Looking for stars that created the first galaxies


By Teodora-Elena Bulichi

My summer project entailed analysing stochastic effects in the context of the earliest stars, so-called Population III stars, and was awarded the Cormack Scholarship, offered by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This topic had not been explored rigorously before and as such provided me with the immense opportunity of producing novel scientific results, as well as getting close to the research life, which is something I deeply wish to pursue in future.

Population III stars are of crucial importance in Astrophysics: they created the first galaxies, polluted the universe with high-energy radiation and created the heavier chemical elements – including those vital for life to exist.

Despite their great scientific significance, these stars have never been observed directly and as of now, most Population III stars simulations reported in scientific literature do not account for stochasticity: random effects in how we model these stars, hence leading to biased results and the impossibility to fully understand and account for uncertainties in the stars’ properties. Therefore, carrying out stochastic simulations for Population III stars is an essential step for broadening and improving our understanding in the field and gave me the chance to develop my abilities of identifying relevant research papers, performing original computer simulations, as well as reporting the results and identifying how future work in this area can benefit from our work.

After the summer project came to an end, I continued to work in this field during my Senior Honours Project and had the great chance to present a poster of this work during the Cormack meeting (organised by the Royal Society of Edinburgh) in December 2021. I am definitely grateful for having the chance to undertake this project, as well as for the support received from my supervisors Mr Andrea Incatasciato and Prof. Sadegh Khochfar and I am even more motivated to complete a PhD and pursue a research career.

(Photo of Teo)

(Photo of Teo)

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