Grigoris Maravelias

Grigoris Maravelias

I was born in Athens, Greece, and grew up in the suburb of Aigaleo, when it was full of nice and lively neighborhoods. After finishing high school there I studied at the School of Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences, a newly founded school of the well-known and historical National Technical University of Athens . Although NTUA’s principal target is to educate engineers the new school’s aim was to educate physical scientists with a strong background in mathematics, physics and engineering (and some computing…). That’s why you need at least 5 years and many exams to get your final BSc/MSc degree. I moved to the beautiful island of Crete for my graduate studies in Microelectronics and Optoelectronics from the Physics Department of the University of Crete (Heraklion, Greece). I was serving my military service when I finished my MSc studies and joined immediately after that the Attosecond Science laboratory at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Lasers – Foundation for Reasearch and Technology Hellas (IESL-FORTH, back to Heraklion of Crete again) as an optics/laser technician. However, I seemed to miss something…

Since childhood I was fascinated my the night sky. Even during my studies I was always taking the most relevant subjects to Astronomy available (the rest being about optics and the physics of light, which is the common information carrier in either lasers or Astronomy). Even more, I had become an active amateur astronomer and I was trying to maximize the scientific potential of my observations. As I was finding myself trying to invest more and more time into these activities I finally decided that I should make a bigger step. In 2010 I pursued and succeeded in getting a 3-year scholarship from the State Scholarships Foundation (IKY) for PhD. studies, so finally I managed to start working full time in Astronomy.

I was privileged enough to work under the guidance of Andreas Zezas. The thesis entitled “Investigation of the High-Mass X-ray Binary population of the Small Magellanic Cloud” included spectroscopy and Hα imaging on High-Mass X-ray Binaries, supplemented with the development of an automated spectral classifier designed primarily for these binaries. In addition, I have worked closely with Pablo Reig (Univ. of Crete and IESL-FORTH, Greece) on spectroscopy, optical and Near-Infrared imaging of Galactic Hign-Mass X-ray Binaries, and I have contributed to a high-accuracy photometric monitoring of candidate exoplanet targets, led by Eric Gaidos (Dept. of Geology & Geophysics, University of Hawaii, USA) using the 1.3m telescope at Skinakas Observatory (gaining extensive observing experience, with more than 100 nights at the observatory).

In August 2014, I moved to the Stellar Physics Department, of the Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic to work with Michaela Kraus on massive stars. We worked on short-termed phases of evolved supergiant stars (like Yellow Hypergiants, B[e] supergiants, Luminous Blue Variables) where these monsters lose (often eruptively) large amounts of mass through strong stellar winds, in an attempt to understand the mechanisms that drive these events and study their circumstellar environments. Access to the 2m Perek telescope of Ondrejov Observatory was offered and I took this opportunity about a hundred times (but I was lucky to get something only at 1/3 of that time). However, more data were available fortunately from other sources and, in particular, from FEROS (@2.2m MPG telescope, La Silla, Chile) with which I spent a lot of time but not in vain.

In December 2016 my term ended and after a few weeks of holidays I moved in January 2017 for a short-term position at the Institute for Physics and Astronomy, of the University of Valparaiso, Chile, to continue working on massive stars with Michel Curé.

Even though my professional obligations are becoming more and more demanding I will always find time to interact and contribute to the amateur community, especially through professional-amateur collaborations. Moreover, I think highly of the importance of public outreach and, as such, I try to help with any possible way. I am currently an active member of the Hellenic Amateur Astronomy Association, the American Association of Variable Star Observers, and the International Meteor Organization.

When I am not occupied by any activity related with Astronomy I try to spend my time in what I find most rewarding (depending on the mood and time availability). I practice and study Chinese martial arts (check Kallirroon school), which I actually barely think of as a hobby activity. I walk a lot around new places and in nature. Walking is the best pace in which you can take advantage of all your five (or … six) senses, experience new cultures and admire nature. It is usually during these times that I shoot some photographs. In addition, I enjoy cycling (proud owner of a Thorn Club Tour and Scott Scale 60) and I prefer the multi-day trips (if you smiled then you do know why!).

If you reached this point by reading the whole text … then I am really impressed!
If not
then you can just contact me ! 😉