Françoise Combes

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Françoise Combes
Born (1952-08-12) 12 August 1952 (age 71)
Alma materÉcole Normale Supérieure, Paris Diderot University
AwardsCNRS Gold medal, L'Oréal-UNESCO International Prize for Women in Science
Scientific career
InstitutionsObservatoire de Paris
Doctoral studentsFabienne Casoli

Françoise Combes (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swaz kɔ̃b] ; born 12 August 1952) is a French astrophysicist at the Paris Observatory and a professor at the Collège de France where she has been the chair of Galaxies and cosmology since 2014.[1]

On 15 September 2017 the 'City of Success' school at Montpellier was renamed as 'High school Françoise Combes'.[2]


Françoise Combes studied at the École Normale Supérieure from 1971 to 1975. In 1975, she obtained the Agrégation and a PhD in Physics from Paris Diderot University, writing her thesis on the dynamics and structure of galaxies.


Her research works are about galaxy formation and evolution, in a cosmological context. This work includes: galaxy dynamics, their spiral and barred structures, and interactions between galaxies, studied both through multi-wavelength observations and by numerical simulations.[3] Additionally, she has 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, and which can be found in high redshift systems. She has published numerous reviews that range in her areas of interest.[4]

Françoise Combes has contributed to various models of dark matter, and is also interested in alternative solutions, such as modified gravity. She collaborated with Daniel Pfenniger in developing a model to account under the form of cold molecular gas for a large fraction of the dark baryons, which have not yet been identified.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]


Françoise Combes is the author of over a thousand articles,[27] a number of books, and has participated in collective works. Her English-language books include:

  • The Milky Way (with James Lequeux), EDP Sciences, 2016, 196p (ISBN 978-2759819157)
  • Galaxies and Cosmology (Astronomy and Astrophysics Library) (with Patrick Boissé) (translator: M. Seymour), Springer, 2nd Ed 2004, 468p (ISBN 978-3540419273)
  • The Cold Universe Saas-Fee Advanced Course. vol 32. Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy (with Andrew W. Blain) (editor: Daniel Pfenniger), Springer, 2004, (ISBN 978-3540408383)
  • Mysteries Of Galaxy Formation, Praxis, 2010, 224p (ISBN 978-1441908674)
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Mystères de la formation des galaxies (2008), (Dunod), F. Combes
  • 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)


  1. ^ "Le problème de la matière noire : galaxies spirales". (in French). 15 September 2014.
  2. ^ "La cité scolaire de la réussite rebaptisée cité scolaire Françoise Combes". September 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-03..
  3. ^ "An extragalactic award to the star of astrophysics". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  4. ^ "Françoise Combes (some reviews)". Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  5. ^ "Françoise Combes home page". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  6. ^ "Nick Kylafis Lectureship". FORTH Institute of Astrophysics. Retrieved 2022-08-09.
  7. ^ "French Astronomer Honored as 2022 Jansky Lecturer". National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Retrieved 2022-08-05.
  8. ^ "L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards honour five women researchers in mathematics, astrophysics, chemistry and informatics". UNESCO. 2021-02-11. Retrieved 2021-02-11.
  9. ^ "AAS Names 31 New Fellows for 2021 | American Astronomical Society". Retrieved 2021-02-05.
  10. ^ "The astrophysicist Françoise Combes receives the CNRS 2020 Gold Medal". CNRS News. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  11. ^ "Décret du 30 novembre 2019 portant promotion et nomination". Retrieved 2020-09-13.
  12. ^ "La cité scolaire de la réussite rebaptisée cité scolaire Françoise Combes". September 2017. Retrieved 2017-10-03..
  13. ^ "Award ceremony for the Janssen Prize". Société astronomique de France. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  14. ^ "Ceremony and lecture – Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award 2017 | Chalmers". 2017-08-24.
  15. ^ "An extragalactic award to the star of astrophysics". Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  16. ^ Chalmers Physics (2017-10-06), Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award Lecture 2017 - Françoise Combes, retrieved 2018-05-16
  17. ^ "Honorary Members | American Astronomical Society".
  18. ^ "Présidence de la République ORDRE NATIONAL DE LA LÉGION D'HONNEUR" (PDF). (in French). 2015-04-05.
  19. ^ "R.M. Petrie Prize Lecture - CASCA".
  20. ^ Smith, Keith. "Winners of the 2013 awards, medals and prizes - full details". Archived from the original on 2013-02-09.
  21. ^ [1] Prix des Trois Physiciens Archived 2013-12-15 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Academia Europaea
  23. ^ Smith, Keith (7 June 2023). "Winners of the 2013 awards, medals and prizes - full details".
  24. ^ Switzerland, Marc Türler and Mathias Beck, ISDC, Observatory of the University of Geneva. "Tycho Brahe Prize".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ [2] Her page in Académie Archived 2013-12-16 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ CNRS. "CNRS - CNRS silver medals for 2001". (in French).
  27. ^ "Francoise Combes - Google Scholar Citations". Retrieved 2018-08-06.

External links[edit]