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Curriculum Vitae:

Graca Rocha

Dr. Graca Rocha is a Staff Scientist at JPL and Associate Academic Visitor at Caltech. Her area of expertise is Cosmology, more specifically constraining models of structure formation and fundamental physics with the study of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, CMB.

As a PhD student at Cambridge University, UK, she pioneered the use of CMB data to determine cosmological parameters, now one of the most important areas in Cosmology.  Later on she pioneered the use of CMB data to constrain fundamental physics by means of constraining temporal variations in the fundamental constants of nature. She played an important role on several CMB experiments: Tenerife, Python, CAT, VSA, BICEP and Planck.

She is a Planck Scientist, Coordinator of three Planck core areas and Co-author of several innovative mathematical and statistical frameworks for CMB data analysis. In addition, she was the spokesperson for the Planck team at the Planck Plenary Session at ESLAB, Netherlands in 2013.

She is currently very active in pursuing the preparatory studies for next CMB polarization experiments such as CMB-S4 and of a potential CMB Space mission, PICO. In addition, she is pursuing research in the area concerned with detection and characterization of Exoplanets in spectroscopic data, direct imaging data, and with radial velocity technique.

In 2018 Graca Rocha and the Planck team were awarded the prestigious Gruber Prize in Cosmology.

She has a total of 235 peer-reviewed publications with 33263 citations (h-index 80). (Source: The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System).

  • Licenciatura in Mathematics (Pure Mathematics), University of Porto (1987)
  • Licenciatura in Physics and Applied Mathematics, Astronomy, University of Porto (1991)
  • M.Sc. in Astrophysics, QMW College, University of London (1992)
  • PhD. in Cosmology, Cavendish Astrohysics Group, University of Cambridge (1997)
  • Invited Lecturer, University of Porto (1998)

Research Interests
  • Physical Cosmology
  • Cosmic Background Radiation
  • Large-Scale Structure of the Universe
  • Galaxy Formation
  • Gravitational Lenses
  • Non Gaussianity
  • Topology of the Universe
  • Teories with varying fundamental constants
  • Computational Astrostatistics
  • Structure of, and Science Extraction from Large Astronomical Data Repositories


Planck Icon Planck
Planck is the first European mission to study the birth of the Universe. Planck was launched on May 14, 2009.

BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) is an experiment designed to measure the polarization of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) to unprecedented precision.

Galactic Emission Mapping Project (GEMP) is a project located in Portugal aimed at mapping the polarised galactic emission at 5GHz and 10GHz.

Professional Experience
  • Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG)  Executive Committee (EC) Vice-chair (2017-2020)
  • Inflation Probe Science Interest Group (IPSIG) Co-chair (2017-2020)
  • Cosmic Structure Science Interest Group (COSSIG) Co-chair (2017-2020)
  • Staff Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, JPL, and Visitor at Caltech, Physics Department, Observational Cosmology group (2009-present)
  • Member of the peer review committee of NASA proposals submitted in response to the MUREP Institutional Research Opportunity (MIRO), formerly University Research Centers
  • Member of the peer review committee of the Discovery Grants' Physics Evaluation Group at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Staff Scientist at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, IPAC, in the California Institute of Technology, Caltech (2006-2009)
  • Postdoctoral Scholar in Physics at the Observational Cosmology Group, in the California Institute of Technology, Caltech, (2005).
  • Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cavendish Astrophysics Group, University of Cambridge (2000-2005)
  • Research Associate at the Center for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) (2001 - present)
  • Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford (2000 - present)
  • Invited Lecturer, University of Porto (1998)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) (1998 - 2000)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physics, Kansas State University (1997 -1998)

Selected Awards

Honor Awards

  • Marcel Grossman Institutional Award to the Planck Scientific Collboration
  • 2018 Gruber Prize in Cosmology awarded to the Planck team and its Principal Investigators Nazzareno Mandolesi and Jean-Loup Puget
  • Royal Astronomical Society's 2018 Group Achievement Award to Planck mission

NASA Honor Awards

  • Exceptional Achievement Medal (2014)
  • Herschel & Planck Projects Teams - Group Achievement Award, Herschel & Planck Projects (2011)
  • Planck Data Analysis and Operations Support Team - Group Achievement Award, Planck Data Analysis and Operations Support Team, Successful Achievement of Planck Minimum Mission (2011)
  • Early Release Compact Source Catalogue Team - Group Achievement Award, Successful Early Delivery to the European Processing Centers of the Plack Early Release Compact Source Catalogue (2011)
  • Planck Data Analysis Team - Group Achievement Award (2009)
  • Planck Data Analysis Pipeline Development Team - Group Achievement Award (2009)
  • BICEP Experiment Team - Group Achievement Award (2009)

