• Professor André Capron

    Foreign Secretary, French Academy of Sciences

    Foreign Secretary, French Academy of Sciences


    André Capron, né le 30 décembre 1930, est Docteur en Médecine. Il a été Chef du service d'immunologie au CHU de Lille (1970-2000), Professeur à l'université de Lille (1970-2000), Directeur du Centre d'immunologie et de Biologie Parasitaire à l'Institut Pasteur (1975-2001), et Directeur de l'Institut Pasteur de Lille (1994-2000). Il est Professeur émérite à l'université de Lille et Directeur honoraire de l'Institut Pasteur de Lille.

    Professeur Capron a été Président du Conseil scientifique de l'Inserm (1987-1991), Président du Conseil d'administration de l'ANRS (1999-2002), Président du Comité stratégique régional de recherche en biologie et santé (depuis 1993), et membre du Conseil scientifique de l'École normale supérieure (depuis 2001).

    Son engagement pour le développement de la recherche biomédicale dans les pays du tiers Monde l'a amené à créer, avec Pierre Aigrain, la première Commission Nationale "Santé et Développement", puis à présider le premier programme européen Sciences et Techniques en faveur du développement (1983-1987). Il a été président du programme Bilharziose de l'OMS (1997-1983), et à l'issue de ce mandat, il a été membre du Scientific Advisory Group of Experts de l'OMS (1987-1999) et membre du Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee de l'OMS (1988-1992).

    Proesseur Capron a consacré l'ensemble de sa carrière scientifique à l'étude de la biologie des parasites et au développement de nouvelles stratégies de prévention des grandes endémies parasitaires, notamment les bilharzioses. Parallèlement à ses activités de recherche, il a pris une part active au développement de la recherche biomédicale dans les pays en développement.


    Après des travaux d'helminthologie comparée, Professeur Capron s'est intéressé à une discipline alors naissante, l'immunochimie, et a orienté ses activités vers l'immunologie parasitaire dont il est désormais reconnu comme l'un des fondateurs. Ses travaux ont conduit au développement de méthodes nouvelles de diagnostic immunologique des maladies parasitaires (bilharzioses, hydatidose, distomatose) et parallèlement à la mise en évidence des relations moléculaires ente l'hôte et le parasite. La découverte de parentés antigéniques entre parasite et hôte a jeté les bases du concept de mimétisme hôte-parasite. André Capron a continué pendant toute sa carrière à analyser la relation hôte parasite et est l'auteur de nombreux travaux fondamentaux dans le déchiffrage de ce qu'il a nommé "le langage moléculaire" des parasites.

    Ayant abordé le domaine fondamental des mécanismes immunitaires dans des modèles expérimentaux d'affections parasitaires et chez l'homme, Professeur Capron s'est consacré plus particulièrement à l'étude des schistosomes et de la schistosomiase. Il a ainsi mis en évidence l'existence d'anticorps cytotoxiques dans la schistosomiase humaine et démontré la production par les parasites de facteurs immunosuppresseurs. Appliquant très tôt les techniques de production d'anticorps monoclonaux et les techniques de biologie moléculaire, Professeur Capron et son équipe ont mené des travaux fondamentaux sur la génétique moléculaire des schistosomes, qui ont conduit à l'identification et au clonage moléculaire d'une protéine vaccinante dans la schistosomiase. Ce vaccin, entré en phase d'essais cliniques depuis 1998, est le résultat de progrès considérables dans la définition d'un vaccin potentiel contre la bilharziose, seconde endémie parasitaire mondiale après le paludisme.

    Professeur Capron a identifié de nouveaux mécanismes effecteurs de l'immunité anti-parasitaire : il a démontré les fonctions protectrices des anticorps IgE dans l'immunité anti-parasitaire; il a découvert un mécanisme totalement nouveau de cytotoxicité antiparasitaire impliquant des macrophages ; il a élucidé le rôle des macrophages, des éosinophiles et des plaquettes et il a décrit une nouvelle classe de récepteurs pour les IgE sur les cellules inflammatoires, jetant les bases de nouveaux concepts concernant les mécanismes cellulaires impliqués non seulement dans la réponse immunitaire contre les parasites, mais également dans les affections allergiques.

     

    Parmi ses nombreux prix et distinctions figurent le Prix Leveau de l'Académie Nationale de Médecine (1959); le Prix Richard Lounsbery, Académie des Sciences et National Academy of Sciences, États-Unis (1986); Bernard Nocht Medal (1987); le Prix International de Médecine, King Faisal Foundation (1990); Commandeur de l'Ordre du Lion (1990); Commandeur de l'Ordre national du Mérite (1990); Membre de l'Académie nationale de médecine (1991); et Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (1992).

     

    Professor Capron is a founding member of the ASL.

    Sample of Academician's Research

    Schistosomiasis, the second major parasitic disease in the world after malaria, affects 200 million people.

     

    Research developed in Professor Capron's laboratory over the last 20 years, with a focus on the identification of novel effector mechanisms, for a first time to a feasible approach to vaccine development against Schistosomiasis, a major human parasitic disease.

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  • Professor Ali Hani Chamseddine

    Ali H. Chamseddine is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the American University of Beirut since 1998. He earned his B.Sc. in Physics from the Lebanese University in 1973 and won a scholarship to pursue graduate study in theoretical physics at Imperial College, London University. He earned his Ph.D. in 1976 with the Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam as his thesis advisor. He has research appointments at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy, (1977) the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland (1980, 1987) and Northeastern University, Boston, USA (1981-1985). He worked as Research Professor at the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland (1986-1998).

     

    Dr. Chamseddine has many pioneering contributions in supersymmetry and noncommutative geometry and gravity. His research centers on unification of all fundamental forces in nature and the underlying symmetry principle and geometric structure of space-time. His work is noted for its mathematical elegance and originality

     

    In 1982, as a research associate at Northeastern University and in collaboration with Drs. Richard Arnowitt and Pran Nath, he constructed a locally supersymmetric model based on the unification of gravity with the three fundamental forces nature. This Locally Supersymmetric Grand Unification had enormous influence on the field and is used since 2012 by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for the search of the predicted supersymmetric particles.

     

    In 1996, Professor Chamseddine, in collaboration with the Field Medalist Alain Connes proposed a new physical principle which they coined "The Spectral Action Principle" linking the spectrum of a differential operator with the geometric invariants of the space. This principle allowed them to discover the hidden noncommutative structure of space time from the known spectrum of elementary particles. More recently they were able to explain the Standard Model of Particle Physics from a generalization of Heisenberg uncertainty relations.

     

    Dr. Chamseddine was the founding director of the Center for Advanced Mathematical Sciences (1998-2003) and has served on the editorial boards of several journals. Among his honors are the Humboldt Research Prize (2001), the Bode Medal (2007) and the TWAS (Academy of Science for Developing Countries) Physics Prize (2009).

     

    Professor Chamseddine was elected to the ASL in 2015 for "ground-breaking developments in theories of gravity and space-time, and in our understanding of the essence of the physical universe."

    Sample of Academician's Research

    The diagram describes the symmetries of the building blocks of matter. The 16 fundamental fermions comprised of quarks and leptons are grouped in the form (4, 4) where the first 4 is acted on by M4 (C), the algebra of 4x4 complex matrices, representing the three colors of the quarks with the lepton number considered as the fourth color. The second group of 4 is acted on by M2 (H), the algebra of 2x2 quaternion matrices (a quaternion number has one real and three imaginary parts). By chirality, this 4 is broken as 2+2 of left-handed and right-handed representations. This implies that the leptons comprising the electron and neutrino form a doublet, each having a left and right component. Similarly, the quarks come in doublets, up and down, with left and right components. These algebras in turn dictate the structure of the vector interactions governing the three fundamental forces in nature, weak, electromagnetic, and strong. The symmetries in the diagram are a consequence of a new geometric structure of space-time, named noncommutative geometry, inspired by quantum mechanics, allowing for simultaneous treatment of the discrete and continuous. Professor Chamseddine and his collaborators have provided an attractive geometrical explanation for the building blocks in nature and their interactions. More recently they have identified a more basic entity, the Quanta of Geometry.

