Dr. Franck Marchis is a Principal Investigator at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. He joined the institute for a full time position in June 2011 after having a joint appointment with the department of astronomy of the University of California at Berkeley.
Over the past 15 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. The solar system is characterized by considerable diversity of its constituent bodies. Franck Marchis’ first involvement in the study of this diversity started in 1996 while working at the UNAM Astronomy Department in Mexico City. He made the first ground-based observations of the volcanoes on the jovian moon Io, using the first Adaptive Optics (AO) systems available on the European Southern Observatory (ESO) 3.6 m telescope at Chile’s La Silla Observatory. After a brief stay in London and four years in Chile at ESO, he completed in 2000 his PhD in a French university (Toulouse III) even if he has conducted his research in these three countries. His doctoral research described the application of adaptive optics to the study of the solar system.
More recently Franck has been also involved in the definition of new generation of AOs for 8 -10 m class telescopes and future Extremely Large Telescopes. He has developed algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological, using fluorescence microscopy. His currently involved in the development of the Gemini Planet Imager, an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope which will be capable of imaging and record spectra of exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.
His research involves both undergraduate and graduate students. Marchis is eager about contributing to the diversity of our science community and educating a new generation of researchers.