©2016 - Image by Gaia Borrello

Barbara De Marco

Assistant Professor

Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center
of the Polish Academy of Sciences
CAMK webpage

Bartycka 18
PL 00-716 Warszawa

Room: 132
Tel: +48 223 296 157
email: bdemarco@camk.edu.pl

My Research Activity

My main interest is investigating the behaviour of matter in the close environments of astrophysical black holes (BH). My research includes the study of active galactic nuclei (AGN), BH X-ray binaries (BHXRB), and ultra luminous X-ray sources (ULX).
One of the main properties of accreting BH systems is the extreme variability of their emitted X-ray radiation. Such variability is a fundamental tool to study the matter in close orbit around the BH.
I am among those who pioneered the use of X-ray timing techniques to study the echo of the accreting gas in response to variations of the illuminating X-ray radiation. This novel approach, known as "X-ray reverberation mapping" currently represents the most powerful method to constrain the geometry of the innermost environments of accreting BH systems.

Some of the main questions my research aims to address are:

  • What is the role played by variations of accretion flow geometry in determining the observed phenomenology of BHXRB?

  • Are the different classes of AGN the large-scale counterpart of BHXRB as observed in different accretion states?

From February 2017 till January 2019 my research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 665778 via the Polish National Science Center (NCN) grant Polonez (UMO-2016/21/P/ST9/04025). From February 2019 till August 2020 my research has been focused on the "BHmapping" project, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 798726.

Selected Publications

All Publications

2009 - PhD in Astrophysics - Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA-Trieste)
2005 - Master's degree in Astronomy - Universita' degli Studi di Bologna


Professor at Departament de Fisica, EEBE, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC-EEBE), Barcelona

Assistant professor at Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center PAN (CAMK), Warsaw

Post-doctoral Researcher at Max-Planck Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), Garching bei München

Post-doctoral Researcher at Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA), Madrid

Post-doctoral Researcher at Università degli Studi di Bologna Dipartimento di Astronomia, INAF/IASF Bologna


2018 - Ramón y Cajal Fellowship
2018 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (H2020-MSCA-IF-2017)
2017 - AHEAD (Integrated Activities for High Energy Astrophysics) research visiting grant
2017 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence
2016 - Polonez research grant, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions COFUND via Polish NCN
2016 - AstroFIt2 research fellowship, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions COFUND via Italian INAF
2008 - ESA Education Office sponsorship to attend the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Congress 2008 in Montreal, Canada


Since 2017 - Enhanced X-ray Timing and Polarimetry mission (eXTP), working group "Strong Field Gravity" (WG2)

Since 2013 - Athena X-ray Observatory Science Study Team ASST, working group "The close environments of supermassive black holes" (SWG 2.4)

Since 2013 - Athena X-ray Observatory Science Study Team ASST, working group "Advanced analysis tools" (MWG 5.5)


2017 - SOC member of the conference "The Power of X-ray Spectroscopy" and chair of the session "AGN nature and their winds", Warsaw, Poland
2016 - SOC member of the conference "Shining from the heart of darkness: black hole accretion and jets" and chair of the "Galactic BH binaries" session, Kathmandu, Nepal
2016 - SOC member of the workshop "8th FERO meeting", Vinice Hnanice, Czech Republic
2016 - SOC member of the Lorentz Center workshop "Getting Close to Black Holes and Neutron Stars: The X-ray spectral-timing revolution" and chair of the "Accretion and Ejection" study group, Leiden, The Netherlands
2013 - SOC member of the ESA workshop "Spectral/timing properties of accreting objects: from X-ray binaries to AGN”, Madrid, Spain
Invited Seminars (selection)
  • August 2018 - Reverberation in X-ray binaries (Review)
    workshop "Time for accretion", Sigtuna, Sweden

  • July 2018 - X-ray Reverberation in Accreting Black Hole Systems (Review)
    COSPAR 2018, Scientific event E1.6 "Spectral Meets Timing: A Global Approach To Accretion Onto Compact Objects", Pasadena (CA), USA

  • June 2018 - An X-ray spectral-timing (re)view of the inner flow around accreting black holes (Review)
    ESA workshop "Time-Domain Astronomy: A High Energy View", Madrid, Spain

  • May 2018 - Viewing accretion through X-ray variability (Review)
    workshop 'The radio and X-ray connection in accreting objects’, Monopoli, Italy

  • September 2017 - Probing BH accretion through X-ray timing (Review)
    workshop "From quiescence to outburst: when microquasars go wild!", Ile de Porquerolles, France

  • September 2017 - X-ray reverberation studies in low mass XRBs
    workshop "La Gomera Accretion week 2017", La Gomera, Spain

  • August 2017 - Observations of X-ray reverberation around accreting black holes (Review)
    16th High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) meeting, Sun Valley (ID), USA

  • June 2017 - Unveiling the disc accretion flow via X-ray timing
    conference European Week of Astronomy and Space Science EWASS 2017, S12 "Accreting Black holes at their extremes", Praque, Czech Republic

  • October 2016 - X-ray reverberation in accreting black hole systems (Review)
    conference "Shining from the heart of darkness: black hole accretion and jets", Kathmandu, Nepal

  • June 2016 - Variability-selected AGN (Review)
    ESO conference "Active Galactic Nuclei: what's in a name?", Garching bei München, Germany

  • April 2013 - Spectral/timing properties of Active Galactic Nuclei (Review)
    ESA workshop "Spectral timing properties of accreting objects: from X-ray binaries to AGN", Madrid, Spain