FEATURED RESEARCHERS
José-Eduardo Wesfreid
Physicist
ESPCI Paris
After studying physics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, José-Eduardo flew off to Saclay, France where he did his PhD on the Rayleigh-Bénard convection, a hydrodynamic instability well known to meteorologists. He then joined the Laboratory Physics and Mechanics of Heterogeneous Media at ESPCI Paris. Today Emeritus Research Director at the CNRS, José-Eduardo has worked throughout his career on instabilities in fluid mechanics, chaos and turbulence. His work, mainly experimental, focuses on the destabilization of fluids when passing around an obstacle. He has notably developed optical methods for visualization and measurement in fluid mechanics. He has also worked as a scientific consultant for Schlumberger and met Sophie Goujon-Durand on this occasion. Together, they were working on the design of a flowmeter; a subject for fundamental research was born out of an industrial interest.
José-Eduardo has developed a genuine interest in the history of science and the role of visualization in fluid mechanics. Hydrodynamics is a "science on a human scale", he likes "the expressive richness of the image". He is also very attached to scientific popularization. He has been the scientific secretary of a series of exhibitions on Chaos that took place in Barcelona or in the Palais de la Découverte in Paris. José-Eduardo also evokes the "temptation of pure aesthetics" in his experiments: "Although my experiments are naturally designed on the basis of scientific relevance, I am always amazed by the beauty of flows in fluid mechanics."
Artworks from José-Eduardo:
Benjamin Thiria
Physicist
ESPCI Paris
Benjamin's scientific journey began at ESPCI Paris where he did his PhD on hydrodynamic instabilities. He had the opportunity to expand his knowledge of fluid mechanics, in particular turbulence, during his post-doctorate. He then left France for the United States, New York University, where he focused on a topic that still keeps him busy today: biomimicry. The idea of ​​understanding, taking inspiration from and reproducing in the laboratory what nature has put millions of years to build fascinated him. In 2009, Benjamin formed his own research group around this topic: swimming fish, flying insects, collective behavior in animals, are typical examples of subjects he wanted to investigate in his laboratory. With Raphaël Candelier, which we also count among our artist-researchers, part of his research is now dedicated to social interactions between fish.
Benjamin has been practicing photography since he was 18, and has never really stopped expressing his art since. He likes simplicity, minimalism. "I like photographs that arouse one's curiosity. What interests me is the mystery surrounding an image", he confides. Benjamin discovered scientific photography during his PhD and found quickly the depth he was looking for. Benjamin is an esthete who gives a graphic dimension to everything related to his research. "The scientific message is greatly served when wrapped in an elegant package", says Benjamin who, undoubtedly, shares the philosophy of AiR.
Artworks from Benjamin:
Thomas Séon
Physicist
Université Pierre et Marie Curie
During his PhD at the FAST laboratory at Paris-Sud University, Thomas focused on hydrodynamic instabilities and was particularly interested in turbulent mixtures induced by gravity. He then flew off to Chile where he did a post-doctorate at the University of Santiago. His research was devoted to the study of Faraday's instability which appears when one forces the vibration of a liquid interface at high frequency and high amplitude. His journey on the other side of the Atlantic continued in Canada for a second post-doctorate where he investigated the dynamics of fluid mixing. Finally, he joined the Jean Perrin laboratory at the Pierre et Marie Curie University where he obtained a position as a CNRS researcher. Today, he focuses primarily on immiscible fluids, and is particularly interested in the destabilization mechanisms of bubbles at interfaces.
Thomas spends long hours making his experiments appear as elegant as possible, and tries to capture those moments of harmony with his camera. "My work, and the way I represent it, must be a reflection of my personality," he says.
