ferrer photo

Francesc Ferrer

Associate Professor

Office Contact Information

368 Compton

Physics Department, CB 1105
Washington University
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA

(314) 935-7982
(314) 935-6219

Research Interests

Dr. Ferrer is working in the field of Theoretical Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. He studies the composition and evolution of the universe and the implications for cosmology of models of particle physics beyond the Standard Model of the strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions. He focuses on the observable consequences of particle physics candidates for the dark matter composing galactic halos. He also studies the nature of the other main contributor to the energy budget of the universe, dark energy, in modifications to Einstein's theory of gravity such as string gas cosmology.

On the other hand, a wide variety of elementary particle physics models predict the presence of topological defects that would have formed during phase transitions in the early universe. Dr. Ferrer is interested in these nontrivial field configurations both from the point of view of theoretical quantum field theory and for the potential role that they could play in cosmology and astrophysics. For instance, a network of superconducting cosmic strings in the Milky Way plasma could be at the origin of the 511 keV line emission from the galactic center mapped by the INTEGRAL satellite. Also, the cosmic magnetic fields could have been created by non-perturbative processes in several stages of the evolution of the universe.

Dr. Ferrer also studies the origin of the cosmic rays with energies exceeding the threshold for photomeson production on the cosmic microwave background, and has been a collaborator of the Pierre Auger Observatory (http://www.auger.org). He searches for signatures in the energy and angular distribution of the events, that can help in determining the sources for the highest energy cosmic rays.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Detecting chameleon dark energy via electrostatic analogy, Katherine Jones-Smith and Francesc Ferrer, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 221101 (2012).
  • Degree scale anomalies in the CMB: localizing the first peak dip to a small patch of the north ecliptic sky, Amanda Yoho, Francesc Ferrer and Glenn Starkman, Phys. Rev. D83, 083525 (2011).
  • Dark matter in natural supersymmetric extensions of the Standard Model, Francesc Ferrer and Christopher Spitzer, Phys.Rev. D82, 043532 (2010).
  • Fitting oscillating string gas cosmology to supernova data, Francesc Ferrer, Tuomas Multamaki and Syksy Rasanen, Journal of High Energy Physics, 0904 (2009) 006.
  • Helical Magnetic Fields from Sphaleron Decay and Baryogenesis, Craig J. Copi, Francesc Ferrer, Tanmay Vachaspati and Ana Achucarro, Phys.Rev.Lett. 101, 171302 (2008).

Francesc Ferrer's Complete Publications List


2003 Ph.D., Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Physics
1996 Bs. Sc., Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Physics


Professional History

2008-present Assistant Professor at Washington University
2005-2008 Postdoctoral Scholar at Case Western Reserve University
2001-2004 Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford


Honors and Awards

2001-2003 Marie Curie Fellowship of the European Comission
1999 Jordi Porta i Jué Award of the Catalan Physics Society