illustration massive stars
The image features AFGL 5180, a beautiful stellar nursery located in the constellation of Gemini (The Twins). ​​​​

Spotlights the rock stars of the Universe

​​​​How are massive stars in the Universe born? That question is in focus for astronomer Rubén Fedriani at Chalmers. In record-breaking competition, he has recently received a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship. Rubén explains how the fellowship will help him answer the question and why he considers the massive stars to be the rock stars of the universe.
– I feel extremely honoured to have received this Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship. The competition for such fellowships is really high and this year there has been a record number of applications with no less than 11 573 project proposals amongst all disciplines. I am still digesting such fantastic news!

Do you have specific plans for your fellowship?

– The main goal with this fellowship is to boost my career development by conducting cutting edge research in the superb star formation group at the Chalmers University of Technology. With this opportunity, I also hope to disseminate my work within the scientific community, but also among the general public. I believe outreach is a fundamental component of any researcher’s work.

Which research question are you focusing on?

– This project is framed within the processes of star formation. The big question we want to answer is, “how are massive protostars born?” For the last several decades, many brilliant people have contributed to the understanding of massive star formation. Answering this question is not easy and many astronomers are actively working on different aspects of star formation. My hope is to shed some light on the formation mechanisms of massive protostars from an observational point of view using some of the most powerful optical and infrared telescopes in the world.

– You may wonder why this is important, well, massive stars are the reason for the iron in your blood, the calcium in your bones, and of course, the reason you are reading this! Therefore, understanding how they form is in a way understanding our origins and our place in the Universe.

– To finish, I like to say that ''massive stars are the rock stars of the Universe - blazing short, intense lives, but with death resonating for generations to come!''

Rubén was one of the Chalmers astronomers participating In the Star Hunt project,  the 2020 version of the Nobel Prize Museum's project Help a Scientist, where 1,400 school students helped researchers at Chalmers to gather new knowledge about how stars are born. Read more about the Star Hunt​

More info: 

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowships​​

The fellowships are aimed at experienced researchers looking to give their careers a boost by working abroad. Read more about the fellowships​.


A protostar is a very young star that is still gathering mass from its parent molecular cloud. Read more about protostars

Image credits: 
Top image: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. C. Tan (Chalmers University & University of Virginia), R. Fedriani (Chalmers University). Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt. The image was chosen as ESA's "Hubble picture of the week" in March 2021, and the full image and story can be viewed here.​
Portrait: Christian Löwhagen

Page manager Published: Wed 05 May 2021.