Artworks from Thomas:
Yannick Rondelez
Chemist
ESPCI Paris
Unconventionnal is the least one could say about Yannick's journey. Yannick began his academic career with a doctorate in chemistry devoted to the study of artificial enzymes at the University Paris Descartes. He then flew off to Japan for a post-doctorate in biophysics at the University of Tokyo. He focused his research on molecular motors: nanometric workers ensuring mechanical tasks in living cells. At this point, Yannick decides to take a year off to travel around the world. After crossing the Kamchatka peninsula on foot, he decides to cross Africa by bike. In 2009, he publishes "L’Afrique à l’envers : Du Cap au Caire, à vélo" published at Les Sources du Maica. Upon his return, he worked as a journalist for a while and became a consultant in technological creativity and innovation. Eventually, Yannick returns to research and enters the CNRS at the Franco-Japanese laboratory of the University of Tokyo. Since 2008 Yannick has been interested in DNA-based molecular programming. He uses the tools of synthetic chemistry to process information. He joins the ESPCI Paris in 2016 to create his own research group within the Gulliver laboratory. Today, he is also interested in the development of diagnostic tools for the detection of enzymes.
Yannick truly values the importance of graphic representation, essential for him to interpret the data. The aesthetic component is omnipresent in his research; the images he produces must leave a mark, impact: "I like to add an aesthetic value to a successful experiment », he says.
Artworks from Yannick:
Matthieu Roche
Physico-chemist
Université Paris Diderot
Although Matthieu seemed to be destined for quantum mechanics, he decided to substitute the aesthetics of visual experiences for the abstraction of invisible objects. It was during a course on hydrodynamic instabilities that he decided to follow the path of fluid mechanics. During his PhD in Bordeaux, Matthieu worked on the destabilization of liquid crystal drops. After a short experience at the Institut de Physique de Rennes, he crossed the Atlantic to work alongside Professor Howard Stone at Princeton University. It is when his colleague Arnaud Saint-Jalmes paid him a visit that he discovered the surface flow experiment that keeps him busy today. Ready to leave the laboratory after several unsuccessful attempts, the two researchers decided to empty the sample into the sink. Surprisingly enough, they observed volutes, precious witnesses of the phenomenon they were initially looking for. At the frontier between fluid mechanics and physico-chemistry at interfaces, Matthieu developed the experiment and pushed it to its limits. He quickly found applications that attracted the attention of companies wanting to test their chemical formulations in cosmetics or the oil industry. He joined the CNRS in 2014 after a second post-doctorate at the Laboratoire de Physique du Solide in Orsay.
Matthieu enjoys using everyday objects to illustrate the complexity of the phenomena he is studying. He attaches great importance to the aesthetics of soft matter: "Not only is it beautiful, but many of the phenomena that surround us in everyday life are still misunderstood to this day," he says.
Artworks from Matthieu:
Pascal-Jean Lopez
Biologist
Museum National d'Histoires Naturelles
Pascal is fascinated by the growth of shapes in nature. He began his academic career with a thesis at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris where he studied the regulation and expression of genes in bacteria. After a short experience at the Harvard Medical School and a post-doc in Heidelberg, Germany, Pascal joins the CNRS to build his own research team. He is interested in the growth and evolution of shapes in diatoms which are microscopic algae found in all waters of the world. In 2010, he joins the National Museum of Natural History and orientates his research towards bio-mineralization, particularly on the mechanisms of skeletal formation in corals or molluscs. Part of his research is still devoted to the study of the diatom structure, but with a notable particularity: Pascal studies and meticulously maps the diatoms present in Parisian water! He is able, according to the species he observes under his microscope, to identify the neighbourhood from which the sample comes. But Pascal has more than a string to his bow, and his research knows no boundaries. Supported by the CNRS, he creates in 2016 a Man-Environment Observatory in Guadeloupe. The idea is to study the evolution of the socio-ecosystem in response to a so-called "structuring" fact: the harbour extension of Point-à-Pitre.
Pascal wonders about the intrinsic aesthetics of the objects he photographs. "It's probably their inessential beauty that fascinates me. In contrast to male butterflies that display their most beautiful colors in order to attract females, diatoms are beautiful by nature, even if they do not need to. It's fascinating! » He admits enthusiastically. Pascal spends long hours sublimating these micro-organisms: "it is a way for me to pay tribute to these wonderful creatures".
