Roland Vavrek


Main Research Fields

I joined ESA in 2004 from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg and moved to ESAC in 2005. As a member of Herschel Science Centre my current position involves working with one of the science instruments, I am instrument and calibration scientist for PACS.

My main scientific interest in the past decade has been the study of the structure of diffuse interstellar material in the Galaxy and the relation between the primordial gas distribution and star formation activity in molecular clouds.

In the past years I developed a multi-scale image analysis method based on wavelet decomposition (Wavelet Transform Modulus Maxima, WTMM) of astronomical data. Image analysis in general is the extraction of characteristic information from images. The proposed technique allows the detection and parameterization of varieties of structural features in complex images such as large scale maps of interstellar molecular clouds. Currently, this application is used as a hypothesis testing tool to find optimized parameters for magnetohydrodynamical simulations of star forming molecular clouds. The aim to use multi-scale approach is a natural consequence of the underlying physical process of interstellar cloud formation. In these clouds the turbulent gas dynamics produces hierarchical structures in the density and velocity fields what can be best characterized with multi-scale measures. Further advantage of a WTMM based method for complexity characterisation is its robustness against stochastic variations in the data and its ability to assimilate several images of different size and resolution.