About me

I am an assistant Professor at the Physics department of University of Miami. I am interested in employing wide field multiwavelength surveys for finding observational proxies of the formation mechanisms of Super Massive Black holes in the Universe, determining the origin of Cosmic Backgrounds, studying Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) clustering and investigate the nature of Dark Matter.

I obtained my PhD through the International Max-Planck Research School (IMPRS) at the Technische Universität of Munich (TUM) Germany, working on the COSMOS survey  at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestial Physics (MPE). I have been the YCAA prize fellow at Yale University.

We know that at the center of every bulged galaxies it exists a supermassive black hole (SMBH) with mass of the order of millions to billions solar masses. Intriguingly these black holes existed already at redshift z~7, when the Universe was less than 1 billion years old. So far no known physical mechanism is capable of explaining the mass of these object without invoking the formation of massive black holes seed in such a short period. We call this “the Billions” problem.

So far theorists invoke three main channels of  SMBHs  seed formation:

  1. Death of massive POP III stars into ~100 solar mass black holes
  2. Mergers of the stellar mass black holes in dense primordial star clusters to produce Black hole masses of tens of solar masses .
  3. Direct collapse of pristine Hydrogen clouds into ~1 milion solar mass black holes.
  4. Primordial Black Holes

Despite several attempts there is still very little observative information about the origin of these object as the furthests detected QSO is at z~7. My focus is to find signatures of these objects.

What is Dark Matter? 

About 80% of the matter in Universe interacts with gravity  and as far as we know  it does not emit light through standard emission channels. The nature of this misterious substance, known as Dark Matter, is still unknown. I am interested in testing the hypothesis that Dark Matter is produced by particles called Sterile Neutrinos. Some of them could  decay into X-ray photons that can be eventually detected by space telescopes when observing Dark Matter dominated objects in the X-ray band.

Is Dark Matter Made Of Black Holes?

Recent works from my group explored the possibility that Dark Matter could be made by Black Holes formed in the first two seconds after the Big Bang. This idea initially proposed by Stephen Hawking is currently actively investigated by several scientific teams.

Who is Nico Cappelluti when is not researching the Universe?

I live in Miami with my wife Francesca and my son Adriano and travel to Italy to see my family as much as I can.

I am an avid kiteboarder, since I moved to Miami I became more and more engaged with this amazing Sport. I love being out in the ocean in the warm waters of Biscayne Bay enjoying the Caribbean Breeze year round. I have been sailing most of my life but my professional life left me with little time for participating in regattas and sailing events that were the signature of my youth. But I try hard to sail as much as I can.

Recently, I helped my wife starting an e-commerce business, Cozy Farm, so I was able to use my data analysis skills on something closer than far away Galaxies.