Nadia Magnenat Thalmann

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Nadia Magnenat Thalmann
Nadia Magnenat Thalmann.jpg
Thalmann in 2009
NationalitySwiss, Canadian
Alma materUniversity of Geneva
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
AwardsHumboldt Research Award
The Canadian Human Computer Communications Society Award
CGI Achievement Award
Honorary Doctorate from University of Ottawa
Eurographics Distinguished Career Award
Dr. Honoris Causa in Natural Sciences from Leibniz University Hannover
Member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences
Scientific career
FieldsComputer Graphics
Virtual Humans
Social Humanoid Robotics
InstitutionsUniversité Laval
HEC, University of Montréal
University of Geneva
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Professor Nadia Magnenat Thalmann is a computer graphics[1] scientist and robotician[2][circular reference] and is the founder and head of MIRALab at the University of Geneva. She has chaired the Institute for Media Innovation at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore from 2009 to 2021.


Nadia Magnenat Thalmann received an MS in Psychology, an MS in Biology and a Master in Biochemistry at the University of Geneva. She obtained a PhD in Quantum Physics in 1977 from the same university. She started her career as an Assistant Professor at the University Laval in Canada, then became a Professor at HEC,[3] University of Montreal until 1988. In 1989, she moved to the University of Geneva where she founded the MIRALab laboratory.

Thalmann has authored and co-authored more than 600 papers in the area of Virtual Humans, social robots, VR, and 3D simulation of human articulations (CV[4]). She has participated in more than 45 European research projects[5] and led quite a few of them.[6] She has served the Computer Graphics community by creating the Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA) in Geneva in 1988, as well as managing Computer Graphics International (CGI), both of which are internationally well known conferences.[7] She is the editor-in-chief of the journal The Visual Computer published by Springer, Germany[8] and co editor-in-chief of the Computer Animation Journal published by Wiley.[9]


Nadia Magnenat Thalmann has made numerous research contributions in the general area of computer graphics and is best known for her work on simulating realistic virtual humans. She also made early contributions in computer graphics during her PhD by simulating and visualizing 3D electronic densities of the Schrödinger equation's approximate solutions (1977).[10][11] Later on, she pioneered the modelling of realistic Virtual Humans, particularly producing the first simulation of a 3D version of Marilyn Monroe[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] in the film Rendez-vous in Montreal (1987)[19][20][21][22][23][24] This film was shown in world premiere at the Place des Arts in Montreal to celebrate 100 years of engineering in Canada.[25] She also showed her film at the Modern Art Museum in New York in 1988 along with Canadian computer artists.[26]

She published several landmark papers on facial and body deformation methods[20][21][27][28] and cloth simulation.[29][30] She made several original contributions in MRI segmentation methods correlated with clinical findings.[31][32][33] She also modelled the simulation of Virtual Ballerinas where their hip cartilage deformations can be visualized while dancing.[34][31] She further demonstrates see-through knee articulations of real soccer players.[35] Since 2008, she has started at MIRALab, University of Geneva, a research with the humanoid robot EVA and demonstrated a first model of a realistic robot showing emotions and having a memory model.[36] More recently, she has worked on the social autonomous robot Nadine,[37][38] modeled in her image, that is able to speak, recognize people and gestures, express mood and emotions, and remember actions.[39] Nadine has been shown at the ArtScience Museum, in the exhibition HUMAN+: The Future of our Species, in Singapore, which has attracted more than 100 000 visitors.[40][41]

Honors and awards[edit]

Thalmann has received more than 30 honors and awards[6] such as "Woman of the Year",[42][43] for early original contribution in computer graphics in Montreal (1987). More recently, she was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa in Natural sciences from Leibniz University Hannover (2009),[44] an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Ottawa[45] (2010) and a Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society[46] in Toronto (2012). The same year she received the prestigious Humboldt Research Award[47] in Germany, given to academics whose fundamental discoveries, new theories, or insights have had a significant impact on their own discipline and who are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements in the future. She has also produced several award-winning films, among them "Virtual Marilyn" at the Golden Camera Ceremony in Berlin.[48] She was also selected as a Pioneer in Information Technology at the Heinz Nixdorf Computer Museum's Electronic Wall of Fame in Germany.[49] Her film "High Fashion in Equations" has won the CGI 2007 Best International Scientific Video award[50] and was shown in the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre in the same year.[51] Nadine, her Social Robot, has received more than 1.2 million video views online, and over 200 publications in international media.[52]


The following filmography contains a hundred of films demonstrating the interdisciplinary research of Nadia Magnenat Thalmann and her team in Virtual Humans, Social Robots, Cultural Heritage, 3D Fashion shows, 3D medical patients, and early Mixed Reality.