  • Professor Edgar Choueiri

    (ASL President 2008-2014)

    Professor Edgar Choueiri is Director of Princeton University's Program in Engineering Physics, and Chief Scientist and Director of Princeton's Electric Propulsion and Plasma Dynamics Laboratory (EPPDyL). He is Professor in the Applied Physics Group at the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, and Associated Faculty at the Astrophysical Sciences Dept./Program in Plasma Physics at Princeton University. He holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering/Plasma Science (1991) from Princeton University.

     

    He has been the Principle Investigator (PI) in charge of directing and managing more than 25 competitively selected research projects, funded by NASA, AFOSR, the National Science Foundation, and other governmental and private institutions. He has been PI and Co-PI on two space experiments onboard the Space Shuttle and the Russian scientific spacecraft APEX. Professor Choueiri's laboratory (EPPDyL) at Princeton University, a recognized center of excellence in research in the field of advanced spacecraft propulsion, has been continuously funded by NASA since he became EPPDyL's Chief Scientist in 1996.

     

    Professor Choueiri's main research interests are in astronautics and plasma physics, and he is the author of more than 140 journal articles, conference papers and encyclopedia articles on plasma propulsion for spacecraft, plasma physics, instabilities and turbulence in collisional plasmas, plasma accelerator modeling, space physics and applied mathematics. He has been an invited speaker at symposia and leading institutions in more than 20 countries and has advised more than a hundred graduate and undergraduate students at Princeton University. Many of his PhD students are in leading positions as research scientists in plasma physics or space propulsion. He serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Propulsion and Power, the leading journal for spacecraft propulsion.

     

    He is the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including the Howard B. Wentz Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship and the Medal of the Order of the Cedars (rank of Knight), and was elected President of the Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, whose members include hundreds of scientists working on plasma propulsion for spacecraft in more than 15 countries. He served as the elected Chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Electric Propulsion Technical Committee (EPTC) from 2002 to 2004, the leading professional society in his field, was awarded the AIAA's distinguished service award in 2004 elected Fellow of the AIAA in 2009.

     

    He was selected by NASA in 2004 as the winner of a competition to lead a team of NASA and academic researchers on a 3-year research project to develop a high-power plasma rocket system intended for the robotic and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

     

    Professor Choueiri is a founding member of the ASL and served as its Founding President from June 27, 2008 to January 31, 2014.

    Sample of Academician's Research

    Poincaré map for the nonlinear interaction between a magnetized ion and two beating electrostatic waves, showing the elliptic and hyperbolic points whose locations allowed Prof. Choueiri and his student Slava Spektor to find the necessary and sufficient conditions for the existence of a highly efficient mechanism for ion acceleration that is being used in the development of a new class of plasma rockets for spacecraft intended for deep space exploration.


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    FARAD (which stands for Faraday Accelerator with Radio-frequency Assisted Discharge) is an electrode-less plasma propulsion concept devised by Professor Choueiri for long-life efficient propulsion of spacecraft. It is presently being developed by scientists at NASA and industry.


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  • Professor Jean Michel Dercourt

    Jean Michel Dercourt est Professeur émérite à l'université Pierre et Marie Curie (depuis 2004) et Secrétaire perpétuel de l'Académie des Sciences (France) (depuis Janvier 1996).

