Andrei Braicz died of cancer five years ago. He was a Professor at the University of Paris-VII Denis Diderot and Director of the University “Gamma-Gravitation” at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA Saclay), but above all he was a passionate and remarkable figure in the popularization of science. Known to the general public. He is also the recipient of the 2000 Carl-Sagan Prize in the United States and the 2006 Jean-Perrin Prize for this reason. For his colleagues, he was a co-discoverer of Neptune’s rings and an important figure in the Voyager and Cassini expeditions.
“What purpose is worth being born instead of not being?” To divine the sky and the arrangement of the entire universe “, Thus expressed by the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras in V.e Century BC This idea was hard not to share when listeningHe spoke to us with communicative enthusiasm about the latest developments in planetary science Across Major space probe projects like Voyager, Cassini, and Science quite simply as shown in the video below. The intellect brews him with humor, and at times it can be lethal World famous, in 1984 he participated in discovering episodes , And it’s been a regular show on TV since the 1980s where he’s occasionally found company Other major extension workers.
Unfortunately, on May 15, 2016, A..
In 2011, he gave a long interview with Futura-Sciences, despite the fact that he was overwhelmed by his multiple activities, particularly as a member of the film crew for the Cassini expedition, which is currently exploringHe is . The researcher explained his background to us.
To mark the end of the Cassini mission on 09/15/17, André Braicz, the famous French astrophysicist and great engineer, is honored with the Saturn Exploration Expedition. Acknowledgment: Astronomical Festival. © CNES
From simulations of galaxies to images of planetary rings
In the early 1970s, Andre Brake was studying collisions of an N-type system.In order to understand From Disc formation. To test his model, he applied it to a training , A group of N objects orbiting the planet and subject to continuous mutual collisions. This star seemed to him at first, intuitively, not very interesting, compared to a scientist And the Until he realized the biggest names in astronomy had broken their teeth there. Cassini, Laplace, Maxwell and Poincaré, to name a few, have dedicated a part of their lives to her without being able to solve all the problems these episodes pose.
But an inventionThat makes it possible Complexes and launches of space probes that make it possible to closely observe the stars You changed everything. Saturn’s rings became real physical laboratories, close at hand, and it would take us a few more centuries to figure it all out.
Finally, while he thought he would only devote a few months to studying rings, Andre Braic spent more than thirty-five years there. And he did not regret that this decision will be his life’s chance. In fact, when preparatory work began for the Voyager missions, no one in the world was studying the evolution and dynamics of Saturn’s rings. It was natural that the French researcher was then offered to join Voyager’s imaging team to analyze the data on the rings.
The adventure of the Voyager probes and the discovery of the rings of Neptune
Responders And the Built in Jet Propulsion Laboratory In Pasadena, California. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is based on the well-known California Institute of Technology or He was one of the teachers. At the beginning of the 1960s, at the conclusion of one of his famous physics courses on hydrodynamics, he was the great theorist He predicted that when the exploration of the solar system was more advanced, it would be a useful lesson in physics. We shall then see a great wealth of phenomena, largely unpredictable at the present stage of evolution Human, will come out of simplicity Like the laws of mechanics and from , And in particular that of Navier-Stokes fluid mechanics.
This richness and diversity, which never ceases to surprise researchers, is very present in the solar system, such as André Braik’s work published by Odile Jacob titled Of fire, ice and fiery planets. The author relates the following anecdote, among many others: As part of the Voyager Probe photography team, in the 1980s, we had fun before each encounter by predicting the stars’ profiles just before their visit. Whoever loses the bets we make, he will invite his peers to the best restaurant around. Upon arrival, everyone called everyone! From astronomers, we have become gourmets! ».
Richard Feynman, André Brahic only caught sight of him a few times, but in the early 1980s another star was well present on the JPL Voyager Probe filming team: De Voyager will hold an audience conference with André Brahic in Toulouse. As captivated to Futura-Sciences, André Brahic felt in total agreement with an approach , For his sake, as he did with his hit series CosmosIt is important to share the scientific culture with as many people as possible, the scientific and rational spirit upon which it was founded, and the questioning of the landscape of the laws of nature operating in astrophysics.. They would become very close friends and this is how one of the men behind the show did And you
In 1995, on the Cassiopée program, André Brahic and his collaborator Cecil Ferrari told us about the discovery of planetary rings in the solar system. © Jean-Pierre Luminet
From the rings of Saturn to the rings of Neptune
In 1989, the probeFilming of Neptune’s rings demonstrated for the first time in 1984 will be permitted thanks to the Stars proposed by Andre Braic and colleagues, Bruno Sicardi and Françoise Rock of the Paris Mudon Observatory, and produced by Patrice Bouchet, Reynolds Hafner and Jean Manfred at the La Silla Observatory ( ). Also confirmed by the observations of F. Vilas and L.-R. Elicer, after a program led by Williams Hubbard. The five rings of Neptune are named after the astronomers who have contributed to important work on this planet: Galle, Lee Verrier, La Ciel, Arago and Adams. Also in 1989, we discovered with Voyager three arches in the final episode (Adams) that were baptized Equal freedom And the the brothers. Cecil Ferrari actually discovered that there was a fourth arc that has since been named BraveryThe letter “c” is said to refer to the French astronomer.
In June 1980, when the Voyager 1 probe was about to reach the outskirts of Saturn and faced the success that Voyager had already made in exploring Jupiter, Andre Braic and some of his colleagues were already thinking about the next step, that is to say, putting a probe around Saturn in orbit.From Voyager 1 and 2. Not all of them are enthusiastic, however, because the project is too ambitious and too expensive.
So, Andrei Braich switched his teammates a little cautious, telling them: “ In life it suffices to say that one thing is impossible to become It would take ten years toThe European Space Agency and the European Space Agency have agreed to build the Cassini probe, which will be launched in 1997. The mission itself will cost about $ 4 billion, which is roughly the same as The It would eventually be extended at least until 2017, when Andre Braic was still intending to work on the film crew for the Cassini expedition, due to sensitivity to the idea of retirement. Moreover, he would see himself, still alive, as a member of a mission specifically dedicated to studying Neptune and its rings by 2060.
When asked about the possibility of discovering extraterrestrial life in the near future, the great passion of Karl Sagan, Andrei Braich was very cautious, but likely confident. ” When asked whether extraterrestrial life exists, the world can only answer: I don’t know and this is what we are looking for! “He insisted that it was not really possible On this question in the company of astrophysicist Bradford Smith.According to him. ” Without a doubt, if we soon find out a fact In the following decades, several methods will be implemented to detect a dynamic signature. We can then hope for an answer before the end of the twenty-first centurye century Researcher added. He dedicated his last book,