2019 Olivier Chesneau Prize Awarded to Jozua de Boer

29 April 2019

The 2019 Olivier Chesneau Prize has been awarded to Jozua de Boer, for his PhD thesis entitled “High-contrast Imaging of Protoplanetary Disks“. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, having completed his PhD there in 2018.  

The Prize was established by ESO and the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur to commemorate the life and work of the pioneering astronomer Olivier Chesneau [1]. It is awarded biennially for the best PhD thesis completed in the field of high angular resolution astronomy.

Jozua impressed the board of judges with the breadth of his work combining recognised skills with novel instruments such as SPHERE— the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch instrument installed on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Studying these planet-forming discs presents a great challenge to astronomers because they are very dim compared to the stars they surround, but Jozua overcame those challenges by means of careful calibration, data collection, and analysis. The results of this effort have not only expanded our understanding of the conditions of planet formation, but also pioneered techniques that can be used to observe other phenomena as well, including everything from comets and asteroids to exoplanets and evolved stars.

The prize ceremony will be held during the the annual week of the French Society for Astronomy and Astrophysics (SF2A) in Nice (France) in May 2019, where Jozua will receive a cash prize of €1000. He will also have the opportunity to present his work at the ESO Headquarters in Garching, Germany.


[1] Olivier Chesneau (1972–2014) was a talented scientist who was animated and passionate about his subject. He led pioneering work using visible and infrared long-baseline interferometry to study disc formation around many astrophysical objects, including evolved massive stars, planetary nebulae and novae. His foremost results include the study of the environments close to Eta Carinae and other massive stars, the first direct detection of discs in planetary nebulae, finding evidence of dust bipolar ejections by novae shortly after eruption, and the discovery of the largest yellow hypergiant star in the Milky Way. His findings were often widely publicised through press releases from ESO and CNRS-INSU. The 2012 Michelson Prize of the International Astronomical Union and the Mount Wilson Institute was awarded to Olivier Chesneau for major contributions in stellar astrophysics made with long-baseline interferometry.



For questions about the prize please email:

Calum Turner
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6676

About the Announcement



Olivier Chesneau Prize logo
Olivier Chesneau Prize logo
Jozua de Boer at Paranal
Jozua de Boer at Paranal