Artworks from Pascal-Jean:
Sophie Goujon-Durand
Physicist
Université Paris-Est Créteil
Sophie studied physics at the Polytechnic School in Warsaw and did her PhD on hydrodynamic instabilities. She then came to France to become an engineer at the Schlumberger research center in Montrouge. After 18 years in the industry, Sophie joined academia and became a lecturer-researcher at the University Paris-Est Créteil. Her experience at Schlumberger allowed her to keep an industrial look at her research, a feature particularly appreciated by her new colleagues. She never lost sight of the potential applications in the experiments she implemented. She met José-Eduardo Wesfreid on the occasion of an industrial mission at Schlumberger to design a flow-meter. Since then, they have never stopped working together. They are particularly interested in the wakes of fluids flowing around objects of variable geometry. They have also developed the theme of "active control": how to amplify or destroy, in a controlled way, vortices that form behind obstacles? Sophie often gives the example of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the United States, which in 1940 began to oscillate dramatically (video): "What people ignore is that the bridge entered into resonance because of the vortices formed behind the beams beaten by the wind!", she says.
Artworks from Sophie:
Eric Falcon
Physicist
Univ. Paris Diderot
During his PhD, Eric worked on granular media and in particular on the propagation of sound in a network of beads. After a year spent at Ecole Normale Supérieure as a contingent scientist, he worked at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) and made his experiments travel in a rocket to study their behavior under micro-gravity. Eric then joined the CNRS at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon where he contributed in particular to a deeper understanding of the Branly effect. This mechanism - at the basis of the first wireless telecommunications between Paris and London in the 1880s - had been widely used but only little understood. In 2005, he joined the Laboratory Matières et Systèmes Complexes and formed his own research group on topics related to wave turbulence. But space never really left Eric. Today, he works with the astronaut Thomas Pesquet on experiments carried out in weightlessness, and coordinates an international team working on the design of an instrument to study granular media aboard the International Space Station. Beyond its fundamental interests, this study would allow to solve practical problems such as drilling under low gravity or sanding faced by the Rovers on Mars.
Eric regularly takes part in events combining Arts and Sciences. With his friend and colleague Claude Laroche, they take great pleasure in sublimating and magnifying the scientific objects they investigate.
Artworks from Eric:
Florence Elias
Physicist
Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie
Florence is interested in the physics of our daily lives, from soap films to shaving cream. From her Ph.D. until her position as a permanent researcher in Paris, her work has been devoted to the physics of magnetic and soapy foams. Her research activities notably led her to take interest into the acoustics of these bubbly media: what physico-chemical factors influence the propagation of sound in a foam? Can certain frequencies be attenuated for the benefit of others when sound waves pass through the medium? So many questions that have motivated Florence in the past years. The potential applications of her research are numerous, especially for filtering and sound isolation. Florence is now working with marine biologists to understand the formation mechanisms of marine mosses: linked to the rapid growth of microscopic algae, they are found every year on our shores.
The visual aspect of experiments is extremely important to Florence. The beauty of scientific objects has been a driving force, a guide for her career choices. "I try to [...] communicate scientific messages with interactive and visual experiences," she says. In short, in full accordance with the philosophy of AiR.
Artworks from Florence:
Alexandre Darmon
Physicist
ESPCI Paris
After graduating from Ecole Centrale de Lyon and Imperial College London, Alexandre took a year off from his scientific career to discover and photograph the world. Back in Paris he’s then determined to focus on fundamental research. After a master's degree in physics at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, he did a PhD at ESPCI Paris where he specialized in liquid crystals. He was particularly interested in the intricate behavior of these elongated molecules when they are placed on curved surfaces. Alexandre developed a real fascination for these objects that interact with light in such a spectacular manner. This is actually why liquid crystals are extensively used in screens and displays.
"Looking at liquid crystals through a microscope is like looking at the stars through a telescope. The scales are different, but the magic is just the same", he says. Alexandre has long been passionate about photography (www.alexandredarmon.com). With liquid crystals, his microscope and three years ahead of him, Alexandre found the ideal playground to let his creativity flourish. It was during a stay in Kyoto that he found a way to combine his passion for photography with his love of science. Alexandre creates AiR - Art in Research and now devotes all his energy to promoting scientific research through images.
Artworks from Alexandre: