Olivier Chesneau Prize 2023

Published: 28 Aug 2023

The 2023 Olivier Chesneau prize is awarded to Iva Laginja on her PhD work "Contrast based tolerancing of space telescopes for exoEarth imaging", successfully defended in December 2021 at Paris Observatory. This thesis, carried out between the National Office of Aerospace Studies and Research (ONERA), the Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseille (LAM) and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) impressed the Chesneau prize jury with its great introduction, giving a broad panorama of exoplanet detection prospects and techniques, a solid theoretical study of segments alignment tolerancing on large space-based telescopes, and an application and adaptation of this theoretical framework to both a laboratory testbench and the JWST, validating on real datasets the developed principles. This PhD work led to 3 first-author refereed publications, a significant number.  

In addition to these impressive scientific achievements, the jury noted the strong implication of Iva Laginja in the scientific life of her domain: she is very active in the animation of the high-contrast imaging community, has shown a clear leadership, and is actively mentoring young researchers.

Olivier Chesneau, one of the most active and prolific members of the optical interferometry community, passed away in May 2014, at the age of 41. To honour his work in this field, his home institute, the Laboratoire J.-L. Lagrange at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in France, and ESO established a prize in his memory. Since 2015, the prize has been awarded biennially for the best PhD thesis completed in the field of high angular resolution optical astronomy.

The Chesneau prize will be presented to Iva Laginja at the occasion of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur scientific days on October 4th, 2023.


Philippe Stee
Director, Lagrange Laboratory
Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Nice, France
Tel.: +33 4 92 00 31 17
Email: Philippe.Stee@oca.eu

Marc Fulconis
OCA, Public Information Officer
Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Nice, France
Tel.: +33 4 92 00 19 70
Email: marc.fulconis@oca.eu

Antoine Mérand
VLTI Programme Scientist
ESO, Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6630
Email: amerand@eso.org