Françoise Combes

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Françoise Combes
Born (1952-08-12) 12 August 1952 (age 63)
Montpellier, France
Residence Paris
Nationality French
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions Observatoire de Paris
Alma mater École Normale Supérieure, Paris Diderot University
Notable awards CNRS Silver medal

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

Françoise Combes was elected professor at Collège de France, chair "Galaxies & cosmology" in 2014.[1]

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. ^ « Françoise Combes », sur Collège de France, novembre 2014
  2. ^ "" (PDF) (in French). Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  3. ^ [1] Petrie Prize, Canada
  4. ^ [2] Honorary Fellow Royal Astroomical Society
  5. ^ [3] Prix des Trois Physiciens
  6. ^ Academia Europaea
  7. ^ [4] Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  8. ^ [5] Tycho Brahe Prize
  9. ^ [6] Her page in Académie
  10. ^ [7] Médaille d'argent CNRS


  • La Voie Lactée, 2013, (EdP-Sciences), F. Combes & J. Lequeux
  • Mysteries of Galaxy Formation (2010), (Springer), F. Combes
  • 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
  • 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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