I was born and raised in Belgium, in a very poor
area where many people look at the stars (we are
quite a number professional astronomers coming from
this place). I was no different from the others
and was thus always fascinated by the sky. At first,
when I was about 10 years old, I wanted to do meteorology,
but in two years time, I had finally discovered
astronomy and never changed my focus since then.
I studied electrical engineer at the Faculte Polytechnique
in Mons, but never forgot astronomy: I did a project
about spacecraft telecommunications, decided to
do my thesis on the optical properties of the X-ray
Multi-Mirror (XMM) satellite - which was being
tested in Belgium at that time. Because of that
project, I had the opportunity to meet the Belgian
team working on XMM - and its leader came from the
same hometown as me! He invited me to begin a Ph.D.
under his direction.
I finally defended my Ph.D. thesis in March, 2004.
Up to now, my work has focused on massive stars
and their interactions with their environment. I
am studying these in the optical and X-ray domains,
with XMM of course, but also with Chandra, HST,
and the VLT. Using all these data, our team had
the chance to discover the hottest massive star,
and the most massive ones. A large part of my work
was made in collaboration with You-Hua Chu, who
invited me several times in Illinois, and make me
become another astronomer passionate about massive
Astronomy is my work, but actually, it is also
my hobby! I am involved a lot in the popularization
of this science. I am presenting planetarium shows,
organizing astro events (e.g. for the Venus transit),
writing articles explaining astronomy to non-scientific
people, and giving conferences. I really love to
share my passion for astronomy, and I think it's
rather easy: once you begin to talk of the sky,
everybody has stars in their eyes!