Federico Bernardini


AstroFIt 2 – COFUND fellow since June 1, 2017 (Career break from 2/6/2017 to 31/8/2017)

Project ended August 31, 2020

INAF Research Centre: Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma

Email: federico.bernardini at inaf.it

Curriculum vitae

List of publications



Project title: THEON The Extremes of Natures. A comprehensive study of galactic compact objects


Black holes, neutron stars (NSs), and white dwarfs are compact objects (COs), the stellar remnants generated at the endpoint of the life of a massive star. The conditions in their proximity are so extreme that cannot be reproduced on earth laboratories. This leads to several phenomena that are among the most fascinating and debated of modern astrophysics which are the subject of my research: the formation and evolution of accretion disks (a CO in a binary system can “cannibalize” its companion star, stripping matter from its surface in a process called accretion); the production of intense high-energy radiation (the highenergy sky is dominated by the emission from COs); the formation of relativistic jets (spectacular ejections of matter moving close to the speed of light emitting at all wavelength); the generation of superstrong magnetic fields and the conversion of their energy into radiation (the X-ray pulsars known as magnetars possess the strongest magnetic field in nature). The project I propose to carry out at INAF-Rome aims to shed light on the emission mechanisms of COs and on the physics of COs in binary systems, and to constrain the structure of NSs. This will be possible by combining multiwavelength observations with advanced modeling and cutting edge data analysis techniques. My research will provide key answers to the fundamental question: How does the universe work? This is a key question of both ESA “Cosmic Vision” and NASA “Enduring Quests Daring Vision”, the roadmaps for the biggest pioneering astrophysics and engineering projects of the next decades. It will provide crucial insights on how the “Hot Energetic Universe” works and unveil the “Extremes of Nature”.

This research field has important implications over a wide range of science fields: astrophysics, nuclear and matter physics, and advanced space engineering. These are also the main objectives of the 1.5 billion euros large astrophysics space mission of ESA, Athena+, which will fly in 2028.