Massimiliano Rinaldi

Professore associato

Dipartimento di Fisica

Via Sommarive, 14 - 38123 Povo
tel. 0461 281577
massimiliano.rinaldi[at]unitn [dot] it


2003   Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics, University College Dublin, Ireland. 

1999   M.Sc. in Physics, University of Bologna.

Carriera accademica ed attività didattica

Posizione attuale

Ricercatore (RTDB), Department of Physics

Associato al "Trento Institute for Fundamental Physics" (TIFPA) of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN).

Altri incarichi

2018 Membro eletto della Giunta di Dipartimento

2017 Membro Collegio Docenti

Qualifiche professionali

2018             Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, "Professore Ordinario", settore 02/A2

2018             Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, "Professore Associato", settore 02/C1

2015             Abilitazione francese "Professeurs des Universités" (equiv. to Prof Ordinario), Séction 34 (Astrophysique) 

2015             Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale, "Professore Associato", settore 02/A2.

2000             Abilitazione all'insegnamento della fisica nella scuola superiore 

Posizioni precedenti

2014 - 2016  Postdoctoral researcher (Assegnista), University of Trento.

2012 - 2013  Postdoctoral researcher, University of Namur, Belgium.

2011 - 2011  High school teacher and researcher associated to INFN, Italy.

2008 - 2010  Postdoctoral researcher, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

2006 - 2007  Postdoctoral researcher, University of Bologna, Italy.

2003 - 2006  Temporary Lecturer, University College Dublin, Ireland.

1999 - 2003  Ph.D. student, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Soggiorni brevi

02 Jun 2018 - 16 Jun 2018: Visitor McMaster U. & Perimeter Institute, Ontario. 

01 May 2008 - 31 Jul 2008: Visitor, University of Valencia, Spain.

April 2008 : Invited visitor at Perimeter Institute (2 weeks), Canada.

01 Feb 2008 - 30 Apr 2008: Invited visitor, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

01 Dec 2007 - 31 Dec 2007: Visitor, University of Maryland Prof. T. Jacobson group), USA. 



2017 -            Lecturer of the MSc course "General Relativity and Cosmology", University of Trento (6 credits)

2017 -            Lecturer of the BSc course "Mathematical methods for physics", University of Trento (6 credits)

2013 - 2016    Assistant (esercitatore) for the course "General Physics I" (3 yrs), Department of Engineering and Mathematics, University of Trento

2012-2014      Lecturer for the undergraduate course “Compléments de mathématiques” (2 yrs), University of Namur.

2008 - 2010    Assistant for the course “Champs et Particules” (2 yrs), held by Prof. M. Maggiore at the University of Geneva.

2003 - 2006    Full-time lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Dublin. Taught courses (3 yrs):

                    • Quantum Field Theory (MSc) 

                    • Differential Geometry (BSc 4th yr)

                    • Quantum Mechanics (BSc 3rd yr)

                    • Dynamical Systems and Chaos (BSc 3rd yr)

1999 - 2003   Tutor for various undergraduate Engineering and Science courses, University College Dublin.


Supervisione di studenti

2017-2020 PhD Advisor of A. Casalino, (U. of Trento).

2017-2020 Co-PhD Advisor of L. Giacomelli, (U. of Trento).

2017 MSc Thesis Supervisor: “The role of Yang-Mills fields in Higgs inflation”, by L. Boco, (U. of Trento).

2017 MSc Thesis Supervisor: “Cosmological perturbation in Horndeski gravity: a case study” by A. Casalino (U. of Trento).

2017 MSc Thesis Supervisor: “Electromagnetic Generation of Standing Gravitational Waves” by M. Quaglia (U. of Trento).

2017 MSc Thesis Supervisor: “Rotating acoustic black holes in relativistic analogue gravity” by L. Giacomelli (U. of Trento).

2012-16 Member of the “Comit ́e d’accompagnement” of the Phd Student S. Schloegel, U. of Namur.

