Ricard Casas

Biography

I was born in Sabadell (Catalonia, Spain), in September 1958.

I started my degree in Physics Sciences in the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 1976. I finished it in 1983 with a work in Particle’s Physics titled “Are the f and f’ mesons innocents qq-bar?”, directed by Dr. Albert Bramon from UAB.

In 1979 I learnt about the astronomical amateur association Agrupació Astronòmica de Sabadell. It determinated my future and I am still member nowadays.

My first job was a collaboration with Barcelona’s Science Museum, working on Zeiss planetarium and in the process of translating scientific films into Catalan or Spanish. In October 1988 I was temporally hired in Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) as a solar observer in Teide Observatory (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain). However my contract was extended to a permanent position in the Solar and Nightly telescopes as an observer and operator. I finished my job there due to family reasons in February 2000.

In this period I began my PhD in Solar Physics directed by Dr. Manuel Vázquez Abeledo from IAC with the title Emergency of Solar Active Regions. I obtained my PhD in Astrophysics at La Laguna University (Canary Islands, Spain) in 2003 about the topic of Solar Physics, but over time I have migrated to other topics: Solar System and Observational Cosmology.

I was hired by the Agrupació Astronòmica de Sabadell as the observatory’s manager from March 2000 to June 2008. In June 2008 I was recruited by Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC) to work in Institut de Ciències de l’Espai (ICE, CSIC).

Nowadays I still work there, where I am involved in different projects about Observational Cosmology: Dark Energy Survey (DES), Physics of the Accelerated Universe (PAU), Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and the spacecraft of ESA Euclid, which will be launched in 2022.

I was involved in the instrumental development of three projects: PAU, DESI and Euclid. In the first one, PAU, I worked in Optics and CCD, designing the focal plane of PAUCam and characterizing CCD and filters. In DESI I characterize the CCD of the ten GFA (Guiding, Focus & Alignment) units and two spares, and the metrology of different components. At last, in Euclid I was involved in the design of the filter wheel for the infrared filters and the assembly. I do the theoretical simulations before the first model to foresee the effects of the assembly and the effect of the operational temperature (140K). Finally I do the optical tests at room and operational temperature and the metrology of the filter wheel to determine the parallelism between the filters faces vector and the filter wheel axis.

From science view, I am involved in these four projects. In PAU I have observed since 2015 in William Herschel telescope in the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain) and in the analysis of the survey. In DES I observed in Blanco telescope in Cerro Tololo Observatory (Chile) with DECam and in the characterization of supernovae discovered with DECam and observed spectroscopically with Gran Telescopio de Canarias (Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain). In DESI, I observed in Mayall telescope in Kit Peak Observatory (Arizona, USA) in Mayall z-band Legacy Survey. In Euclid I am involved in some observing runs in VLT in ESO La Silla Observatory (Chile) using the spectroscopy instrument FORS2 for calibration in the Euclid mission.

I am member of the Spanish Astronomical Society since 2003, and member of the European Astronomical Society since January 2021.