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Vasiliki Karanasou
University of Tartu

What is your name, affiliation, academic position, and job title?
My name is Vaso and I am a PhD student in Theoretical Physics at the University of Tartu.

What is your journey?
I grew up in a small village in Greece but after high school I moved to Thessaloniki where I started my Bachelor’s in Physics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. After my graduation, I moved in Sweden where I continued with Master studies in Theoretical Physics at Uppsala University. I started my PhD at University of Tartu in 2022.

What is your field of research and/or what project are you involved in?
My PhD project is about exotic compact objects (ECOs) in teleparallel theories of gravity.

What are your research plans?
One aspect of my PhD project is to find spherical solutions in modified teleparallel gravity theories and identify which of them correspond to ECOs. I am also interested in investigating if we could find ECOs in teleparallel gravity without assuming exotic matter that is, matter that does not satisfy the energy conditions as it happens in General Relativity. An other aspect of my research is finding quasinormal modes in teleparallel gravity by studying linear perturbations of the background solutions. Quasinormal modes correspond to a discrete spectrum of frequencies which depend only on the source of the gravitational waves. This way, we will be able to test if a gravitational theory can be reduced to the general relativistic limit but also to distinguish between black holes and ECOs.

How does CosmoVerse fit within those plans?
CosmoVerse funded my STSM at ZARM, University of Bremen. The main purpose of my visit was the collaboration with an other researcher on the topic of quasinormal modes in teleparallel gravity. I also attended the CosmoVerse conference in Lisbon where I had the opportunity to meet other scientists with similar research interests, become familiar with new research ideas and present my work.

What are the most exciting open questions in your research area?
Which is the correct theory of gravity? How could we unify gravity with quantum mechanics?

What advances or new results are you excited about or looking forward to?
I expect that future observational data will help us reduce the large number of possible gravitational theories, they will provide more information about black holes and insights about the existence of ECOs.

What is your view on cosmic tensions? How does your work connect with this open question in the community?
There are several ideas on how to approach cosmic tensions. In theoretical physics, we address these issues by modifying the theory of gravity. In particular, teleparallel gravity is able to resolve the H0 and S8 cosmological tensions but also to explain the accelerated expansion of the universe without assuming dark energy.

What role do you think a community network like CosmoVerse can play in developing theoretical astroparticle physics and cosmology?
CosmoVerse brings together researchers from different areas who try to solve the same problems from a different perspective or by using different approaches. It provides space for collaborations and exchange of new ideas and knowledge.

What non-physics interests do you have and want to share?
Bouldering, hiking, photography, drawing, music.

If you were not a scientist, what do you think you would be doing?
I would be an artist.

In your view, what’s the most important challenge that humanity faces currently?
Fighting poverty, achieving peace and equality for women, LGBTQI, black people, and minorities.