2016 MSc Thesis Co-Supervisor: “Scale invariance symmetry breaking with applications in Inflation and Reheating” by G. Tambalo (U. of Trento).

2013 MSc Thesis Co-Supervisor: “Trous noirs et gravitation analogue: ́etude du rayon- nement de Hawking” by F. Postic (U. of Namur).

2009 MSc Thesis Co-Supervisor: “Perturbations and particle creation in non-commutative inflation” by H. Perrier (U. of Geneva).

2004 MSc Thesis Supervisor: “Energy Conditions of a Self Dual Solution of the String Cosmology”, by S. Laffoy (UC Dublin).


Interessi di ricerca

Modified Gravity

The goal of modified gravity is to explain the current accelerated expansion of the Universe and its initial inflationary phase. In order to do so, the Einstein theory of general relativity is implemented with fundamental fields. One possibility is that this field is nothing but the Higgs boson and this idea turns out to yield a phenomenologically viable theory of inflation. Currently, I am trying to show that this very same model might produce also dark energy, namely the source of the current acceleration of the Universe. Theories of modified gravity will be put at test in 2020 when the Euclid mission will be launched. I am a member of the Euclid Theory Working Group and within this collaboration I am working on modeling viable theories of dark energy.

Analog Models of Gravity

There is a surprising analogy between photons traveling on curved space and phonons (quantized sound excitations) traveling in a perfect fluid, like a Bose-Einstein condensate. In particular, it is possible, at least in principle, to create "sound horizons" that surround regions where phonons cannot escape. Theoretical predictions show that these sound horizons should emit a thermal spectrum of phonons, exactly like an astrophysical black hole horizon emit particles in the form of the famous Hawking radiation. This is just one of the many effects that could be observed in a BEC and that are analogous to effects arising from the physics of quantum fields on curved spacetme. Since the latter are very difficult to observe, the analogy could open the way to interesting insights since experiments seem to be at hand.

Quantum Gravity

The quantization of the gravitational interactions is a very old problem. All the known quantization schemes fail when applied to gravity, mainly because the theory as it is appears to be non-renormlizable. There are however approaches that can reveal some useful information like the semiclassical one. In this method, fields are quantized on a classical curved geometry and also renormalized with particular techiniques. Another approach is to assume that quantum fields do not commute at very high energy / short distances so that ultraviolet divergences are removed by construction.

Attività di ricerca

Lista pubblicazioni aggiornata:

Appartenenza a società e comitati scientifici

Dal 2018: Gruppo Nazionale di Fisica Matematica - INdAM

Dal 2010: Euclid Theory Working Group 

Premi e riconoscimenti

2017    Fondo di Finanziamento per la Ricerca di Base (FFARB)

2008    January 8, “Marco Polo Grant” obtained from the University of Bologna, to support three months as visitor in the Physics Department, University of Valencia.

2007    October 1, “G. Puppi - WSF Award for New Talents - 2007”, motivated by “his original study on modified dispersion relations and trans-Planckian physics.”

2007    September 5, 45th International School of Subnuclear Physics, Erice, Italy, “New Tal- ent Award” for the presentation on “Modified dispersion relations and trans-Planckian physics.”

2001    Studentship to support doctoral studies abroad, obtained by open competition, from the University of Bologna.

1999    Three-years doctoral studentship awarded by Enterprise Ireland.

1995    One semester spent at the University College Dublin, supported by an Erasmus stu- dentship obtained by open competition.

Convegni e conferenze

2018 “Scale invariant gravity, black holes and inflation”, plenary speaker, Modern aspects of gravity and cosmology, October 2-4, 2018, Orsay, France.

2018 "Scale invariant gravity'', plenary speaker, SIGRAV2018, S. Margherita di Pula, Cagliari, September 9-15, Italy.

2017 “Scale invariant inflation”, Modified Gravity Day, University of Padova, June 16, Italy.

