Merieme Chadid

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Merieme Chadid
Merieme Chadid.jpg
Merieme Chadid

(1969-10-11)11 October 1969
NationalityFrench and Moroccan
Alma materMaster degree: University of Hassan II Casablanca

Master of Advanced Studies: University of Nice Ph.D: Paul Sabatier University

HDR Habilitation: University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Known forAstronomer and Explorer
Awards • Young Global Leader 2008 in the World Economic Forum

 • Woman of the Year 2015 in Science

 • Officer of Order of Ouissam Alaouite handed over by His Majesty The King of Morocco in 2013

 • Woman of the Antarctic Wikibomb by Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR in 2016

 • Young Leader of the France-China Foundation in 2014
Scientific career
FieldsAstronomy and Exploration
InstitutionsDome Charlie, Antarctica

Merieme Chadid (born 11 October 1969 in Casablanca) is a Moroccan-French astronomer, explorer and astrophysicist.[1][2] She leads international polar scientific programs and has been committed to installing a major astronomical observatory at the heart of Antarctica.[1][3][4]

Education and early life[edit]

Chadid was born October 11, 1969 in Casablanca to a humble Moroccan family. Her father and mother were a blacksmith and a housewife respectively. She was one of seven children. At 12 years old, she discovered her love of astronomy from a Johannes Kepler book gifted to her by her brother.[5][6] In 1992, Chadid graduated from the University of Hassan II Casablanca with a master’s degree in Physics and Mathematics. In 1993, she graduated from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis with a Master of Advanced Studies and three years later earned her PhD in Astronomy and Space from the Paul Sabatier University from her research detecting hypersonic shock waves in pulsating stars and explaining their origin.[5] She also obtained the highest university qualification degree Habilitation HDR, a second PhD, at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis. Chadid completed several executive education programs at John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University as well.[7]


Merieme Chadid joined the Centre national de la recherche scientifique and then the European Southern Observatory soon after earning her PhD. She worked on the installation of The Very Large Telescope, the largest telescope in the world at the time, in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. She has worked as an astronomer in the French public university system, and she is a steering committee member of the International Astronomical Union.[5]

Merieme Chadid became the first Moroccan as well as the first female French astronomer to reach the heart of Antarctica, and the first to plant an Arab flag (the Moroccan flag) in Antarctica[8][7] in 2005 when she achieved her first polar expedition to set up a new observatory.[5] Of her many achievements, her most treasured accomplishment has been her work under extreme conditions in the heart of Antarctica, one of the highest, coldest, most deserted and inaccessible places in the world. She is considered the world's first astronomer to be committed to installing the large astronomical observatory in Antarctica, where she has carried out pioneering work. In interviews, she has compared the installation of the observatory to a space mission, an area characterized by only a thin layer of turbulence, making it easier to observe faraway objects than observatories in other parts of the world. As night continues for several months of the year, researchers at the Antarctica stations have the advantage of being able to study the stars 24/7.[7]

Merieme Chadid promotes education by giving lectures, attending conferences, supervising students, and her documentary on astronomy, Tarik Annujah, has played on the Al Jazeera Children's Channel.[5] Her most published research aims to understand and decipher early star formation and the stellar evolution and pulsation towards of understanding of the Universe.[7]

She was listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the thirty most interesting and fascinating workers in the world.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Merieme Chadid has been married to Jean Vernin, Director of Research of Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, since 31 March 2001 and has two children, Leyla Vernin and Felix Tycho Vernin.

Major achievements[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Miller, Rebecca (26 August 2018) [2015]. "Merieme Chadid". The My Hero Project. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  2. ^ "Featured Fellow: Dr. Merieme Chadid, Renowned Astronomer and Explorer". The Global Network for Africa's Prosperity. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  3. ^ Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong; Henry Louis Gates; Steven J. Niven (2 February 2012). Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford University Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-0-19-538207-5.
  4. ^ "10 ans de Khmissa" [10 years of Khmissa] (PDF) (in French). 24 January 2007. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-05.
  5. ^ a b c d e Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku (2012-02-02). Dictionary of African Biography. OUP USA. ISBN 9780195382075.
  6. ^ a b "YGL Alumni Community | World Economic Forum - YGL Alumni Community". 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Dr. Merieme Chadid | Women as Partners in Progress Resource Hub". Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  8. ^ a b "Merieme Chadid". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  9. ^ "Arab Women Awards". londonarabia. Retrieved 2019-04-12.