  1. ^ Google Scholar h-index
  2. ^ Nadine Social Robot
  3. ^ Inaugural lecture by Nadia Thalmann
  4. ^ CV
  5. ^ European Research Projects
  6. ^ a b CV pages
  7. ^ Computer Graphics Society
  8. ^ The Visual Computer Editor-in-Chief
  9. ^ Computer Animation Journal Co-Editor-in-Chief
  10. ^ N. Magnenat Thalmann, A New Computer Program for Generating Three-Dimensional Plots of Electronic Densities and Related Contour Levels, Chimia, Swiss Chemical Society, vol. 31, no. 9, pp.361-362, 1977
  11. ^ N. Magnenat Thalmann and J. Weber, LCAO Xα calculation of the ionization energies of small molecules, Chemical Physics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 47, no. 3, 1977
  12. ^ The Ottawa Citizen, Tuesday, June 16, 1987
  13. ^ The Gazette from Montreal, May 21, 1987
  14. ^ Culture et Société, Montreal, May 21, 1987
  15. ^ Arts et spectacles, La Presse, Montreal, May 21, 1987
  16. ^ Point de mire, La Suisse, September 24, 1987
  17. ^ Playback, June 1, 1987
  18. ^ Vancouver Sun, June 16, 1987
  19. ^ N. Magnenat Thalmann and D. Thalmann, The Direction of Synthetic Actors in the film Rendez-vous à Montreal, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE publisher, vol. 7, no. 12, pp. 9-19, 1987
  20. ^ a b N. Magnenat Thalmann, E. Primeau and D. Thalmann, Abstract Muscle Action Procedures for Human Face Animation, The Visual Computer, Springer Verlag, vol. 3, no. 5, pp. 290-297, 1987
  21. ^ a b N. Magnenat Thalmann, R. Laperrière and D. Thalmann, Joint-Dependent Local Deformations for Hand Animation and Object Grasping, Proceeding of Graphics Interface ’88, A. K. Peters Ltd., pp. 26-33, 1988
  22. ^ Os truques da vanguarda, Wednesday, November 25, 1987
  23. ^ Het Vrije Volk, Saturday, June 27, 1987
  24. ^ Eurographics, Holland, November, 1987
  25. ^ World Premiere at the Place des Arts
  26. ^ Animatie in Canada serieuze onderneming
  27. ^ P. Kalra, A. Mangili, N. Magnenat Thalmann and D. Thalmann, Simulation of Facial Muscle Actions Based on Rational Free Form Deformations, Proceeding of Eurographics ’92, Cambridge, UK, pp. 59-69, 1992
  28. ^ H. Seo and N. Magnenat Thalmann, LoD Management on Animating Face Models, Proceeding of IEEE Virtual Reality 2000, New Brunswick, USA, IEEE Publisher, pp. 161-168, October 2000
  29. ^ M. Carignan, Y. Yang, N. Magnenat Thalmann and D. Thalmann, Dressing animated synthetic actors with complex deformable clothes, Proceedings of the 19th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques SIGGRAPH '92, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 99 – 104, July 1992
  30. ^ P. Volino, M. Courchesne and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Versatile and Efficient Techniques for Simulating Cloth and Other Deformable Objects, Proceeding of Image-Based Modeling, Rendering, and Lighting (SIGGRAPH ’95), Computer Graphics, pp. 137-144, 1995
  31. ^ a b J. Schmid, J. Kim and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Extreme Leg Motion Analysis of Professional Ballet Dancers via MRI Segmentation of Multiple Leg Postures, International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (IF: 1.659), Springer, vol. 6, no.1, pp.45-57, May 2010
  32. ^ B. Gilles and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Musculoskeletal MRI Segmentation Using Multi-resolution Simplex Meshes with Medial Representations, Medical Image Analysis (IF: 3.681), Elsevier, vol.14, pp.291-302, June 2010
  33. ^ B. Gilles, F. Kolo-Christophe, N. Magnenat Thalmann, C. Becker, S. Duc, J. Menetrey and P. Hoffmeyer, MRI-based Assessment of Hip Joint Translations, Journal of Biomechanics (IF: 2.496), vol. 42, no.9, pp.1201-1205, June 19, 2009
  34. ^ C. Charbonnier, F.C. Kolo, V.B. Duthon, N. Magnenat Thalmann, C.D. Becker, P. Hoffmeyer, and J. Menetrey, Assessment of Congruence and Impingement of the Hip Joint in Professional Ballet Dancers, American Journal of Sports Medicine (IF: 4.699), vol. 39, pp.557-566, March, 2011
  35. ^ A. Chincisan, K. Tecante, M. Becker, N. Magnenat Thalmann, C. Hurschler, H.F. Choi, A computational approach to calculate personalized pennation angle based on MRI: effect on motion analysis, Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery (IF: 1.66), DOI: 10.1007/s11548-015-1251-9, July 2015
  36. ^ Z. Kasap and N. Magnenat Thalmann, Building long-term relationships with virtual and robotic characters: the role of remembering, The Visual Computer (IF: 1.073), vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 87-97, January 2012
  37. ^ Nadine
  38. ^ Media coverage on Nadine
  39. ^ J. Zhang J, N. Magnenat Thalmann and J. Zheng, Combining Memory and Emotion With Dialog on Social Companion: A Review, Proceedings of the ACM 29th International Conference on Computer Animation and Social Agents (CASA 2016), pp. 1-9, Geneva, Switzerland, May 23–25, 2016
  40. ^ Nadine at the Singapore ArtScience Museum
  41. ^ Media coverage on Nadine exhibition
  42. ^ L'École des hautes études commerciales, Woman of the Year, 1987
  43. ^ Journal des Ingénieurs, Le Plan, Québec Juillet/août 1987
  44. ^ Awarded Doctor Honoris Causa in Natural sciences from Leibniz University Hannover
  45. ^ Honorary Doctorate of the University of Ottawa
  46. ^ Career Achievement Award from the Canadian Human Computer Communications Society
  47. ^ Humboldt Research Award
  48. ^ "Virtual Marilyn" at the Golden Camera Ceremony
  49. ^ Heinz Nixdorf Computer Museum’s Electronic Wall of Fame
  50. ^ CGI 2007 Best International Scientific Video award
  51. ^ SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre 2007
  52. ^ Nadine Press Releases

External links[edit]