JPL Awards

  • Mariner Award - Bonus Award for leading a team to calculate cosmological parameters from the CMB with different foreground removal methods, demonstrating robustness of estimates (2013)
  • Mariner Award - Bonus Award for essential contributions to the Planck data analysis environment (2012)
  • Planck Effective Beamshape Team - Team Bonus Award for the Development and Implementation of Software to Calculate the Effective Beamshape of the Planck Feeds for Early Release Compact Source Catalog (2011)
  • Planck Data Analysis Team - Team Bonus Award for the development and verification of Planck data analysis tools to enable cross correlation checks of data from different sky surveys for both LFI and HFI (2011)

Selected Publications
  1. 'Markov Chain Beam Randomization: a study of the impact of PLANCK beam measurement errors on cosmological parameter estimation', G. Rocha, L. Pagano, K.M. G´orski, K.M. Huffenberger, C.R. Lawrence, A.E. Lange, submitted to A & A, 2009.
  2. 'Lensing reconstruction from PLANCK sky maps: inhomogeneous noise', Duncan Hanson, Graça Rocha & Krsysztof M. G´orski, accepted for publication in MNRAS 2009. (astro-ph9071927)
  3. 'Characterization of the BICEP Telescope for High-Precision Cosmic Microwave Background Polarimetry', Takahashi, Y. D. et al., submitted to ApJ. , 2009. arXiv0906.4069T, 2009.
  4. 'Measurement of CMB Polarization Power Spectra from Two Years of BICEP Data', Chiang, H. C., et al., submitted to ApJ. , 2009. arXiv0906.1181C, 2009.
  5. 'Residual noise covariance for Planck low-resolution data analysis', Keskitalo, R. et al., submitted to A & A, 2009. arXiv0906.0175K , 2009.
  6. 'Making Maps from Planck LFI 30GHz data with Asymmetric Beams and Cooler Noise', Ashdown, M.A.J., et al, A & A 493, 753A, 2009. (astro-ph8063167)
  7. 'A fast Bayesian approach to discrete object detection in astronomical datasets - PowellSnakes I', Pedro Carvalho, Graca Rocha & Mike Hobson, MNRAS, 393, 681C, 2009. (astro-ph8023916)
  8. 'Information content of the lensed CMB power spectra', Challinor, Anthony; Lewis, Antony; Rocha, Graça; Smith, Sarah; NewAR, 51, 421C, 2007.
  9. 'What can be learned from the lensed cosmic microwave background B-mode polarization power spectrum?', Sarah J. Smith, Anthony Challinor & Graca Rocha, Phys. Rev. D 73, 023517, 2006.
  10. 'Constraints on Changes in Fundamental Constants from a Cosmologically Distant OH Absorver or Emitter', Kanekar, N., Carilli, CL., Langston, G. I., Rocha, G. , Combes, F., Subrahmanyan, R., Stocke, J.T., Menten, K.M., Briggs, F.H., Wilklind, T., Phys. Rev. L 95, 1301K, 2005.
  11. 'Cosmic Microwave Background observations from the Cosmic Microwave Background Imager and Very Small Array: a comparison of coincident maps and parameter estimation methods', Rajguru, Nutan et al., MNRAS, 363, 1125R, 2005.
  12. 'Simulations of non-Gaussian CMB maps', Graça Rocha, Mike Hobson, Sarah Smith, Pedro Ferreira, & Anthony Challinor, MNRAS, 357, 1R, 2005.
  13. 'Non-Random Phases in Non-Trivial Topologies', Patrick Dineen, Graça Rocha, & Peter Coles, MNRAS, 358, 1285D, 2005.
  14. 'Estimating the CMB bispectrum from the VSA data', Sarah Smith, Graca Rocha, Anthony Challinor & VSA team, MNRAS, 352, 887, 2004.
  15. 'Measuring _ in the Early Universe II: CMB polarization and Fisher Matrix Analysis', G. Rocha, R. Trotta, C.J.A.P Martins, A. Melchiorri, P.P. Avelino, R. Bean and P.T.P. Viana, MNRAS, 352, 20R, 2004.
  16. 'Searching for non-Gaussianity in the VSA data', Richard Savage et al., MNRAS, 349, 973S, 2004.
