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Sandrine Péron winner of the L’Oréal – UNESCO “For Women in Science” award 2017

Sandrine Péron winner of the L’Oréal – UNESCO “For Women in Science” award 2017

Publication date: 23/03/2017

Awards and Distinctions, Institute Life, Press, Research

The L’Oréal Foundation, in partnership with the French Academy of Sciences and the French National Commission for UNESCO, has been involved for 10 years in the L’Oréal-UNESCO Fellowships for Women in Science programme. Each year, these fellowships are awarded to 30 doctoral and post-doctoral students to help them develop their careers, support their research and give them the visibility they deserve. The Jury, chaired by Professor Sébastien Candel, President of the Académie des Sciences, selected 20 doctoral candidates and 10 post-doctoral candidates in various scientific fields from over 1,000 applicants.

Sandrine Péron, a doctoral student at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in the Cosmochemistry, Astrophysics and Experimental Geophysics team, was awarded the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science prize on 23 March 2017.

Presentation of his thesis:

There are still many unknowns about the origin of the solar system, planets and life. Among them, how the elements necessary for life, such as water, nitrogen and carbon, arrived on Earth remains a mystery. This is precisely the subject of Sandrine’s research. She uses rare gases such as helium and neon as tracers of the sources of these elements, analysing samples from one of the oldest parts of the Earth, the lower mantle. Noble gases are analysed in two stages. Firstly, the gas bubbles are identified in the samples using a three-dimensional imaging technique called X-ray microtomography. Secondly, once identified, the gas bubbles are pierced one by one with a laser to measure the rare gases they contain.

© Carl Diner - L'Oréal Foundation

This method has the advantage of eliminating atmospheric contamination by analysing only the contents of the bubbles and not the entire sample. In the long term, these results could be used to prepare space missions and analyse the samples collected.

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