Catherine Cesarsky is an astronomer who made a name for herself in high-energy astrophysics and the interstellar medium, and later turned to studies of galaxy evolution. Throughout her career, an interest in instrumentation and observation has led her to manage important astronomical projects, bringing together scientists, observatories and industry across the world.
An expert diplomat and administrator, Catherine is used to coordinating the work of huge international, multidisciplinary teams. Formerly President of the International Astronomical Union, Director General of the European Southern Observatory, High Commissioner for Atomic Energy and adviser to the French government on science and energy issues, Catherine is now science adviser to the CEA, a government-funded research organisation. She chairs the European Space Agency’s Space Science Advisory Committee and is Vice -President of the CERN Council.
Catherine was principal investigator of the ISOCAM camera on board the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) of ESA, which flew between 1995 and 1998. The first image taken through the on-board telescope was of the spectacular ‘Whirlpool’ galaxy — the first observation of a spiral structure in infrared.