Catherine Heymans

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Catherine Heymans

TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh - Catherine Heymans (cropped).png
Catherine Heymans speaking at TEDx in Edinburgh
Alma materUniversity of Edinburgh (MPhys)
University of Oxford (DPhil)
Known forWeak gravitational lensing
AwardsGeorge Darwin Lectureship (2017)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Edinburgh
Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
University of British Columbia
Institut d'astrophysique de Paris
ThesisWeak gravitational lensing and intrinsic galaxy alignments
Doctoral advisor

Catherine Heymans FRSE is a British astrophysicist and Professor at the University of Edinburgh based at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh.[2][3][4][5]


Heymans received a first class Master of Physics (MPhys) degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2000.[citation needed] In 2003 she received her Doctor of Philosophy from University of Oxford for research supervised by Lance Miller and Alan Heavens on gravitational lensing.[1]

Career and research[edit]

She won a series of prestigious fellowships at Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Institut d'astrophysique de Paris and University of Edinburgh.[clarification needed] In 2009 she was awarded a starting grant from the European Research Council (ERC) and subsequently[when?] appointed a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

Heymans is best known for her work on using the technique of cosmic weak gravitational lensing to learn more about the Universe. She led the Shear Testing Programme STEP1 competition [6] and co-leads the lensing collaboration of the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey: CFHTLenS.[7][8]

Heymans is one of the leaders of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Kilo-Degree Survey. In 2018, she was presented with the "Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award", which is worth €1.5 million and financed by funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The award is presented jointly by the Max Planck Society and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.[9] The award will be used to establish the German Centre for Cosmological Lensing at the Ruhr University Bochum. [10][11]

Heymans teaches on the Massive open online course (MOOC) at Coursera on AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery.[12] Her research has been funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).[13]

Awards and honours[edit]

Heymans was awarded the George Darwin Lectureship by the Royal Astronomical Society in 2017.[14] In 2018 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE).[15]


  1. ^ a b c Heymans, Catherine (2003). Weak gravitational lensing and intrinsic galaxy alignments. (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 499971959. EThOS Free to read
  2. ^ "Catherine Heymans". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  3. ^ Boyle, B. J.; Shanks, T.; Croom, S. M.; Smith, R. J.; Miller, L.; Loaring, N.; Heymans, C. (2000). "The 2dF QSO Redshift Survey -- I. The optical luminosity function of quasi-stellar objects". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 317 (4): 1014–1022. arXiv:astro-ph/0005368. doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2000.03730.x. ISSN 0035-8711.
  4. ^ Amendola, Luca; Appleby, Stephen; Avgoustidis, Anastasios; Bacon, David; Baker, Tessa; et al. (2018). "Cosmology and fundamental physics with the Euclid satellite". Living Reviews in Relativity. 21 (1). arXiv:1206.1225. doi:10.1007/s41114-017-0010-3. ISSN 2367-3613.
  5. ^ Heymans, Catherine; Van Waerbeke, Ludovic; Bacon, David; Berge, Joel; Bernstein, Gary; et al. (2006). "The Shear Testing Programme – I. Weak lensing analysis of simulated ground-based observations". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 368 (3): 1323–1339. arXiv:astro-ph/0506112. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2006.10198.x. ISSN 0035-8711.
  6. ^ "STEP: Shear TEsting Programme". 5 December 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  7. ^ Heymans, Catherine; Van Waerbeke, Ludovic; Miller, Lance; Erben, Thomas; Hildebrandt, Hendrik; et al. (2012). "CFHTLenS: the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope Lensing Survey". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 427 (1): 146–166. arXiv:1210.0032. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21952.x. ISSN 0035-8711.
  8. ^ "News CFHT - Astronomers reach new frontiers of dark matter". Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award for Catherine Heymans". Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  10. ^ Homepage of the German Center for Cosmological Lensing at Ruhr University Bochum
  11. ^ Britische Wissenschaftlerin will die dunkle Materie verstehen, Press release RUB, August 2019
  12. ^ "AstroTech: The Science and Technology behind Astronomical Discovery".
  13. ^ Anon (2018). "UK government research grants awarded to Catherine Heymans". Swindon: United Kingdom Research and Innovation. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Catherine Heymans". New Scientist Live 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Professor Catherine Heymans FRSE". Royal Society of Edinburgh. Retrieved 14 March 2018.