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Newcomers in the Scientific Pole

Since the end of last year, new young scientists (in PhD or postdoctoral position) have joined the teams of the Scientific Pole. Each of them (Hadi Rahmani, Ilane Schroetter, Jean-Baptiste Vielfaure and ZengHua Zhang) presents himself in this article.

Catherine Jacquard, newcomer in the administrative team, is presented in a previous article.

 Hadi Rahmani (هادی رحمانی)

I was born in a very beautiful city, called Sari, in the north of Iran near the coast of the Caspian sea, where I stayed until finishing my high school. The city is well known for the numerous orange trees in the sides of the streets that smell a very nice scent of orange blossom during Spring.

I studied physics in my Bachelor during which I got interested in astronomy. By finishing my MSc in astronomy I moved to IUCAA to do a PhD in astronomy. IUCAA is a famous institute for astronomy in Pune that is a big city in the west of India. During my PhD I focused on QSO absorption line studies and high resolution spectroscopy to study the variation of fundamental physical constants. After my PhD I did a one year postdoc at IPM in Tehran. I then moved to LAM in Marseille and did my second postdoc working with Céline Péroux from Feb. 2015 to Sept. 2017.

Currently I am a PSL fellow at GEPI, partly working on ELT/MOSAIC with François Hammer and Mathieu Puech. Following are my main research interests:

  • The interplay between the circumgalactic medium and galaxies,
  • IGM tomography,
  • cosmological variation of physical constants.

I am usually using VLT (UVES/X-Shooter/MUSE) observations in my research.

Personally, I am always happy to talk about science or anything else. Feel free to knock at my door at room 157 in building des Communs, in Meudon, and ignite an interesting discussion!

 Ilane Schroetter

Born in a small town about 60 kilometers north of Lyon known as Bourg-en-Bresse, my name is Ilane. I arrived at GEPI in October 2017 as a postdoctoral researcher. Passionate about astrophysics, and especially galaxies, I passed my degree in fundamental physics in Lyon, after a detour through Grenoble before. Then, I moved to Toulouse to take my Master in Astrophysics and I passed it in 2013.

I started my PhD thesis in Toulouse under the supervision of Nicolas Bouché and Thierry Contini on the characterization of galactic winds using quasars in the background and 3D spectroscopy (mainly SINFONI, UVES and MUSE instruments, all three located on the VLT in Chile).

The beginning of my thesis was also for me the beginning of scientific outreach with my integration into the organizing team of the Astro-Jeunes festival which is held every year in August in Fleurance (Gers) and hosts more than 150 children a day for a whole week. Then came the creation of the associations Universciel (organization of the Astro-Jeunes festival and scientific popularization interventions in schools and cities in France) and Astrojeunes (which organizes popularization activities all over the world but does not organize the Astro-Jeunes festival ...) with which I continue to work.

After my thesis defense in January 2017, I continued my research on galactic winds. I’ve been applying my MUSE data expertise to more distant galaxies (redshift> 3) since October 2017, when I started a two-year postdoctoral position with Susanna Vergani in GEPI.

 Jean-Baptiste Vielfaure

Amazed by our Universe since I was a child, I understood early on that the best way to understand it was to study astrophysics. Originally from Ardeche, I studied theoretical physics and astrophysics at the university in Toulouse. Then, I began to be interested in the observational part of this field and the distant galaxies at the origin of the current Universe.

I arrived at GEPI during my 2nd year master internship, supervised by Susanna Vergani, on the study of Gamma-Ray Burst host galaxies at high redshift. In the continuity of this internship, I started my PhD thesis in October 2017 on the same subject. This project will better characterize this type of galaxies and their environment, often forgotten by large surveys because they are too faint.

My office is the 161 at the building of the Communs, feel free to stop by, my door is always open for a discussion either about astrophysics or other topics. I am also interested in art (especially painting) and sport (hiking, climbing ...).


 ZengHua Zhang (张曾华)

I was born and raised in Tai’an, Shandong province of China. I studied physics at Yantai University. Then I started my MSc on stellar physics at the Yunnan Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, because of my curiosity on those shining stars in the night sky.

Later on, I was more fascinated with brown dwarfs, a new population of sub-stars which mainly emit near-infrared light and are not visible by naked eyes. Therefore, I continued my research on brown dwarfs at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK as a PhD student. My research interests were locked on old metal-poor very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs during my PhD. Then I obtained an IAC fellowship to join the brown dwarf group at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, where one of the first brown dwarfs (Teide 1) was discovered back in 1995.

I joined the GEPI department in Observatoire de Paris as a PSL fellow in 2017. Now, I am working with GEPI’s stellar group on wide binary systems composed of both stars and brown dwarfs. We will use the Gaia and VISTA surveys to identify such binaries and use them as benchmarks to characterize brown dwarfs and calibrate ultra-cool atmospheric models and substellar evolutionary models.

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