Pierre Lena Académie des Sciences, Paris & Université Paris Diderot & Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Vatican City
Member since 1991 of Académie des sciences, Pierre Léna, born 1937 in Paris, is a French astrophysicist, involved in science education. He is Emeritus Professor of astrophysics at the Université Paris Diderot, working at Paris Observatory, where he directed a lresearch group.
The scientific work of Pierre Léna is centered on infrared astronomy. He contributed to model the solar atmosphere. Adapting speckle interferometry, he was first to apply it to star formation and measure the size of forming stars. This work led him to organize the European Very Large Telescope (VLT) as an interferometer.
Beginning 1984, his team was first to implement adaptive optics on a telescope, now worldwide adopted. He authored100 scientific articles, several books on astrophysics, science education, popular books and television series.
He directed the Graduate School of Astrophysics at Université Paris 7 before becoming Director of the Ecole doctorale Astronomie d’Ile-de-France (1997-2003).
His interest in education made him Président of the Institut national de recherche pédagogique (1991-1997) and to co-found the La main à la pâte, action renovating science education in schools (1996). He directed the Education Office of the Académie. He pursued the work on science education at international level, as Coordinator of the Science Education Program (InterAcademyPartnership). In 2011, he became President of the Foundation, La main à la pâte, created by the Académie des sciences to develop science education, then In 2014 Honorary President.
He is member of Academia Europeae, of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of several science Academies in Latin America.