Xavier Dumusque

Born in: Saudi Arabia (Swiss citizen)
Primary research category: Observational Astrophysics
Research location / employer: Observatory of Geneva, Switzerland
Fellowship dates: 2015-2020

Academic Career

  • Smithsonian Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA, 2014-present
  • Swiss National Science Foundation fellow, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA, 2013-14
  • PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Geneva (Switzerland) and University of Porto (Portugal), 2012
  • Undergraduate studies in Physics and Astrophysics, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2008

Fellowship Research

Dr. Xavier Dumusque’s research aims to improve the understanding of how stellar variability influences the detectability and mass measurements of other Earths. To this end, he has initiated the construction of a small telescope that will observe our own sun using the most precise instruments dedicated to the detection of exoplanets. Combining these measurements with observations made by satellites that continuously observe the sun, he will characterize and understand the origin of perturbing signals due to solar variability and develop new state-of-the-art techniques to mitigate their impact on the detectability of Earth-twins orbiting stars other than the sun. To prove the efficacy of these techniques, Dr. Dumusque aims at detecting the minute velocity signal that Venus’s orbit induces on the velocity of the sun as measured from Earth. This constitutes a critical milestone for detecting exoplanets similar to Earth, since Venus can be considered as an Earth-twin. As a next step, these techniques will be applied to search for Earth-twins orbiting other stars, which will then be scrutinized for potential tracers of life in their atmospheres.

Major Awards

  • Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Prize fellowship, 2015
  • Schläfli Prize for outstanding thesis, Swiss Academy of Science, 2014
  • Plantamour-Prévot Prize for outstanding paper, University of Geneva, 2012
  • Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship, Switzerland, 2012