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Yaël Nazé

Yaël Nazé

(Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics, University of Liège, Belgium)

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 stars' nebulae.

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!

Jay Anders