The 2008 Runcorn-Florensky Medal is awarded to Christophe Sotin for his outstanding work on the structure and internal dynamics of the Earth, Mars, and satellites of Giant planets, and his major contribution to several planetary space missions.
Christophe Sotin has extensively worked during all his career on the structure and internal dynamics of the Earth, Mars, and satellites of Giant Planets. After his thesis defended in 1986 at the University of Paris VII, he was appointed as professor at the University of Paris XII (Orsay) from 1988 to 1993, then as professor at the University of Nantes since 1993. He also benefited from a position of Distinguished Visiting Scientist at JPL–Caltech (Californie) in 2005 and 2006. He is presently co-investigator of the infrared instrument (VIMS) aboard the Cassini spacecraft and co-investigator of the OMEGA instrument aboard the Mars-Express mission. He is also involved in Bepi-Colombo.
Christophe Sotin has published 90 refereed articles in international journals of first class and made more than 60 invited communications. His most recent works concern the interior of Europa, Ceres as well as the surfaces of Iapetus, Phoebe and Titan investigated by the VIMS instrument. He is playing a major role in the analysis of infrared spectra recorded by this instrument. Recently, he advocated for the probability of episodic outgassing as the source of atmospheric methane on Titan, a scenario which strongly constrains the evolution of the atmosphere of the satellite.
Christophe Sotin has developed planetology science in Nantes. His action has led his laboratory to play a major role, both in theory and experiments, in France, where he has acquired a great reputation. His involvement in grandiose missions as Cassini and Mars -Express will benefit to the whole Planetology Community in Europe.