International Day of Women and Girls in Science

To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, AFRAN is pleased to remind you of the interviews from three great scientists highly involved in French-Australian cooperation!



Creating artificial stars with Prof. Céline d'Orgeville


Prof. Céline d’Orgeville is Deputy Director of the Advanced Instrumentation and Technology Center of the Australian National University (ANU). Expert in optics and space instrumentation, Céline uses the “adaptive optics” technique to improve our images of Space.


Turbulence caused by variations in temperature, pressure and composition of the atmosphere alter our observation of Space. That is why stars sparkle instead of being fixed points of light. In order to obtain clear images of stars, galaxies or satellites, it is therefore necessary to remove the effects of this turbulence from the images.

To do so, Pr. Céline d’Orgeville creates artificial stars 100 km above the ground, using an adaptive optics technique called Laser Guide Star. To create these stars, a laser beam is sent from the observatory to excite the sodium atoms located in the mesosphere, making them glow. These artificial stars allow Celine to quantify atmospheric turbulences, and then subtract them from the images taken of Space.


An active member of AFRAN, Céline continues to maintain strong ties with France, as evidenced by her current cooperation with the French Aerospace Research Centre ONERA on the application of adaptive optics to laser communication.


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Fighting infectious diseases with Prof. Sharon Lewin


Prof. Sharon Lewin is the Director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne. Specialised in virology, her main interest is in finding a cure for HIV, and to understand why HIV goes into hiding in people on treatment. In the last 2 years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she became very active in the response to SARS-CoV-2. She is internationally recognised for her work as a leading infectious diseases expert.


Sharon is involved in many scientific collaborations, and has a long history of cooperation with France. She was recently appointed as President of the scientific advisory board of the new French Agency for Research on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ANRS-MIE). She worked on HIV at the Hôpital Pitié Salpêtrière in Paris, and continue to collaborate actively with the French Institut Pasteur specialised on micro-organisms, diseases and vaccine.



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Matilda effect in archeology with Dr. Emilie Dotte-Sarout


Prof. Emilie Dotte is a French archaeologist born in New Caledonia who’s been living in Australia for 12 years. She is specialised in interactions between humans and their environment (archeobotanical studies), and on the study of archeology and its development as a field of scientific studies in the Pacific (historiography).


Emilie's work focuses on the history of the first women who worked as archaeologists in the Pacific region, and those who most actively contributed to developing this field of scientific studies, especially between the end of the 19th century and the mid-20th century. At that time, women in general had a hard time getting access to scientific training, and struggled to obtain diplomas.


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