    Né le 11 mars 1935. Études supérieures à la Faculté des sciences de Paris 1957; Stagiaire de recherche au CNRS 1958; Agrégé de sciences naturelles 1959-1965; Chef de travaux à la Faculté des sciences de Paris 1962-1963; Service militaire, École d'Enfants de Troupe des Andelys 1964; Docteur ès sciences, Faculté des sciences de Paris 1965-1979; Professeur à l'université de Lille 1969; Chercheur invité à l'université d'Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) 1979-2004; Professeur à l'université Pierre et Marie Curie à Paris 1979-1990; Directeur du laboratoire de géologie comparée des continents et des océans associé au CNRS 1987-1988; Chercheur invité à l'Imperial College (Université de Londres) 1987-1992; Co-directeur avec L.E. Ricou (CNRS-Paris) de l'équipe du programme de groupement scientifique Tethys, associant BP, BRGM, CNRS-INSU, ELF, IFP, IFREMER, SHELL, TOTAL, UPMC 1993-2001; Co-directeur avec M. Gaetani (université de Milan) du programme Péri-Tethys, regroupant AGIP, ARCO, BRGM, CHEVRON, CONOCO, ELF, EXXON, IFP, SHELL, SONATRACH.

     

    Professeur Dercourt a consacré son œuvre scientifique à la géologie des formations sédimentaires des chaînes de montagne édifiées depuis 250 millions d’années.

    Après avoir contribué à l’étude géologique d’un secteur du Péloponnèse septentrional et de la Méditerranée orientale (1958-1968), il a abordé la géodynamique de la Cordillère canadienne. À l’époque où l’hypothèse de la tectonique des plaques prenait naissance, il a participé à la reconstitution des principaux domaines de cette Cordillère et a mis en évidence des nappes de charriage à matériels ophiolitiques traduisant l’écrasement d’un océan paléozoïque (300 millions d’années) au cœur de la chaîne (1968-1972). La comparaison avec une partie de la chaîne alpine a montré l’extension de la tectonique globale à l’histoire ancienne de la Terre.


    Professeur Dercourt a utilisé la stratigraphie multi-critères qui s'est révélée l'outil idéal pour effectuer des corrélations stratigraphiques à grande échelle. Il a pris part à une étude pluridisciplinaire (biostratigraphie, chimiostratigraphie magnétostratigraphie) de séries sédimentaires qui a permis de reconnaître les plus courtes unités de dépôt dans un site donné (1979-1980).


    Professeur Dercourt, en deux programmes internationaux (Téthys et Peri-Thétys, 1987-2004) associant des chercheurs et des ingénieurs d'universités, d'établissements publics de recherche, de services géologiques nationaux et de compagnies pétrolières, s’est attaché à la paléodynamique et au paléoenvironnement de la Téthys, océan ouvert dans la Pangée au Permien, il y a 250 millions d’années, qui sépara les continents septentrionaux des méridionaux, puis qui se ferme depuis 80 millions d’années pour ne laisser subsister aujourd’hui que l’Atlantique central. Il a réalisé des cartographies de plusieurs époques depuis l’ouverture jusqu’à la fermeture actuelle ce qui a permis de reconnaître les environnements marins et terrestres de ce secteur significatif à l’échelle du globe.


    Ces travaux montrent, entre autre, que la corrélation entre la chronologie des événements tectoniques et l'histoire de l'expansion des océans actuels est parfaitement réalisable, que le cadre tectonique du Paléozoïque contrôle les contraintes à la fois pendant l'expansion et pendant la collision, que la localisation latitudinale N et S des cratons est le principal facteur de sédimentation et que la Téthys, à la différence de l'océan Atlantique actuel, est segmenté par trois seuils lithosphériques (seuils indonésien, méditerranéen et caraïbe) constitués de fragments de la lithosphère continentale entre les marges, ces seuils contrôlent le modèle structural pendant les phases de collision cratonique. Ces reconstitutions ont également des applications importantes dans la localisation de substances d’intérêt industriel (essentiellement des hydrocarbures et également phosphates, bauxites, or...).

