about 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 (applied) 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 (focusing already in variable stars!) 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) in which these monsters lose (often eruptively) large amounts of mass. We attempted 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. There I balanced my will to continue working on massive stars with Michel Curé and a fascinating group of people with the enjoyment to live in the colorful and vibrant city of Valparaiso. I had the amazing opportunity to experience the Chilean outdoors and visit the Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory and the Las Campanas Observatory, where I participated in observing runs with the 4m Blanco and the 6.5m Clay telescopes, respectively.

In October 2017 I returned to Crete, and I found myself in familiar places for (what actually became) a short-term post-doc position at Physics Department (Uni of Crete) & FORTH working on High-Mass X-ray Binaries with A. Zezas. In September 2018 I started a new position at the Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS) of the National Observatory of Athens. Alceste Bonanos was successful to receive a ERC fund to investigate the role of episodic mass loss in the evolution of massive stars and its role in the early Universe (Episodic MAss LoSS in Evolved MaSsive Stars – ASSESS). Since then I have expanded my interest in the applications of machine-learning techniques, and in particular to build a photometric classifier to accentuate interesting targets for our project.

Even though my professional obligations have become more and more demanding I 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 try to spend as much time as possible 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 photos. 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!). As there is not always time for these, commuting and day rides can be fun also.

That was more or less my daily routine up 2019! Then a major star-forming event heavily extincted all extra activities! This formed a cocoon in which I was speeding most of my time. Yet another one followed a couple of years later that added significantly to the extinction. However, as the opacity started to drop with time, part of the initial activities is regained with extra company this time!

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

15 December 2023