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New faces in GEPI

Since the last few months, new faces appeared in GEPI: with PhD studentships, post-doctoral or permanent positions. They join the administrative staff, the Instrumental Pole or the team “Stellar and Galactic Physics” in the Scientific Pole. Steve Boudreault, Anaëlle Hallé, Ingrid Jean-Baptiste, Patricia Maillot, Nicolas Pécriaux et Laura Ruiz-Dern are introducing themselves in this article.

 Steve Boudreault

I am a Gaia Computer Scientist at the Paris Observatory, Meudon site. I am working on the project FP7 Genius and CU9 for the validation of the scientific data from Gaia.

After a degree in Physics at Laval University in Quebec City and a Master degree at Montreal University in Montreal (Canada), I moved to Heidelberg (Germany) where I obtained my PhD in 2008 at Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg with a thesis about the formation of brown dwarfs.

After a short period at Stony Brook University as a visiting astronomer, I joined the Gaia team at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory as a Gaia data flow system scientist at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory within the CU6 (Spectroscopic Processing) group. My main task was to work on the calibration of the bias non-uniformity that will affect the Gaia Radial Velocity Spectrometer and Photometer.

Before I joined the Paris Observatory, I was based at the Insituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Tenerife as a postdoctoral research staff.

My astronomical interests include brown dwarfs, open clusters, stellar and substellar mass functions, and optical/near infrared photometry and spectroscopy.

 Anaëlle Hallé

I have recently started a year of ATER (temporary position in research and teaching) to work on external discs of spiral galaxies with Paola Di Matteo and Misha Haywood. After studies with a major in physics at the preparatory classes of the Lycée Brizeux in Quimper and then at the ENS of Paris, I turned to astrophysics by following the master’s course in astrophysics (M2) in Paris Observatory. I defended my Ph.D. thesis on molecular hydrogen in simulations of disc galaxies in May 2013. The Ph.D. thesis work was done under the supervision of Françoise Combes.

 Ingrid Jean-Baptiste

“Why do stars have different colors?” This simple question I asked myself at the age of 15 years has changed my life . And, from one question to one another, it took me to physics studies at the University Paris 7 Denis Diderot. So I completed my studies in the Master 2 , Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Engineering, proposed by Paris Observatory and I just started my first year of PhD in GEPI, supervised by Paola Di Matteo and Ana Gómez, on the study of accretion of globular clusters in the Milky Way .

Understanding the formation of our Galaxy is one of the greatest challenges of modern astronomy. One of the consequences of the scenario of hierarchical structure formation, where galaxies, like the Milky Way, are built by accretion of smaller galaxies, is that some globular clusters contained in dwarf galaxies survive even after the merger of their host galaxies with another system. Therefore, a fraction of globular clusters in the disc, the bulge and the halo of the Milky Way would come from satellite galaxies and then add to the globular clusters formed in situ. My thesis is therefore to reconstruct the history of accretion of the Milky Way, on the one hand through N-body simulations at high resolution to explain the dynamic evolution of accretions of globular clusters from dwarf galaxies by our Galaxy and on the other hand, by comparing observational data with signatures from simulations to predict the probability of a cluster being accreted or have formed in situ.

 Patricia Maillot

What could I tell to introduce myself ? First things first : I am the eldest in a family of four girls so no siblings when I arrived on Earth on a Friday, July 20 (very important date to remember! : subliminal message). I lived my first thirty years on the island of Reunion, where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education in 2004. I intended to become a schoolteatcher and then I had the opportunity to be outside French educational system and I said “never again”. I applied to other positions at the Reunion Island, unfortunately without success. The blue sky, the sun and the sea is not doing everything, I decided in 2009 (on my 30th birthday) to come for a ride in the IDF to find stable work area. I landed in Paris with my bags on September 16th 2009 and I was lucky not to have been known a single day of unemployment, but also to enter a competition MESR in 2013. Since September 16, 2013 I am therefore part of GEPI as manager. And that’s how I introduced myself in a few lines: my exercise is now completed and it was not so difficult after all.

 Nicolas Pécriaux

I was born and I grew up near Paris. I belong to this category of people who preferred to sleep or make others laugh during class from 1st Grade to 12th Grade. Always closer to the heater than the average, I still graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 2011-2012. I am now in the second year of IUT Physical Measurement at the University of Paris-Est-Créteil, which is characterized by a multidisciplinary training in metrology (from theoretical approach to practice) in most areas of physics : harmonic thermal analysis and signal processing, electricity, electronics, mechanics, optics, materials ...

I decided to make this second year of DUT as a sandwich training (with periods of one month for 1 year) and so I decided to make a spontaneous demand to Paris Observatory, because of the special interest I have for the study of the universe as a whole.

This desire to understand the universe and its complexity began when I was very young, thanks to the many cinematographic masterpieces that exist on the subject. Finally, I would like to quote dear Dr Emmett Brown: “Marty, I didn’t invent the time machine for financial gain ! The intent here is to gain a clearer perception of humanity. Where we’ve been, where we’re going, the pitfalls, the possibilities, the perils, and the promise. Perhaps even an answer to that universal question, Why?”.

 Laura Ruiz-Dern

Find the passion of my life has never been clear to me. Over the years, nobody could guess what would be my way, and I always had many options in mind. But I knew that finding an answer to everything, understand everything that is around me, great challenges ... was for me a source of great motivation. At midnight the night before I decided what would be my university studies, I just watched the slightly starry sky from the window, and I said: “I ​​do not know what my future will be, but I want to know what is happening upthere !” . And to the surprise of all my family, friends and teachers, I chose physics, following in the footsteps of my father who is also an astrophysicist.

So I studied at the Universitat de Barcelona, the city where I was born. The first year I had the opportunity to follow a course of Astronomy who opened the doors to a more than exciting way. But the key moment was the unforgettable “Observational Astronomy” course I had in the third year, when I had the pleasure to deal with astronomy in a more concrete manner, analyzing all types of astronomical data, and making observations in Observatory Montsec (Lleida , Spain) and the Calar Alto Observatory (Almería , Spain). And all this in the company of fantastic teachers, and especially great colleagues : Sergi , Montse , and Dídac (who since became very good friends ), without whom astronomy would not be the same for me.

After astronomy courses during an internship at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), I followed the Master in Astrophysics, Particle Physics and Cosmology in Barcelona, ​​with wonderful teachers who include many researchers working for the Gaia Mission. A mission that is now also mine since October 1st, 2013: I have the honor to be part of the Gaia CU9 team (led by Xavier Luri, Universitat de Barcelona), doing my PhD thesis at Paris Observatory, supervised by Carine Babusiaux and Frédéric Arenou. The aim of my thesis is to develop statistical validation tools that will help prepare the archive for future scientific exploitation of Gaia data. I hope to apply these methods by the end of my thesis on the first actual data of Gaia, and be able to contribute to the understanding of this little piece of Universe where we live !