Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Cesarsky, Catherine
Location CEA Saclay
Primary Field Astronomy
Secondary Field Physics
 Election Citation
From France, Cesarsky is a pioneer of space infrared astronomy. She has made seminal contributions to the study of star formation in near and distant galaxies, the cosmic infrared background, and the confinement and acceleration of cosmic rays.
 Research Interests
In the first part of my career, I did theoretical and phenomenological work in high-energy astrophysics. I studied cosmic ray propagation, and developed an energy-dependent leaky box model based on resonant interactions of cosmic rays with hydromagnetic waves, in relation with interstellar turbulence and the heating of the interstellar medium. With P. O. Lagage, we studied diffusive particle acceleration in astrophysical shocks, and established an upper limit to the energy that cosmic rays can gain from a supernova shock through this mechanism. Subsequently, I have led the development of the camera on board of the Infrared Space Observatory, and organized the ISOCAM Central programme, which provided new insights into infrared emission from the diffuse interstellar medium and normal galaxies, star formation in molecular clouds, dust formation in supernovae, dust embedded star formation in colliding galaxies, etc. I was the Principal Investigator of the ITGES collaboration, which conducted deep surveys with ISOCAM, with a gain in sensitivity with respect to the previous mission, IRAS, of more than three orders of magnitude. We showed that the dominant contributors to the considerable energy in the Cosmic Infrared Background are Luminous Infrared Galaxies with median redshift 0.8. We continue our studies on galaxy evolution, using space as well as ground-based facilities, and in particular the ESO Very Large Telescope.

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