Françoise Combes

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Françoise Combes
Born 12 August 1952
Montpellier, France
Residence Paris
Nationality French
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions Observatoire de Paris
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure, Paris Diderot University
Notable awards Silver medal of CNRS

Françoise Combes (born 12 August 1952) is a French astrophysicist and a professor at the Paris Observatory.

From 1971 to 1975 she studied at the École Normale Supérieure. She obtained the "Agrégation" in Physics in 1975 and a PhD from Paris Diderot University, with a thesis on the "Dynamics and structure of galaxies".

Her research works are about galaxy formation and evolution, in a cosmological context : galaxy dynamics, their spiral structure, the role of bars and interactions between Galaxies, studied both through multi-wavelength observations and by numerical simulations. She published extensively on the interstellar medium of galaxies, in particular the molecular gas which gives birth to new stars, in nearby galaxies such as Andromeda, as well as high redshift systems.

To understand the dynamics and formation of galaxies, details on the nature and behavior of dark matter in the Universe are critical. Françoise Combes has contributed to various models of dark matter, and is also interested on alternative solutions, such as modified gravity. In addition she has developed with Daniel Pfenniger a model to account for a large fraction of the dark baryons, which have not yet been identified, under the form of cold molecular gas.



  1. ^ [1] Petrie Prize, Canada
  2. ^ [2] Honorary Fellow Royal Astroomical Society
  3. ^ [3] Prix des Trois Physiciens
  4. ^ Academia Europaea
  5. ^ [4] Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  6. ^ [5] Tycho Brahe Prize
  7. ^ [6] Her page in Académie
  8. ^ [7] Médaille d'argent CNRS


  • La Voie Lactée, 2013, (EdP-Sciences), F. Combes & J. Lequeux
  • Galaxies et Cosmologie (2009), (Ellipses), F. Combes, M. Haywood, S. Collin, F. Durret, B. Guiderdoni
  • Mystères de la formation des galaxies (2008), (Dunod), F. Combes
  • Mysteries of Galaxy Formation (2010), (Springer), F. Combes
  • A. Aspect, R. Balian, G. Bastard, J.P. Bouchaud, B. Cabane, F. Combes, T. Encrenaz, S. Fauve, A. Fert, M. Fink, A. Georges, J.F. Joanny, D. Kaplan, D. Le Bihan, P. Léna, H. Le Treut, J-P Poirier, J. Prost et J.L. Puget, Demain la physique, (Odile Jacob, 2009)
  • The Cold Universe (2003), (Springer), A. Blain, F. Combes, B. Draine
  • Galaxies et Cosmologie (1991), (Inter-Sciences, CNRS), P. Boissé, A. Mazure et A. Blanchard
  • Galaxies and Cosmology (1995), (Springer), P. Boissé, A. Mazure et A. Blanchard, (réédité en 2002)

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