Jean-Paul Breuer

I am an astrophysicist and an engineer, currently a Ph.D. candidate in the High Energy Astrophysics group at Masaryk University. I work mainly on merging galaxy clusters and the hot intracluster medium, with an interest in understanding these hot atmospheres using multiwavelength observations.


Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the Universe, so not only does our research sit in the realm of observational cosmology and large scale structure formation, but it also lies as the intersect between theory, observation, and simulation. These objects can span several millions of light years across, and have temperatures in the millions of Kelvin despite having an extremely low particle density. My research in particular is focused on merging galaxy clusters and how the substructures formed during merging events can constrain the microphysics (conduction, diffusion, viscosity, etc.) of the intracluster medium (ICM). Galaxy cluster mergers are the most energetic events after the Big Bang. All this energy is released in the form of turbulence and shocks, which propagate through the ICM, dissociating the dark matter from the rest of the baryonic gas, and which often create some impressive radio signatures. Each of these different substructures give specific clues about the rich history of the cluster, and with the help of numerical simulations and multiwavelength data (X-ray, radio, Sunyaev Zeldovich, etc.), we are sometimes able to paint a convincing story about how it all came together.

Besides extragalactic astrophysics, I have also done some work in our local neighborhood. I've worked with the Heliophysics and Space Weather group at NASA Goddard, studied the effects of the solar wind on our radiation belts and the geomagnetic field with machine learning, modelled the bowshock using in-situ data, graviational lensing of the cosmic microwave background, many other projects. I am currently also working on some engineering work, where I am characterising the surface roughness of the magnetic diverter for the ESA Athena mission, to simulate the soft proton particle scattering background using Geant4. This is part of a second project I am working on which involves understanding the flaring, soft proton contamination, and instrument particle backgrounds on current X-ray observatories.

Before working in the space sector I worked in other scientific fields. My first contribution was doing field work in the Amazon rainforest. One project involved the modeling of biodiversity in extreme, black water swamps in central Amazonia, where I was responsible for collecting and identifying plants in these remote swamps for the local herbarium. Another project was a concervation project aiming to model the spread of disease both from cities into the jungle and vice versa, where we caught and sampled vectors of disease (bats, rats, marsupials, and primates). In the meantime I also collected many rare entomological specimens which I donated to the collection at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA). Besides that, I've also worked on two geophysics projects using magnetometers on research vessels in both the North Sea and in the Skagerrak region.

I still very much keep my entomology passion alive at home today. You can find more about my personal life here


I earned my B.Sc. in Earth and Space Sciences in 2015 specializing in Geophysics from Jacobs University Bremen (previously International University Bremen) followed by a MSc. Eng. in Earth and Space Physics and Engineering specializing in Astrophysics, Space Research, and Data Processing in Astrophysics from the Technical University of Denmark.

I am currently a third year Ph.D. candidate at Masaryk University working with Dr. Norbert Werner.

Click the Icon below for a CV (Updated Feb 2021).

Publications and Contributions

The mergers in Abell 2256: displaced gas and its connection to the radio-emitting plasma -- PDF -- Supplement
Breuer, J. P.; Werner, N.; Mernier, F.; Mroczkowski, T.; Simionescu, A.; Clarke, T. E.; ZuHone, J. A.; Di Mascolo, L.

Space Radiation and Plasma Effects on Satellites and Aviation: Quantities and Metrics for Tracking Performance of Space Weather Environment Models -- Article (image credit)
Zheng, Y.; Ganushkina, N. Y.; Jiggens, P.; Jun, I.; Meier, M. M.; Minow, J. I.; O'Brien T. P.; Pitchford, D.; Shprits, Y. Y.; Tobiska, W. K.; Xapsos, M. A.; Guild, T. B.; Mazur, J. E.; Kunetsova, M. M.

Research Grants

Studentship at European Southern Observatory - Worked on developing a Bayesian joint forward modelling method for combining X-ray spatially resolved spectroscopic data and Sunyaev Zeldovich observations of galaxy clusters.
Internal Grant Agency of Masaryk University - Working on some particle simulation work for the magnetic diverter instrument in the upcoming Athena mission. The goal is to better understand the particle scattering, ionizing interactions, and related secondary background contribution.

Observation Experience

Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) mm/sub-mm observation experience in Chile for two weeks.
IRAM 30 meter telescope mm/sub-mm observation experience in Spain for one week.

Contact Me

Jean-Paul Breuer

Department of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics

Kotlářská 2, 602 00, Brno

Czech Republic

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