal of peer-reviewed astronomy education activities.

Heide Costantini

Heide’s career started as a Nuclear Astrophysicist, studying nuclear reactions occurring in stars with the LUNA accelerator located at the underground laboratory of Gran Sasso in Italy. She got her PhD in Physics in 2003 at the University of Genova (Italy) and continued to work in nuclear astrophysics with a particular focus on the early and quiescent evolutionary stages of the life of the stars. After her postdoc at the University of Notre Dame in the US, she came back to Italy for a researcher position at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN). At that point, she started to get interested in the high-energy sky and, in particular, in the final evolution stages of a star that lead to the extreme energetic scenarios. She joined the ANTARES neutrino telescope experiment in 2007, for which she served as Calibration Coordinator for several years and studied the possibility of detecting a supernova neutrino. In 2010, she became Assistant Professor at the Aix-Marseille University (France) and joined the Cherenkov Telescope Array Consortium (CTAC), where she currently serves as the Galactic Working Group Co-Coordinator. Her work at CTAC focuses on the simulations for the Small-Sized and Medium-Sized Telescopes (SSTs and MSTs, respectively) and on the preparation of the hunt for PeVatrons, cosmic sources in our own Galaxy capable of accelerating charged particles up to energies of Peta-electronvolts (PeV) – thousands of trillions more energetic than the visible light!

Judit Pérez

Judit is a last-year PhD candidate in the Instituto de Física Teórica (IFT) in Madrid (Spain). She graduated in Physics in Universidad de Valencia and moved to the IFT for her Master’s degree, where she joined the DArk Matter, AStroparticles and Cosmology (DAMASCO) group and started her PhD thesis. She specializes in gamma-ray searches of Dark Matter. From the most recent studies, we know that only 5% of the Universe is made of standard matter (atoms, protons, electrons…). The rest of the matter is invisible to us – that is why we named it Dark Matter. This mysterious Dark Matter usually only interacts leaving gravitational imprints, but there is a chance that from the collision of two Dark Matter particles some gamma rays emerge and arrive to our telescopes. Judit is member of the Fermi-LAT Collaboration and the Cherenkov Telescope Array Consortium (CTAC). Within the latter, as the Coordinator of the “Galaxy Clusters Task Force,” she has focused on studying galaxy clusters, the most massive objects in the Universe, as targets for searching Dark Matter. She is also working as the Coordinator of the “Dark Matter Tools Task Force” in software development for the analysis required to distinguish the gamma rays originated in the interaction of Dark Matter, from other gamma-ray sources. Judit is currently the Country Representative for Spain at the CTA Outreach Committee.

“Women of CTA” is an annual event carried out under the Astrodiversity program, which gathers all those activities and initiatives organized or supported by CTAO within the inclusion and diversity framework. Find more information regarding Astrodiversity and, particularly, about the worldwide situation of women and girls in science on the Astrodiversity page of our website.


Contact: Alba Fernández-Barral, CTAO Outreach and Education Coordinator

Under the patronage of the IAU Office for Astronomy Outreach:

The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) brings together a community of diverse cultural backgrounds and personal and professional abilities and experiences. This diversity makes us strong, and the CTA Observatory (CTAO) is committed to supporting and protecting it. To do so, the following CTAO Code of Conduct for Events and Meetings shall be applied. It provides guidelines for the basic standards and rules of behaviour expected in any online or in-person meeting/event organized by the CTAO. They apply to any participant, regardless of whether they are CTA members or external participants.


CTAO Code of Conduct for Events and Meetings focuses on different core values:


1. Diversity

– Refrain from unpleasant or disparaging remarks or actions, in particular, on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, beliefs, nationality, culture, ethnicity, race, job status/title, disability or family situation.

– Treat others with tact, courtesy and respect.

– Abstain from and actively discourage discrimination in all forms.

– Respect and value differences.


2. Integrity

– Ensure to credit others for their contribution.

– Respect the privacy of others and protect personal information given to you in confidence.


3. Professionalism

– Respect the contribution of each participant to the meeting/event.

– Maintain a professional environment characterized by good working relations and an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual respect.

– Provide advice and guidance to colleagues, where appropriate.

– Abstain from and actively discourage all forms of harassment as well as verbal, non-verbal, written or physical abuse.


4. Creativity

– Use your professional experience in a constructive manner.

– Be open to new ideas and approaches. Be thoughtful with all participants’ work and provide only constructive critiques.


Mutual respect is paramount, and your right to be treated equally, with dignity and respect, also is protected. The CTAO will not tolerate discrimination or harassment of participants attending our events and meetings, and the organizer, person responsible and/or chairperson of the event/meeting reserves the right to ask any participant who does not follow these guidelines to leave the event/meeting (without refunding the fee, if any).


To privately report a violation of the CTAO Code of Conduct for Events and Meetings during or after the “Women of CTA” event, please contact the organizer, Alba Fernández-Barral (CTAO Outreach and Education Coordinator).


The “CTAO Code of Conduct for Events and Meetings” is based on the “CTAO Code of Conduct” (May 2018).