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The 2022 LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize awarded to Evelyne Roueff

The 2022 LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize awarded to Evelyne Roueff

Press release from: American Astronomical Society
Posted: Monday December 20 2021

The Division of Laboratory Astrophysics (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) awards its 2022 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize to Dr Evelyne Roueff of the Paris Observatory. This prize is awarded to Dr Roueff in recognition of an exceptional career devoted to the theoretical study of the spectroscopic and collisional properties of molecules in astronomical environments.

The Laboratory Astrophysics Award, LAD’s highest honor, is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time. For the past five decades, Dr Roueff has been a leading figure in theoretical laboratory astrophysics and computational molecular astrophysics. She has worked on the interpretation of spectra of molecules relevant to astrophysics and has actively collaborated with experimenters and observers to ensure the quality and relevance of her studies. Dr. Roueff has also been directly involved in the development of astrophysical and astrochemical models of which her theoretical studies in laboratory astrophysics form the basis.

Dr Roueff’s work on molecular hydrogen, the most abundant molecule in the universe, provides a fine example of these multidisciplinary interactions. It participated in the interpretation of its vacuum ultraviolet emission spectrum (VUV) – emission at very short UV wavelengths – obtained with the VUV spectrograph at 10 m from the Meudon Observatory in the 1990s, and to the calculation of the collisional excitation mechanisms by which this light is emitted. The detailed calculations of the VUV spectrum were impressively compared to the available experiments and fed into the chemical models of the Meudon team. This work has many important astrophysical applications, including the interpretation of absorption spectra of alien astrophysical objects such as quasars and white dwarfs, as well as providing constraints on the fundamental proton-electron mass ratio.

More recently, Dr. Roueff’s research has focused on understanding observations of the interstellar medium with the Herschel Space Observatory, the 30-meter IRAM radio telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array, which study the possible physical and chemical mechanisms behind isotope ratios in molecules containing deuterium, carbon-13 and nitrogen-15. Of particular note is his efforts to develop laboratory astrophysics in France, throughout Europe and in the global community. She was instrumental in coordinating the large-scale European networks “Astrochemistry” (1998-2002) and “The Molecular Universe” (2004-2008) and continues to participate in other European efforts, notably the Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Center.

Dr Roueff obtained his doctorate from the University of Paris. She was an assistant professor at Higher Normal School for Young Girls (1970-1980) before joining the Paris Observatory in 1980 as an astronomer. Since 2011, Dr Roueff has held the title of Emeritus Astronomer. In 1999, she shared the Deslandres Prize from the French Academy of Sciences with Guillaume Pineau des Forêts.

The LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Award includes a cash award, framed certificate, and a guest lecture at a meeting of the Laboratory Astrophysics Division.


Phillip C. stancil

Past President of LAD

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Georgia

+1 (706) 542-2485

[email protected]

Rachel L. Smith

Secretary LAD

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Appalachian State University

+1 (919) 707-8239

[email protected]

Evelyne Roueff

LERMA, Paris Observatory

5, Place J. Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France

[email protected]

The Astrophysics Division of the AAS Laboratory (LAD, advances our understanding of the universe through the promotion of fundamental theoretical and experimental research into the underlying processes that animate the cosmos.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) (, established in 1899, is a major international organization of professional astronomers, astronomical educators and amateur astronomers. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe as a diverse and inclusive astronomical community, which it achieves through publication, meetings, advocacy science, education and awareness, as well as training and professional development.

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