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Jean-Loup Bertaux

Jean-Loup Bertaux
Jean-Loup Bertaux

The 2010 Christiaan Huygens Medal is awarded to Jean-Loup Bertaux for his significant achievements through innovation and development of space- borne spectrometers and related instrumentation for investigations of the atmospheres of the planets and of the interplanetary medium.

Jean-Loup Bertaux, of French nationality, was born on 8 January 1942. For a long time he has been active as Director of Research at the Service d’Aéronomie of CNRS at Verrières le Buisson, France. He was recently nominated Director of Research Exceptional Class and is presently emeritus Director.

He has worked on many topics, including the Earth’s atmosphere (stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and the hydrogen exosphere), cometary environments (nucleus, dust, gas and the huge hydrogen envelope), planetary atmospheres (Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Uranus, Neptune and Triton), the interplanetary medium, and the solar wind, using both ground-based and space-based instruments. He has always had a close connection and understanding of the instruments and has taken active part in the design and development of several of these. He has had full responsibility, being the Principal Investigator, of SPICAM on Mars Express, SPICAV on Venus Express and SWAN on SOHO. These advanced and innovative spectrometers, covering wavelengths from the UV to the near IR, have led to important new scientific findings.

Bertaux has for several decades played a leading role in the development of Earth, space and planetary science in Europe and has made important contributions to many space missions. He has participated in at least one space mission to each of all 9 planets. Bertaux has authored or co-authored more than 180 refereed publications, including 20 in Nature and Science, in the fields of planetary atmospheres and interplanetary medium and the related instrumentation.