Catherine Cesarsky

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Catherine J. Cesarsky
Catherine Cesarsky.jpg
Catherine J. Cesarsky
Born (1943-02-24) 24 February 1943 (age 72)
Ambazac, France
Nationality Flag of France.svg French
Fields Astronomer
Institutions European Southern Observatory
Thesis Interactions of Cosmic Rays with Hydromagnetic Waves in the Galaxy (1971)
Known for Designing the ISOCAM camera on board the Infrared Space Observatory
Notable awards COSPAR Space Science Award (1998)

Catherine Jeanne Cesarsky (born 24 February 1943) is a French astronomer, known for her successful research activities in several central areas of modern astrophysics. She was formerly president of the International Astronomical Union[1] and the director general of the European Southern Observatory.


Born in France, Catherine Cesarsky was largely raised in Argentina and received a degree in Physical Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. She graduated with a PhD in Astronomy in 1971 from Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass., USA), and for several years worked at the California Institute of Technology.



  • Dr. Cesarsky is known for her research activities in several central areas of modern astrophysics. The first part of her career was devoted to the high-energy domain. This has involved studies of the propagation and composition of galactic cosmic rays, of matter and fields in the diffuse interstellar medium, as well as the acceleration of particles in astrophysical shocks, e.g. in connection with supernovae.
  • She then turned to infrared astronomy. She was the Principal Investigator of the ISOCAM camera on board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) of the European Space Agency (ESA), which flew between 1995 and 1998. As such, she has led the ISOCAM central programme, which studied, in a coordinated way, the infrared emission from a variety of galactic and extragalactic sources and yielded new and exciting results on star formation and galactic evolution. These were consolidated through further observations with the ESO VLT, the satellites Spitzer and now Herschel.

Awards & Distinctions[edit]

  • Recipient of the 1998 COSPAR Space Sciences Award.[2]
  • Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite (1989)
  • Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (1994)
  • Officier de l'Ordre national du Mérite(1999).[3]
  • Officier de la Légion d'Honneur (2004).[4]
  • Commandeur de l'Ordre national du Mérite
  • Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur (2011)
  • Member of the French Academy des Sciences
  • Member of the Academia Europaea
  • Member of the International Academy of Astronautics
  • Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London
  • Prix Jules Janssen of the French Astronomical Society
  • 2010 Doctorate Honoris Causa University of Geneva


External links[edit]