CV - Luka Č. Popović
I.1. General information
Luka Č. Popović was born on April 16, 1964, in the village of Trnjanim (Doboj municipality). He completed primary school in Trnjani and Majevac and secondary school in Doboj. After completing his military service (1983–1984), he enrolled in astronomy studies at the Faculty of Science and Mathematics at the University of Belgrade, graduating in 1988 and earning the title of graduate astronomer. He enrolled in his master's studies at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Belgrade. He defended his master's thesis, entitled: "Stark broadening and shift of spectral lines of Zn II," in 1991. He defended his doctorate in astrophysics under the title "Stark broadening of spectral lines of heavy ions in the spectra of hot stars' ' in 1994 at the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade.
I.2. Work and professional biography
Since 1988, he has been working as a mathematics teacher at Mića Popović elementary school in Mala Ivanča (1988/89 school year). In the period from 1989 to 1992, he was employed at the Popular Observatory and Planetarium AS "R. Bošković", first as a lecturer, and then as the director of this institution (in the periods from 1991-1995 and 1999-2003). Since 1992, he has been employed at the Astronomical Observatory as a research associate, where he is still working as a research professor (elected to the mentioned title in 2001). He is engaged as a full professor at the Faculty of Mathematics of University of Belgrade (since 2021).
Luka Č. Popović has been engaged in scientific research since 1990 (over 30 years), as well as accompanying but no less important work in the education of young researchers and the popularization of astronomy and science in general.
The scientific field in which he works is astrophysics, and specifical fields are: spectroscopy of laboratory and stellar plasma, active galactic nuclei, gravitational lenses, gamma rays; and research of the Earth's ionosphere. Briefly, scientific work can be divided into: a) Spectroscopy of laboratory and stellar plasma. Early works (early 1990s) refer to problems related to atomic physics and plasma physics. His master's thesis was on the Stark broadening of once-ionized lines of zinc and cadmium in laboratory plasma, and in his doctoral dissertation he investigated Stark broadening in stellar plasma. He improved the calculations of the Stark effect with a modified semiempirical formula for complex emitters by including different angular momentum couplings (in addition to LS, he includes jj and jl connections) and by modifying the calculation of matrix elements. b) Spectroscopy of Extragalactic Objects - Active Galactic Nuclei. He has been engaged in the study of active galactic nuclei (AGN, the collective name for quasars, Seyfert galaxies, and blazars) since the beginning of the 1990s of the last century, which was then a pioneering endeavor in Serbian astronomy (remember that quasars were discovered in the 1960s of the last century). Working in this area, he develops an original approach to the study of the spectra of active galaxies and gravitational lenses, i.e., the field of extragalactic spectroscopy. In this field, he supervised six doctoral students, who successfully completed their theses. Studies performed in this area have covered the physics of the central part of the AGJ, from the accretion disk, the broad-line region, the dust torus, the narrow-line region, to the circumstellar population - which surrounds the active nuclei. A special contribution of AGN research is his initiative to observe active galaxies in spectro-polarization, which has so far produced exceptional results, one of which is a new method for estimating the mass of supermassive black holes at the centers of active galaxies using polarization across AGN broad-line profiles (together with V. L. Afanasiev from the Special Astrophysical Observatory). c) Gravitational lenses. He was the first in Serbian astronomy to start studying the effect of gravitational lenses, and he is one of the pioneers of studying the influence of gravitational lenses on the shapes of spectral lines in the world, especially the iron line at an energy of 6.4 keV, which is visible in active galaxies and which is emitted from the accretion disk that is located very close to the central black hole. In this field, the candidate supervised one doctoral student, and was invited to the commissions for the defense of a doctorate in this field abroad (University of Heidelberg, Germany, and University of La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain). d) Gamma ray bursts and the Earth's ionosphere. He studies gamma ray bursts, and lately he has been engaged in researching the influence of radiation from space on the ionosphere. In this area, together with a doctoral student, a model of shock wave model for gamma ray burst origin was developed. Also, this theoretical research was applied to the observation of the influence of gamma ray bursts (recorded on the Swift satellite) on the ionosphere (signal observed in Belgrade). In addition to the impact of gamma rays on the lower layers of the ionosphere, he also studies other phenomena on the Earth's ionosphere, such as solar flares, earthquakes, and hurricanes. In addition to this research, he is involved in historical research concerning astronomical personalities and events.
He published over 500 professional and scientific papers (data from the ADS database - NASA Astrophysics Data System: http://http://adsabs.harvard.edu/p search including astronomy and physics), of which over 160 were published in leading journals in astronomy and physics. He has been cited more than 3000 times (source ADS) and has a Hirsch factor of 32.