  17. WMAP Constraints on varying _ and the Promise of Reionization',C.J.A.P.Martins, A. Melchiorri, G. Rocha, R. Trotta, P.P. Avelino, P. Viana, Phys. Lett. B 585, 29, 2004.
  18. 'Topology of the Universe from COBE; a wavelet approach', G. Rocha, L. Cayon, R. Bowen, A. Canavezes, J. Silk, A. Banday & K. G´orski, MNRAS, 351, 769R, 2004.
  19. 'CMB Anisotropy Constraints on Open and Flat-_ CDM Cosmogonies from DMR, UCSB South Pole, Python, ARGO, MAX, White Dish, OVRO and SuZIE Data', Pia Mukherjee, Ken Ganga, Bharat Ratra, Graça Rocha, Tarun Souradeep, Naoshi Sugiyama, and Krzysztof M. G´orski, Int. J. Mod. Phys., IJMPA, 18, 4933M, 2003.
  20. 'Measuring _ in the Early Universe', Graça Rocha, Astrophysics and Space Science, Astroph. & Sp. Sci. 283, Issue 4, 589R, 2003.
  21. 'Measuring _ in the Early Universe I: CMB temperature, Large-Scale Structure and Fisher Matrix Analysis', C.J.A.P Martins, A. Melchiori, R. Trotta, R. Bean, G. Rocha, P.P. Avelino, and P. Viana, Phys.Rev. D66 023505, 2002.
  22. 'Early-Universe constraints on a time-varying fine structure constant', P.P. Avelino, S. Esposito, G. Mangano, C.J.A.P. Martins, A. Melchiorri, G. Miele, O. Pisanti, G. Rocha and P.T.P. Viana, Phys. Rev. D64, 103506, 2001.
  23. 'Updates on SuZIE and Python', Ganga,K., et al, ApL&C. , 37..303G, 2000.
  24. 'Looking for a varying _ in the Cosmic Microwave Background', P.P. Avelino, C.J.A.P. Martins, G. Rocha & Pedro Viana, Phys. Rev. D62, 123508, 2000.
  25. 'Bayesian joint estimation of non-Gaussianity and the power spectrum', Graça Rocha, Jo˜ao Magueijo, Mike Hobson & Anthony Lasenby, Phys. Rev. D64, 063512, 2001.
  26. 'VSL theories and the Doppler peak', P.P. Avelino, C.J.A.P. Martins & G. Rocha, Phys. Lett. B843, 210, 2000.
  27. 'Python I, II, and III CMB anisotropy measurement constraints on open and flat-_CDM cosmogonies', Graça Rocha, Radoslaw Stompor, Ken Ganga, Bharat Ratra, Stephen R. Platt, Naoshi Sugiyama, and Krzysztof M. G´orski, ApJ, 525, 1R, 1999.
  28. 'CMB Anisotropy Constraints on Open and Flat-_ CDM Cosmogonies from UCSB South Pole, ARGO, MAX, White Dish, and SuZIE Data', Bharat Ratra, Radoslaw Stompor, Ken Ganga, Graça Rocha, Naoshi Sugiyama, and Krzystof M. G´orski, ApJ, 517, 549R, 1999.
  29. 'Detection of Cosmic Microwave Background Structure in a Second Field with the Cosmic Anisotropy Telescope', J.C. Baker, K. Grainge, M.P. Hobson, M.E. Jones, R. Kneissl, A.N. Lasenby, C.M.M. O'Sullivan, G. Pooley, G. Rocha, R. Saunders, P.F. Scott, E.M.Waldram, MNRAS, 308, 1173B, 1999.
  30. 'Joint estimation of cosmological parameters from CMB and IRAS data', Matthew Webster, S.L. Bridle, M.P. Hobson, A.N. Lasenby, Ofer Lahav and Graca Rocha, ApJ letters, 509L, 65W, 1998.
  31. '10 GHz Tenerife CMB observations at 8_ resolution and their analysis using a new maximum entropy method', Jones, A.W., Hancock, S., Lasenby, A.N., Davies, R.D., Gutierrez, C.M., Rocha, G. , Watson, R.A., & Rebolo, R., MNRAS, 1998, vol 294, pp 582.
  32. '10 GHz Tenerife CMB observations at 8_ resolution and their analysis using a new maximum entropy method', Jones, A.W., Hancock, S., Lasenby, A.N., Davies, R.D., Gutierrez, C.M., Rocha, G. , Watson, R.A., & Rebolo, R., MNRAS, 1998, vol 294, pp 582.
  33. 'Constraints on cosmological parameters from recent measurements ofCMBanisotropy', Hancock, S., Rocha, G. , Lasenby, A.N. & Gutierrez, C.M., MNRAS, 1998, vol 294L, pp 1.
  34. 'Studies of CMB structure at DEC=+40_. II: Analysis and cosmological interpretation', Hancock, S., Lasenby, A.N., Gutierrez, C.M., Davies, R.D., Rocha, G. , Watson, R.A., & Rebolo, R., MNRAS, 1997, vol 289, pp 505-514.

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