Laurent Loinard

Laurent Loinard

Fellow: Awarded 2010

Field of Study: Physical Science

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean

Often cited as one of the most promising young astrophysicists in Mexico, Laurent Loinard won international plaudits for his creative use of the high-precision astrometry capabilities of the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) to produce unprecedentedly accurate measurements of distances to the most frequently studied regions of star formation. Now that the VLA is being expanded and upgraded, Laurent Loinard hopes to use its new powers to accomplish a deep complete survey of the star-forming regions Ophiuchus, Taurus, Serpens, Perseus, and Orion in order to obtain extremely accurate high-resolution images of young stars at various stages of evolution. He’ll undertake this work, supported in part by his Guggenheim Fellowship, at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro (NM) and at his home institution in Mexico.

Laurent Loinard conducted his undergraduate and graduate work at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, earning a Licence in physics (1992) and a DEA (1993) and doctorate (1998), with highest honors, in astrophysics. However, most of his doctoral research was undertaken at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. He then spent two and a half years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Millimeter Radio Astronomy (IRAM) in Grenoble before taking up an appointment as Assistant Professor at the Centro de Radioastronomía y Astrofísica (CRyA) on the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México’s campus in Morelia. In addition to his teaching duties and research, since 2003 he has directed CRyA’s graduate program in astronomy and has supervised the theses of both graduate and undergraduate students. His superlative work in all these endeavors won him the Recognition of the National University for Young Researchers award in 2007, one of the most significant honors that can be bestowed on young scientists in Mexico. He was promoted to Professor in 2008.

He has presented the results of his researches in over sixty articles in The Astronomical Journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, The Astrophysical Journal, Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica, and Astronomy & Astrophysics, and at numerous conferences in Mexico and abroad.

Laurent Loinard is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the International Astronomical Union, and the Mexican Academy of Science. In 2008 he was elected an Affiliate Fellow of the Academy of Science for the Developing World.