In May 2014 Olivier Chesneau, one of the most active and prolific members of the optical interferometry community, passed away 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.
The prize is awarded biennially — the first time was in 2015 — for the best thesis completed by a PhD student in the past two calendar years in the field of high angular resolution optical astronomy at a European institution. This includes adaptive optics, optical interferometry and similar techniques.
Nominations for the prize must be received by 15 January 2017 at https://olivier-chesneau.oca.eu, where full details about the prize rules are available. The result will be announced in March 2017.
The winner of the prize will be invited to give a prize lecture during the conference The Physics of Evolved Stars II: role of binarity, taking place in Nice between 10 and 13 July 2017. In addition the winner will receive a cash prize of 1000 euros. ESO will announce the prize winner widely to enhance the visibility of the prize-winning work and will also invite the winner to present their work at ESO Headquarters in Garching.
The prize will be allocated by a committee composed of scientists from Nice and other institutes, including the VLTI programme scientist.
Olivier Chesneau (1972–2014) led pioneering work using visible and infrared long-baseline interferometry. He used the VLTI to study disc formation around various astronomical objects. His foremost results included the first detection of discs in planetary nebulae and the discovery of the largest yellow hypergiant star in the Milky Way. Olivier was also very much involved in outreach at different levels and shared his passion and expert knowledge by teaching astronomy and supervised many students and postdocs.