Innovative teaching


EXPeriential Learning Opportunity through Research and Exchange

The EXPLORE program is supported by the Academic Innovation Fund (AIF) at York University, Goethe University QSL (“Quality Assurance in Teaching”) funds, the DFG Collaborative Research Center CRC-TR 211 “Strong-interaction matter under extreme conditions” and the State of Hesse through the research cluster ELEMENTS.


Dear Physics & Astronomy students,

This coming winter, we will launch the second German-Canadian student research collaboration in theoretical astroparticle physics:


– Astrophysical Probes of Fundamental Physics –

We invite you to become part of the team! You can join in a diverse and international research team together with undergraduate (Bachelor/Master) students from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and York University in Toronto, Canada!

Together we will explore one of the most fascinating and yet unsolved mysteries of modern physics: dark matter!


Dark matter is the mysterious form of matter that makes up most of the matter of the Universe. It exerts an omnipresent gravitational pull on everything — shaping the entire structure of the cosmos — but its properties are still largely unknown and cannot be made from atoms or any other known type of matter.

In this research, we will explore astrophysical systems — from black holes and neutron stars to galaxies (and beyond) — as laboratories for testing and measuring dark matter’s unknown properties.

This project is theoretical in nature and will include both analytical and numerical work aimed at connecting hypothetical dark matter properties to observable signals that may be tested by astronomers. It may also include data analysis or studies of simulations.


On top of performing exciting research, you will get a chance to collaborate as a team with your peers from Germany and Canada. In the process, you will improve your programming, writing and communication skills. You will have the chance to discuss and exchange ideas in weekly online team meetings and on top of that present your results in a one-week workshop!

In a typical week, you will have one lecture and/or Python tutorial, one meeting with your research team and also time for independent research.

As the highlight of the EXPLORE program, you will meet your peers from Goethe University and York University in-person at an international one-week summer school in Frankfurt!

Join us!

As a student from Goethe University:

At Goethe University, this project will be offered as its own course (see  If you are a student at Goethe University and interested in participating, please just register for the course via OLAT Currently, the number of places is limited to 20. Prerequisites: None. All students are welcome to participate, though preference may be given to students who have completed the courses Introduction to Astronomy I-II (Einführung in die Astronomie I–II).

As a York student:

If you are a York student and interested in joining our team, please send an application consisting of a cover letter, CV, and (unofficial) transcript to Nassim Bozorgnia ( Students who will participate in this program would need to take PHYS 4310 in Winter 2022. Prerequisites: None. All students are welcome to apply, though preference may be given to students who have completed their second year.

While Python will be a large part of this research, no prior experience in Python is needed (except for a strong motivation to learn). The course will be held in English.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions!

EXPLORE faculty supervisors

EXPLORE is supervised by five faculty members from Goethe University (Germany) and York University (Canada). We are (from left to right):

Nassim Bozorgnia (York University), Saeed Rastgoo (York University), Laura Sagunski (Goethe University, ELEMENTS PI, CRC-TR 211 PI), Jürgen Schaffner-Bielich (Goethe University, CRC-TR 211 PI) and Sean Tulin (York University).

© Laura Sagunski