Logo of the SHREC ESO-ARO Large Spectroscopic Public Survey, which aim is to study shocks triggered by Supernova Remnants and their impacting on molecular clouds. 
Credit: Giulia Zora

VR grant to star formation project

Astronomer Giuliana Cosentino is one of 33 Chalmers researchers to receive a grant from the Swedish Research Council – Vetenskapsrådet (VR). She is researching how and why stars form in the coldest and densest parts of the galaxies. 
The Swedish Research Council distributes 2.3 billion in natural and engineering sciences (2021-2025) and medicine and health (2021-2026). Of these project grants, a total of SEK 123 million go to 33 researchers at Chalmers.​ Post doctoral researcher Giuliana Cosentino, astronomer at the division of Astronomy and Plasma Physics, the department of Space, Earth and Environment, is one of the recipients. 

How did it feel when you heard that you were to receive this grant?
– I was positively surprised. Although I gave my best when preparing the application, I was not expecting such a positive response, due to my early career stage. However, when I was told the news, it felt very good and I received very warm congratulations from my colleagues.  

The title of your proposal is "Shock Compressions in the Interstellar Medium as triggers of Star Formation". Can you describe which research questions you are focusing on, and how you will go about answering them? 
– One of the major unanswered questions in astronomy regards the mechanisms responsible to ignite the formation of stars in molecular clouds, i.e., the coldest and densest regions of galaxies. One of the possible answers to this problem is that large-scale (more than 1 parsec or 20K AU) shocks impacting on these clouds can compress the material enough to start the formation of new stars. This is the theory we will test with this proposal. In particular, we will look at molecular tracers, like Silicon Monoxide and Carbon Monoxide, to investigate whether shocks are present and the gas compression that they have caused. 

– For this project, we will use data collected as part of the SHREC large observing program, to look for shock triggered by Supernova Remnants. We will also use data obtained by the IRAM 30m telescope, to look for shocks caused by the collision between clouds. 

The grant also means that you will be spending two more years in Sweden, Chalmers and the department of Space, Earth and Environment (SEE). What are your thoughts on that?   
– I am extremely happy to extend my time in Sweden and in particular at SEE. I find Sweden a very fascinating country and SEE as a big welcoming family to whom I am proud to belong. 

Related news: The Star Hunt project 

​Giuliana Cosentino took part in last year's Star Hunt, the tenth edition of Help A Scientist, an annual project where the Nobel Prize Museum connects school classes around the country with researchers at Swedish universities. In the Star Hunt, 1,400 school students helped researchers at Chalmers to gather new knowledge about how stars are born. On 12 February 2021, the project ended with a digital event where the students' great scientific results were presented - and where they got to meet Nobel Laureate Reinhard Genzel and Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang. Read more about the Star Hunt project

Page manager Published: Wed 10 Nov 2021.