National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
Gesellschaftsstrasse 6 | 3012 Bern | Switzerland
  +41 31 684 32 39

Pepe Francesco, Prof. Dr.

Technology and Innovation Platform, 2.0_project, 2.2_project, 3.0_project, 3.2_project, NCCR Technology transfer, Phase 3 - Domain C - Project 4, Université de Genève, Département d'Astronomie
Technology and Innovation Platform leader
1290 Versoix
+41 22 379 23 96

Please give us a personal quote or a quote of a famous person (e.g. of Albert Einstein) that describes you and your life/work.
“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (Albert Einstein)

Please describe your job in only one sentence and tell us what the most important goal of this work is.
My job is to make instrumentation for astronomy that allows us to open a new parameter in space and explore the limits of our understanding. Observing and characterising the atmospheres of extra-solar planets is very difficult. In this domain new instruments and methods are urgently needed. On the other hand, it is through the characterisation of their atmospheres that we will learn a lot about other worlds. That’s what we are working for.

How did you get into this research/work field?
Physics always fascinated me, since it is able to explain the world surrounding us. There is no bigger satisfaction than understanding phenomena that may have appeared mysterious to you at first glance.

What would be the greatest discovery you would like to see in your life time?
Hmmm, I think that, by definition, a discovery implies the observation of a truth which wasn’t known or expected before, so I’m not sure being able to imagine what I would like to discover. Nevertheless, the idea that mostly intrigues me is the possibility to enter in communication with intelligent beings of other worlds. I think that the consequences of such an event can hardly be imagined, and this is fascinating …

You work for the NCCR PlanetS. What do you think will the NCCR enable you to do you couldn’t do without it?
We are active in a fast-moving and very competitive domain of astrophysics. The NCCR provides to us the ressources to explore new paths and ideas and, in particular, to put all the Swiss forces together to reach important results. Only by putting the all our competencies together we can succeed in our ambitious goals.

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