     

    Parmi ses nombreux prix et distinctions:

    • Prix Visquenel de la Société Géologique de France (1966)
    • Prix Gonelet (Prix de la Société Industrielle du Nord) (1966)
    • Médaille Fourmarier (Société Géologique de Belgique) (1968)
    • Médaille d’argent du CNRS (1969)
    • Prix Von Buch, Société Géologique d’Allemagne (1996)
    • Award international de l'American Association Petroleum Geology (1999)
    • Docteur Honoris Causa de l'Université des Sciences de la Terre de Beijing (1992), de l'Universitéde Sofia (1995), de l’Université d’Athènes (1997), de l'Institut catholique de Paris (2000)
    • Commandeur de l’Ordre national du Mérite
    • Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
    Professor Dercourt is a founding member of the ASL.

    Sample of Academician's Research

    The product of the coordinated efforts of 120 academic geologists from a number of countries and institutes, the Atlas Tethys of Paleonvironmental maps was edited by Professor Dercourt and two of his colleagues. It is a major reference work that presents a revised kinematic reconstruction of the Tethyan plates and microplates from the mid-Permian times to the late Miocene, spanning some 260 millions years, with a paleolatitudes grid drawn on each map.

  • Dr. Charles Elachi

    Dr. Charles Elachi (born April 18, 1947 in Lebanon) is the Director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and vice president of the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Elachi received a bachelor's degree (1968) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Diplome Ingenieur (1968) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble; and a master's degree (1969) and doctorate (1971) in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. He also has a master's degree (1983) in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (1979) from the University of Southern California. He joined JPL in 1970. He is professor of electrical engineering and planetary science at Caltech.

     

    Dr. Elachi has been a principal investigator on a number of research and development studies and flight projects sponsored by NASA. These include the Shuttle Imaging Radar series (science team leader), the Magellan imaging radar at Venus (team member), and the Cassini Titan radar (team leader). He is author of more than 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and holds several patents in those fields. He taught the physics of remote sensing at Caltech from 1982 to 2001.

     

    As JPL's director for space and Earth science programs from 1982 to 2000, Dr. Elachi was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration, and astrophysics.

     

    In 1988, the Los Angeles Times selected Dr. Elachi as one of "Southern California's rising stars who will make a difference in L.A." In 1989, asteroid 1982 SU was renamed 4116 Elachi in recognition of his contribution to planetary exploration. In 1989, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and has served on a number of academy committees.

     

    Dr. Elachi has chaired a number of strategic planning committees for NASA. He has lectured in more than 20 countries about space exploration and Earth observation. He participated in a number of archeological expeditions in Egypt, Oman and China.

     

    His numerous awards have included being honored as one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report (2006), in collaboration with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Royal Society of London's Massey Award (2006), Lebanon's Order of Cedars (2006), the American Task Force for Lebanon's Philip Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service (2006), the American Astronautical Society's Space Flight Award (2005), the National Defense Industrial Association's Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award (2005), NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2005), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2004, 2002, 1994), NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1982), NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1999), the Takeda Award (2002), the Wernher von Braun Award (2002), Dryden Award (2000), the Committee on Space Research's Nordberg Medal (1996), the Nevada Medal (1995), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Medal of Engineering Excellence (1992) and Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award (1987), the W. T. Pecora Award (1985), and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing's Autometric Award (1980 and 1982). He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics.

     

    Dr. Elachi was elected to the ASL in 2009.

    Sample of Academician's Research

    The legendary city of Ubar, a desert caravansary, which supported the ancient and lucrative frankincense trade, perished in the early part of the first millenium AD.

     

    Legend was that Ubar perished in a sandstorm as divine punishment for wicked living. Actually, much of the fortress collapsed into a sinkhole, perhaps by ground water withdrawal used to irrigate the surrounding oasis

    The archaeological site was located by Dr. Elachi and his co-wokers at the edge of the Arabian Peninsula's Empty Quarter modern day Oman, through an unusual combination of historical research, and application space technology, in support of traditional archaeology.

     

    The discovery was made possible through the use of advanced remote sensing instruments (flown in the space shuttle) pioneered and developed by Dr. Elachi and his group at JPL.

     

    The picture above, obtained with Dr. Elachi's radar instruments from the space shuttle, shows the actual site of the fortress of the lost city of Ubar to be near the Wadi (white band across the image) close to the center of the image.

     

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