Skip to main content

Best Early Career Researcher in New Technologies

Dr. Sylvestre Lacour

After his graduation from Ecole Normale Supérieure in electrical engineering, Sylvestre Lacour worked at The Johns Hopkins University from 2000 to 2002 as software engineer for the FUSE satellite. He pursued with a PhD in astrophysics on a project combining pupil remapping and long-baseline optical interferometry. It consisted partly in building a single-mode pupil remapping prototype instrument (FIRST), and partly in acquiring and interpreting observations from the IOTA interferometric array (Mount Hopkins, Arizona). After the successful defence of his PhD in 2007, he obtained a Lavoisier fellowship to pursue his research in high angular resolution instrumentation at the University of Sydney. He developed there a strong expertise in the emerging technique of pupil masking. Over the last years, he benefits from a CNRS tenured position at the Observatory of Paris, allowing him to work on the application of the pupil masking technique to the study of young stellar objects. As an expert in high precision astrometry, he is also deeply involved in the GRAVITY instrument for the VLT Interferometer.

Sylvestre Lacour is the leading European specialist in the pupil masking and pupil remapping observing techniques. These two techniques provide a unique combination of high contrast and high angular resolution that is key to studying the immediate environment of stars in all evolutionary stages. He also developed a complete pipeline to
reduce this kind of observations, which are now performed by major astronomical facilities. This effort lead to an important result on scattering dust around evolved stars and opened a new observational window on the inner structure of transition disks, where extrasolar planets are expected to form.

Sylvestre Lacour started working in the field of interferometry since his PhD at the Observatoire de Paris. He then fully developed the field aperture masking during the Lavoisier Fellowship at Sydney University and a second post-doctoral position at the Observatoire de Grenoble. Since 2009 he is affiliated with the Observatoire de Paris, France