Participation in education
He was elected to the position of full professor in 2020 at the University of Belgrade in the scientific field of astronomy with 10% working time. At the Faculty of Science and Mathematics in Banja Luka, he was elected full professor in 2018, and from 2006 to 2022, he taught the courses "Fundamentals of Astronomy" and "Fundamentals of Astrophysics," and from 2019 to 2022, he taught the course "Geodetic Astronomy" at the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Geodesy of the University of Banja Luka. He is the co-author of two university textbooks. He was a visiting professor at the University of Padua (2008), the University of Tor Vergata in Rome (2011) and the University of Göttingen (2013 and 2014). He participated in thesis defense committees at domestic and international universities. He actively participated in the realization of the first Erasmus Mundus program (Astromundus) at the University of Belgrade, where he was engaged as a representative of the University of Belgrade in the Student Selection Commission. He served as President of the Program Council for these studies at the University of Belgrade. Currently he is a member of the Student Selection Committee of the Erasmus+ Master's program in Astrophysics and Space Research MASS (see https://www.master-mass.eu/) as a representative of the University in Belgrade. Under his (co)supervision, nine doctoral dissertations and a large number of master's theses were defended.
He spent longer study stays in Spain (Institute for Astrophysics, Canary Islands), Germany (Astrophysical Institute in Potsdam and Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn), and Russia (Institute for Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences). It has developed international cooperation.
From 2001 to 2020, he led a scientific project called Astrophysical Spectroscopy of Extragalactic Objects, funded by the Ministry of Science in Serbia. In addition, he was the coordinator of the following international projects: (1) Investigation of spectral line broadening in stellar atmospheres (cooperation between the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Russian Academy of Sciences), 1998-2002; (2) Virtual Observatory as a tool for investigations of the origin of galaxies (cooperation between Serbia and France, Pavle Savić program) 2006-2007; (3) Probing the Structure and Physics of the Broad Line Region using AGN Variability (a bilateral project in cooperation with the Astrophysical Institute of the University of Göttingen, Germany, funded by the Humboldt Foundation) 2009-2012; (4) Variability in polarized spectra of AGN (in cooperation with the Special Astrophysical Observatory, Russia) in progress. He was a member of the Management Committee and coordinator of COST Action MP0905 (OC-2009-1-4261) entitled "Black Holes in a Violent Universe" (representing Serbia), and a member of the Management Committee of COST Action MP1104 "Polarization as a tool to study the Solar System and beyond."
Currently, he leads a project called SER-SAG, i.e., the in-kind participation of the Serbian team in the largest Earth-based astronomy project, LSST (the ten-year Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time - LSST), which includes participation in software development and observation time at the 1.4 Milanković telescope in Vidojevica. This project is carried out in synergy with the Astronomical Observatory, the Department of Astronomy of the Faculty of Mathematics - University of Belgrade, and the Faculty of Science and Mathematics of the University of Kragujevac.
- He is the winner of the prestigious Humboldt scholarship, where he stayed as a Humboldt scholarship fellow at the Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam from 2003 to 2005 and in 2008 at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.
- He has received the Astronomical Observatory's award for scientific work four times: once for the work of young researchers and three times for the scientific work of experienced researchers (in 2000, 2010, and 2021).
- Award, given at the President's International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, for two months as a visiting professor in 2020/21.
Participation in scientific meeting committees and editorial boards of journals, reviews
- He served on the scientific meeting committees of numerous domestic and international scientific conferences, as well as as chairman and co-chairman of scientific committees (e.g., see http://www.scslsa.matf.bg.ac.rs/, https://eas.unige.ch/EWASS2019/organizers.jsp http://spig2020.ipb.ac.rs/)
- He was the editor of the Serbian Astronomical Journal and Publication of the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade in the period from 1998 to 2002, and in addition, he edited over 20 thematic proceedings, which were conference proceedings or special issues of regular journals.
- He is currently on the editorial boards of the following domestic and foreign journals:
1. Journal of the Geographical Institute "Jovan Cvijić"
2. Astrophysical Bulletin (see https://www.pleiades.online/en/journal/aspbull/board)
3. Open Astronomy (https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/astro/astro-overview.xml)
- one of the editors
4. Earth and Planetary Science (https://ojs.nassg.org/index.php/eps)
- He was a reviewer for domestic and international projects several times. He reviewed a large number of scientific papers for leading astronomy journals (Astrophysical Journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Astronomy & Astrophysics, etc.).
Other activities of wider social importance for science and education
- From 2010 to 2021, he was a member of the Committee for Geo-Sciences and Astronomy at the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.
- From 2010 to 2020, he was a member of the Council for University Studies, Belgrade University.
- From 2011 to 2015, he served as president of the Humboldt Club of Serbia (in two two-year terms). Since 2005, he has been a member of the steering committee of the Humboldt Club of Serbia. He was the editor-in-chief of the Herald of the Humboldt Club of Serbia.
- From 1998 to 2002, he was the vice-president of the steering committee of the Astronomical Observatory.
- He was a member of the steering committee of the Astronomical Society of Serbia from 2000 to 2014.
- He is a member of the steering committee of the Geographical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences (Jovan Cviji) (since 2018).
- He is a member of the Council of the Faculty of Chemistry (as a representative of the Ministry since 2019).