After obtaining his PhD at SISSA and a postdoc at the Ohio State University, he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics as an Alexander von Hulmboldt Fellow, and then to the Observatoire de Paris as a Marie Curie Fellow. He then joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2013.
Professor Shankar is PI of a H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (https://www.bid4best.org/), fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, fellow of the Higher Education Academy, fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and PI of a large-scale project in medical science aimed at optimising blood pressure measurements strategies. Professor Shankar also sits on diverse scientific Advisory Board Panels worldwide and is leading a massive outreach/public engagement project named Astera (Astera - A Cosmological Visualizer (soton.ac.uk)), an interactive, fully immersive 3D realization of the Universe.
- Super-massive Black Hole Demography and Evolution
- Galaxy Evolution: Spheroids and Bulges, Environment, High-redshift galaxies
- Radio and Broad Absorption Line Active Galactic Nuclei
- Galaxy Clustering
Professor Shankar's research revolves around the theoretical modelling of galaxies, their central supermassive black holes, and their host dark matter haloes. He pioneered in the phenomenological modelling of galaxies and black holes based on a combination of abundance matching and continuity equation techniques. He has now started a group in extra-galactic astronomy aimed at specifically constraining the evolutionary channels of early-type, bulged galaxies and supermassive black holes via advanced semi-empirical models. The latter are characterized by a “bottom-up” approach: The least possible assumptions and associated parameters are initially included in the models which are otherwise informed by a number of independent observations. Additional degrees of complexities can be gradually included wherever needed. Semi-empirical models in this respect are a very powerful complementary tool to cosmological hydrodynamic simulations and semi-analytic models. The team is part of Euclid, Athena, and LSST. The increasing quantity of future data in extra-galactic Astronomy will have to be paralleled by fast modelling. The extreme flexibility and accuracy make semi-empirical models ideal tools to create full test catalogues for fast predictions and comparisons to data. Professor Shankar's research interests also lie in other areas of physics. He acted as guest editor for a review on keV sterile neutrinos and joined as co-I massive grant proposals that focus on the detection of dark matter particles via quantum sensors.
Current PhD Students
Professor Shankar is currently the module leader of Cosmology. In previous years he was teaching Introduction to Astronomy, Galaxies and Photons in Astrophysics.
After obtaining his PhD at SISSA and a postdoc at the Ohio State University, Prof Shankar moved to the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics as an Alexander von Hulmboldt Fellow, and then to the Observatoire de Paris as a Marie Curie Fellow. He then joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2013.
Based on his citation metrics, prof Shankar has been classified among the top 1.5% across 7 million scientists in 22 distinct disciplines by Ioannidis et al. (2019; latest metrics), and ranked in the top scientists in Italy for impact of publications Top Italian Scientists.
Several of prof Shankar’s past PhDs/Postdocs have secured high-level positions in academia or industry. Strongly supported by the analytic and numerical skills they have acquired during their research projects under his supervision, many of his BSc/Master students have promptly secured jobs in different companies (e.g., Ayima, Qinetiq, Mercedes Benz).
Member Euclid/LSST/SKA/Athena-AGN/Galaxies; Scientific Advisory Board Polish, Swiss NSF, Chilean CONICYT, Italian MIUR, CFHT and GMRT telescopes; Editor for the Universe; Reviewer for Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Astrophysical Journal.
Pietro Tacchini Prize for one of the best Italian PhD theses of that year.
Awarded some of the most prestigious fellowships in the EU-UK: The Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship in the UK, the Max-Planck-SHAO Fellowship and the Humboldt Fellowship in Germany, the Marie Curie Fellowship in France, the ASTROFIT-Marie Curie Fellowship in Italy (top classified in that year), the Ramon y Cayal Fellowship in Spain (2nd ranked in space science in that year).
Qualification pour Maitre de Conférence.
Dean’s Award for best module in 2019.
Virtual Learning Environment Awards in 2019 and 2022 for best learning resource.