Dr Agata Karska from the NCU Centre for Astronomy is among 13 laureates of the fifth competition of the Foundation for Polish Science in the FIRST TEAM programme. The Toruń researcher will receive PLN 2 million to form a research team. 131 scientists have competed in the competition.
In the FIRST TEAM programme, the Foundation supports young doctors in developing academic independence, awarding them with around PLN 2 million for the implementation of team projects and undertaking the most interesting research challenges.
Dr Agata Karska from the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics will implement the project "Laboratory of Molecular Astrophysics: stars formation regions in the outer parts of the Galaxy". Its aim is to learn the physical and chemical properties of stars formation regions in the remote parts of our Galaxy. Through a series of astronomical observations using the best telescopes in the world, the identification of "preschool-age" stars and their characterization is planned. The unique environment of the outer areas of the Galaxy will make it possible to learn about the impact of the so-called metalicity on the process of star formation, which is fundamental to understanding how stars and planets were created in the early Universe.
The first research group in Poland to deal with astrochemistry (in other words: molecular astrophysics) will be established within the project. Chemistry of the cosmos is an interdisciplinary and very dynamically developing field of science in the world, though absent in Poland. In star formation regions where stars like our Sun form in dense, cold cocoons of matter, such molecular observations are the only means to understand the chemical and physical processes that take place. This knowledge is necessary to understand how our Solar System was created, as well as life was formed on Earth.
Dr Agata Karska - is a research worker at the Centre for Astronomy at the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics. In 2009, she was awarded the title of the Best Graduate of the Nicolaus Copernicus University. Later, she completed doctoral studies at the International Max Planck Research School in Garching near Munich, and she defended her PhD at the University of Leiden in 2014. She is a grant holder of the START Foundation for Polish Science, PRELUDIUM and SONATA grants from the National Science Centre, "For Women in Science”award byL'Oreal, UNESCO and the Christine Nusslein-Volhard Foundation in Germany (in 2012) and the Science Award by "Polityka" in in 2015.