2016 “The Einstein-Higgs-Yang-Mills equations as a solution to the Dark Energy problem”, A Century of General Relativity. In the era of Gravitational Wave, September 12-18, Cefalu`, Italy.

2015 “Dark energy as a fixed point of the Einstein Yang-Mills Higgs equations”, 28th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics, December 13-18, Geneva, Switzerland.

2015 “Quasi Scale-Invariant Inflationary Attractors”, 14th Marcel Grossmann Meeting, July 12-18, 2015, Rome, Italy.

2015 “Higgs Dark energy”, Euclid Theory and Simulations Working Group Meeting, Jan- uary 12-13, 2015, Oslo, Norway.

2014 “Inflation from scale-invariant gravity”, XXI SIGRAV Conference, U. of Piemonte Orientale, September 15-19, Alessandria, Italy.

2014 “Higgs met Einstein”, First Flag Meeting “The Quantum and Gravity”, May 28-30, Bologna, Italy.

2014 “The Dark Aftermath of Higgs inflation”, Euclid Consortium Meeting, May 5-9, Mar- seille, France.

2014 “Higgs met Einstein”, Workshop on “Problemi Attuali di Fisica Teorica” , April 11-16, Vietri, Italy.

2013 “Higgs Monopoles”, 2nd Mediterranean Conference on Classical and Quantum Gravity (2nd MCCQG)”, June 9-15, Veli Losinj, Croatia.

2012 “Higgs Inflation”, mini-workshop “Higgs search in Belgium”, November 22, CP3 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

2012 “Black Holes in the Lab”, Annual Meeting of the FNRS Graduate School “COM- PLEX”, May 25, ULB, Bruxelles, Belgium.

2012 “Cosmology at the Louvain Academy”, Euclid Science Working Groups Meeting, May 16, Copenhagen, Denmark.

2009 “Living in a rough (space)time”, JLAC13, November 24, Gen`eve, Switzerland.

2007 “QFT on curved space-time with modified dispersion relations”, Ist Workshop on Black Holes and Modified Gravity, Department of Theoretical Physics/IFIC, Decem- ber 17-21, Universitat de Valencia, Spain.

2007 “Modified Dispersion Relations and Transplanckian Physics”, 45th International School of Subnuclear Physics, Aug 29 - Sep 7 , Erice, Italy.

2006 “Self-T-dual Brane Cosmology”, 11th Marcel Grossmann Meeting, July 23 - 29, Berlin, Germany.

Altre attività

Professional consulting

Editor of the journal "The European Physics Journal Plus"

Referee for Classical and Quantum Gravity, General Relativity and Gravitation, Jour- nal of Modern Physics A, Nuovo Cimento, International Journal of Modern Physics D, Physical Review D, European Physics Letters, Physics Letters B, European Physics Journal Plus.

Consultant for the Estonian Research Council

Consultant for the Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering at the Academy of Finland.


Event management

2017      Secretary of the Local Organization Committee for the “103◦ Congresso della Societ`a Italiana di Fisica”, 11-16 September 2017 Trento, Italy. 

2016      Local organiser of the international workshop “II FLAG Meeting: The quantum and gravity”, 6-8 June 2016, Trento Italy


Public outreach

2018   Popular seminar “Un secolo di relatività”, Liceo Prati, Trento.

2018   High-school level seminar “Un secolo di relatività”, Istituto Fermi, Mantova, Italy.

2017   Popular seminar “Einstein, buchi neri e onde gravitazionali”, Università della Libera Età, Novellara, Italy.

2017   Popular seminar “Da Einstein alle onde gravitazionali”, Associazione Culturale Ap- penappena, Carpi, Italy. 

2012   Demonstrator for the science exhibition “L’Univers: face A / face B” held in Namur.

2010   Demonstrator for the science exhibition “Fête de la Science” held in Geneva.

2010   Demonstrator for the PhysiScope, a pedagogical laboratory for physics designed for kids and teenagers at the University of Geneva.