About Me

I was born and grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. I developed my passion for astronomy after zealous but completely failed attempts to observe the comet Hale-Bopp in my teenage years. What followed was another missed astronomical event - the total solar eclipse in 1999, whose path crossed the North-East part of my home country. I am still very proud with the picture of the Sun, 92% covered by the Moon from where I was that day, which I made using a self-made wooden tripod supporting my dad's old camera and my 5-cm refractor telescope.

Soon after these memorable events I joined the editorial team of the popular astronomy magazine "AndromedA" and the weekly newspaper "The Telescope". I worked there throughout my undergrad studies and together with my colleagues at the Astronomical Association Sofia I had the pleasure to organise numerous events to bring the fascination of astronomy to the general public. And like that, more than 20 years since, astronomy has remained an unseparable part of my life, that has led me to some of the most fascinating places on Earth. Including to observe a total solar eclipse from the Atacama desert in Chile.

I completed my university studies, majoring physics and astronomy at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria. After that I defended my PhD at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, after spending 3 years working on my PhD thesis at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Since then I have worked in many science organisations: first in the Office for Science of the Extremely Large Telescope at ESO, then in the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, and afterwards at the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In May 2017 I started a faculty position at ESO, which allows me to combine two of my vocations: astronomy and the communication of science. I study how galaxies in the Universe and their parts form and evolve as well as I supervise master and PhD students and mentor junior researchers (read here about my research activities). In parallel, I lead the Media Relations team of ESO and I am the science advisor of the Department of Communication (here you'll find more about my work there).

Work experience

05/2017 - present: Faculty Astronomer
European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany

  • 03/2019 - present: Head of Media Relations and Science advisor to the Department of Communication
  • 05/2017 - 03/2019: Outreach astronomer at education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD)

02/2014 - 03/2017: Postdoctoral researcher
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, Groningen, the Netherlands

06/2010 - 01/2014: Postdoctoral researcher
Max-Planck-Institut for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany

01/2010 - 05/2010: Visiting researcher
Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Physics of the University of Sofia, Bulgaria

06/2009 - 12/2009: Postdoctoral researcher
at the ELT Science Office,
ESO, Garching bei München, Germany
My task was to help writing, editing, and illustrating the book An Expanded View of the Universe - Science with the European Extremely Large Telescope, where the key science cases for the ELT are summarised.

01/2009 - 05/2009: Visiting researcher
Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Physics of the University of Sofia, Bulgaria


PhD in Astronomy, 09/2005 - 12/2008
ESO, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, IMPRS on Astrophysics, Munich, Germany
Supervisors: Dr. Harald Kuntschner (ESO) and Dr. David R. Silva (NOAO)
Thesis: “Towards calibrating stellar population models in the near-IR: clues from globular clusters and early-type galaxies” (7 MB)

MSc in Physics, majoring Astronomy and Astrophysics, 09/2004 - 7/2005
Department of Astronomy, University of Sofia, Bulgaria
Supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Valeri Golev (SU) and Dr. Markus Kissler-Patig (ESO at that time)
Thesis: “Globular clusters in early-type galaxies: search for recent star formation in old merger remnants” (in Bulgarian)

BSc in Physics, 10/2000 - 07/2004
Faculty of Physics, University of Sofia, Bulgaria

33rd Language High School, Sofia, Bulgaria, 09/1995 - 06/2000
Majoring French and English language