From micro to macro
Hi, I'm Stefano Bovino, Professor at the Astronomy Department, University of Concepción. Educated as a Quantum Chemist I joined the astrophysics community in 2012 when I started to work in the Computational Astrophysics group in Goettingen. I am an "Astrochemist". I currently work on the chemical modelling of the formation and evolution of different types of structures in the Universe, performing three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations. I co-develop and maintain the astrochemistry package KROME. See here below some details of my pilgrim career.
I've done all my studies in Rome: Bachelor and Master of Science in Computational & Theoretical Chemistry and PhD in Chemical Sciences under the supervision of a great mentor, Franco Gianturco. During my bachelor work I've mostly focused on inelastic scattering processes involving simple atom-molecule systems and continue working on reactive scattering during my Master. I then slowly moved towards Astrochemistry during my PhD when I started to work on chemical systems of astrophysical interest, in particular for the primordial environment (HeH+, LiH, etc.). I've built kinetic chemical models with the supervision of Daniele Galli, an oustanding researcher in this field, and after the PhD I've started to collaborate with Tommaso Grassi to develop the package that today we call KROME.
In between the master and the PhD, I had the great opportunity to spend a year in Cambridge, at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. This was one of the most formative experience in my career. I had the honor to work with Alex Dalgarno, who is considered the "father of Astrochemistry". Despite his attitude to not talk much, Alex had the great power to say only important words at the right time. This experience introduced me to Astrochemistry and drove my subsequent decisions to continue in this field. Working with Alex, Vasili Kharchenko, and Peng Zhang, was incredible for my scientific education and I've learned a lot about energy transfer processes in planetary atmosphere, and in particular on how basic quantum chemistry could be applied to macro-problems, as those involved in planetary science.
In 2012 I decided to move forward and definitively depart from my studies in chemistry. Dominik Schleicher believed that a chemist with some experience in modelling could have been helpful in his research group, focused on first star formation and supermassive black-holes. I entered the astrophysics field performing hydrodynamical simulations with Enzo including chemistry. These years were very productive and helped building new collaborations. I continued my work on astrochemistry with the development of KROME, and we started to organise a successful series of Computational Astrochemistry Schools, now at the 4th edition.
The choice to join Hamburg group at the Observatory matched with the DFG fellowship I was awarded. My independent research focused on solar metallicity systems, in particular the ISM in galaxies and the deuterium fractionation in molecular cloud cores. New productive collaborations arose and important results have been obtained. I started to work with observers, and explore new topics. Hamburg has given the birth also to the first conference on Chemical Modelling in Astrophysics we organised, and the BigBam project on Astrochemistry Modelling Benchmark. Overall this independent experience allowed me to scientifically grow, and finally get a permanent position at UdeC where I established the Astrochemistry Group.
In 2017 I received an offer to become Associate Professor at the University of Concepción. Astrochemistry and in particular Computational Astrochemistry are new disciplines in Chile and I will try to build a solid group to work on both theory and observations to educate a new generation of chilean astrochemists. I will share this aim with the Theory Group of which the Computational Astrochemistry group is part. See here our Theory Group webpage or click here below to see who is part of the Computational Astrochemistry Group at the moment.