eso9901 — Organisation Release

Catherine Cesarsky - ESO's Next Director General

8 January 1999

The ESO Council has appointed Dr. Catherine Cesarsky as Director General for a five year period, succeeding Professor Riccardo Giacconi, whose term ends this year. Dr. Cesarsky will take up her duties on September 1, 1999, at the ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany).

The ESO Council has appointed Dr. Catherine Cesarsky as Director General for a five year period, succeeding Professor Riccardo Giacconi, whose term ends this year. Dr. Cesarsky will take up her duties on September 1, 1999, at the ESO Headquarters in Garching (Germany).

Dr. Cesarsky was born in France in 1943. She received a degree in Physical Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires and graduated with a PhD in Astronomy in 1971 from Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass., USA). Afterwards she worked at the California Institute of Technology (CALTECH).

In 1974, she became a staff member of the Service d'Astrophysique (SAp) , Direction des Sciences de la Matière (DSM), Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) (France). She headed the theoretical group of the SAp (1978-1985), was Head of SAp (1985-1993) and has been Director of DSM since 1994. The DSM encompasses, at the CEA, activities of basic research in physics, chemistry, astrophysics and earth sciences and comprises about 3000 scientists, engineers, technicians, etc.

Dr. Cesarsky is known for her successful research activities in several central areas of modern astrophysics. The first part of her career was devoted to the high-energy domain. This has involved studies of the propagation and composition of galactic cosmic rays, of matter and fields in the diffuse interstellar medium, as well as the acceleration of particles in astrophysical shocks, e.g. in connection with supernovae.

She then turned to infrared astronomy. She is the Principal Investigator of the ISOCAM camera onboard the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) of the European Space Agency (ESA) and, as such, she leads the ISOCAM central programme. It studies, in a coordinated way, the infrared emission from a variety of galactic and extragalactic sources and is yielding new and exciting results on star formation and galactic evolution.

Dr. Cesarsky received the COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) Space Science Award in 1998.

She is a member of many national and international associations and organisations within physics, astrophysics and space sciences, and of related working groups and committees. She has assumed several chairs and presidencies in these, e.g., as Vice-President of the ESO Council and of the European Astronomical Society (EAS) , and Chairperson of ESO's Observing Programmes Committee . She is Vice-President of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) since 1997. She has also been Editor-in-Chief of the European journal "Astronomy & Astrophysics" .

She is married and has two children.

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About the Release

Release No.:eso9901
Legacy ID:PR 01/99
Name:ESO Director General
Type:• X - People and Events

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