CNRS Gold Medallists

The physicists Alain Brillet and Thibault Damour were rewarded for their major theoretical and instrumental contributions to the first direct detection of gravitational waves by the LIGO-Virgo consortium.

The engineer Alain Brillet is an emeritus senior researcher at the Artemis laboratory1CNRS/Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur/Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis. Since the 1980s he has concentrated on the development of the Virgo gravitational wave detector. In the 2000s he focused on optical design and that of the laser system fitted on the second-generation detector Advanced Virgo.
The theoretician Thibault Damour is internationally renowned for his innovative research into black holes, pulsars, gravitational waves and quantum cosmology. A tenured professor at the IHES2Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (CNRS/Université Paris-Saclay), he has contributed to the direct detection of gravitational waves by developing a new theoretical approach which can be used to describe the coalescence of two black holes and the subsequent emission of gravitational waves.

The four faces of innovation

Raphaèle Herbin, Jean-Pierre Nozières, Jean-Marie Tarascon and Jamal Tazi are the four laureates of the CNRS Medal of Innovation 2016.

Raphaèle Herbin, head of the Institut de Mathématiques de Marseille3CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université, is a specialist in the digital analysis of partial differential equations. She developed modelling and digital simulation algorithms, which are used in many disciplines, notably by the French National Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).

Jean-Pierre Nozières is an accomplished entrepreneur, who specializes in spintronics. He is the co-founder of the SPINTEC4Spintronique et Technologie des Composants (CNRS/CEA/Université Grenoble Alpes) laboratory and founder of four start-up companies: Crocus Technology (2004), eVaderis (2014), Antaïos (2016) and Hprobe (2017). He also filed 25 new patents.

Jean-Marie Tarascon is a professor of the Collège de France and director of the Solid State Chemistry-Energy group5CNRS/Collège de France/Sorbonne Université. He is the pioneer of sodium-ion batteries, which use sodium, one of the most abundant elements on Earth, as an alternative to lithium. This technology led to the creation of the Tiamat start-up. Jean-Marie Tarascon also received the Samson Award in 2017.

Jamal Tazi is a specialist of functional genomics. He heads the RNA metabolism research team at the Montpellier-based IGMM6Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier (CNRS/Université de Montpellier). Having laid the groundwork for epigenetics, he uses research into alternative splicing to develop new drugs for the treatment of viral diseases, such as AIDS.



Emilie Maurice, a postdoctoral fellow at the LLR7Laboratoire Leprince-Ringuet (CNRS/Ecole Polytechnique), is the laureate of a L’Oréal-UNESCO award “For Women in Science”, in recognition of her research into the nature of quark and gluon plasma, as it existed in the early days of the Universe.

Justine Serrano is a researcher at the Centre de Physique des Particules de Marseille8CNRS/Aix-Marseille Université. She is the laureate of the Georges Charpak Prize of the Académie des Sciences for her work on B mesons. Among other goals, she aims to elucidate the mystery of asymmetry between matter and antimatter at the scale of the Universe.

Raphaël Rodriguez of the Chemical Biology of Membranes and Therapeutic Delivery9CNRS/Institut Curie/Inserm laboratory was named Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry for his research at the interface between chemistry and cancer biology.

The 2017 Coups d’Elan Prize for French Research rewarded three CNRS laureates: Valérie Castellani10NeuroMyoGène Institute (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon/Inserm), Marcello Nollmann11Centre de Biochimie Structurale (CNRS/Université de Montpellier/Inserm/Inra) and Terence Strick12Institut de Biologie de l’École Normale Supérieure (CNRS/ENS/Inserm), in recognition for the quality of their teams and the promising nature of their research. The Prize is meant to enable them to optimize their installations.

Leïla Perié13Laboratoire Physico-chimie Curie (Institut Curie/CNRS/UPMC) and Adrien Meguerditchian14Laboratory of Cognitive Psychology (CNRS/Université Aix-Marseille were handed the Claude Paletti Prize for their research on immuno-haematology and cognitive psychology.



Hélène Morlon, senior researcher at the IBENS15Institut de Biologie de l’École Normale Supérieure (CNRS/ENS/INSERM), won the 2017 Irène Joliot-Curie Young Female Scientist Prize. She was granted this distinction for her work on the modelling of biodiversity.

Sandra Lavorel is a senior researcher at the LECA16Laboratoire d’Écologie Alpine (CNRS/Université Savoie Mont Blanc/Université Grenoble Alpes). She is the recipient of the British Ecological Society’s Marsh Award for Ecology for her research into the dynamics of biodiversity and functioning of ecosystems in response to ecological disturbance and global change.

Sandrine Bony is a senior researcher at the LMD17Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (CNRS/École polytechnique/ENS Paris/Sorbonne Université). She received the Gérard Mégie Prize for her work on the study of cloud processes that affect the atmospheric dynamics and the understanding of climates, whether present or future.

Yves Meyer is a mathematician, and professor emeritus at the École Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay. He is also a member of the CMLA18Centre de Mathématiques et Leurs Applications (CNRS/ENS Paris Saclay, and received the Abel Prize for his significant contribution to the development of the theory of wavelets.