ERC Advanced Grants : Nicolas Coltice and Robin Kaiser awarded

  • Research
Published on April 19, 2024 Updated on April 19, 2024

on the April 16, 2024

Coltice kaiser
Coltice kaiser

Nicolas Coltice and Robin Kaiser are among 255 researchers to have been awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council to fund their research projects. These grants are among the most prestigious and competitive in the European Union, and are part of the EU's Horizon Europe program.

Nicolas Coltice has been a teacher-researcher at Université Côte d'Azur since September. He works in Géoazur and at the Observatoire Côte d'Azur. He studies the history and dynamics of the Earth and planets. He is also co-founder of the initiative, which fights against ordinary sexism in the geosciences.

The ERC grant will fund the Pandora project, which aims to identify how the Earth's interior controls the co-evolution of the surface environment and living organisms. The Earth system contains a deep mineral part, made up of a 3000 km-thick rocky part that gives rise to continents and tectonic plates, floating on a metal core where the magnetic field is maintained. At the surface, the atmosphere and hydrosphere make up the climate system, along with the soil, and interact with living organisms. This system evolves as a single entity, with each component interacting with the other. The study of climate change and the dramatic decline in biodiversity has revealed fundamental feedbacks in terrestrial evolution. But the interactions between the Earth's interior, surface and life are still a mystery.

Building digital planetary systems

To take our knowledge of these processes to the next level, this project proposes to build digital planetary systems incorporating the evolution of the Earth's interior, landscapes and climates.interior, landscapes, climates and photosynthetic organisms (plants on land and algae in the sea) in 3D operating on geological timescales. Thanks to very recent advances, it is now possible to create these virtual sisters of the Earth. Their use will enable us to answer a series of fundamental questions, such as: what are the planetary properties that favor rapid diversification of living organisms? What are the properties of the Earth's interior that generate stable or variable environments over geological time?

Robin Kaiser is CNRS Research Director at the Institut de Physique de Nice. His research focuses on the interaction between atoms and photons. After completing his PhD (1986-1990) at the Laboratoire de Spectroscopie Hertzienne de l'ENS in Paris, working with the C. Cohen-Tannoudji team and under the supervision of the CNRS. Cohen-Tannoudji team and under the supervision of A. Aspect, he did a postdoc at Harvard University in G. Gabrielse's team. He was recruited by CNRS and joined A. Aspect for the start-up of his team at the Institut d'Optique. In 1996, Robin Kaiser moved to Nice, where he now heads the cold atoms team.

Intensity Correlations for stars - IC4Stars

Hanbury Brown and Twiss used intensity correlations to measure the angular diameters of stars, achieving record resolutions at the time. This work motivated R. Glauber to develop his quantum theory of optical coherence. Since then, this technique has been discontinued in favor of amplitude interferometry measurements, such as those implemented at the VLT. Using single-photon counting techniques made possible by modern detectors, the IC4Stars project aims to push imaging resolution in astrophysics to new frontiers. One objective is to directly measure the angular diameter of a white dwarf, a degenerate gas of electrons the size of the Earth with the mass of the Sun. This technique can also be used to measure photon statistics, and a second objective of IC4Stars is to demonstrate a laser effect around a very luminous star. Such a result would be the first evidence of quantum optics in astrophysics.