photo M. Parent
Helene M. Courtois
Head of the cosmology-Euclid group at IPNL
Assoc Prof. Univ of Lyon France / Affiliate researcher IFA Hawaii

Most recent TV news and Radio Podcast: Press Book
Recent 50 minutes seminar on CosmicFlows project (ESO-April 2013): Watch video / abstract

Research : extragalactic cosmography
Educational - Outreach
I am a member of large international collaborations :

space telescope
CLUES numerical simulations
SKA PathFinder Wallaby HI survey
WNSHS Westerbrok Northern Sky HI Survey
Pan-STARRS survey
S4G SPITZER for Galaxies
NRAO National Radio Astronomy Observatory users committee

My goal is to understand the structure and dynamics of the local universe combining observational data and  numerical simulations. My observational program Cosmic Flows is focused on measuring galaxy distances and peculiar velocities. More than 1,000 hours are allocated to this program at GBT (USA), Parkes (Australia). The observed velocity field is then used within the consortium CLUES (Constrained Local UniversE Simulations) as input for numerical cosmological simulations. The observed local universe and the simulated universe are then compared. This synergy of multi-disciplinary fields (from astronomy to computer science) and worldwide (Europe, USA, Russia, Australia, South Africa) uniquely distinguishes my program. This integrated international research effort from observations to simulations is leading to fundamental discoveries of deviations from the expansion of the universe. We find accelerations from voids, and map gravitational attraction on scales from neighboring galaxies to superclusters. We test the law of gravitation, and learn about the dominant components of the universe:  dark matter and dark energy.
The observational program is conducted with the most appropriate radio, optical and space telescopes in the world which for our program are in the USA and Australia. The theoretical analysis is carried out with a latest-generation constrained simulation program developed in Germany and Spain. As the lead of the observational activities I bring to the computer science collaboration a sophisticated understanding of the galaxy catalogs, and as a partner in the simulations I provide the observer partners  and the EUCLID consortium with simulated catalogs and insight of natural phenomena.

The material acquired during the course of the Hubble Space Telescope, radio, and optical observing are managed and made available to the community through EDD, the Extragalactic Distance Database.  We integrate archived data acquired by others with our own products.  We also gather material relevant to the measurement of galaxy distances with other techniques.  Particular attention is given to Cepheid period-luminosity relation, surface brightness fluctuation, fundamental plane, and supernova type Ia results.  Attention is given to assure that distances determined by different techniques and different observers have consistent scales.

Publication list : 63 papers, 2500 citations

Peer-Reviewer for Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS)
Peer-Reviewer for Astronomy and Astrophysics (A&A), ESO EDP Science
Referee for ANR projects, France
Referee for Marie-Curie fellowships, European Commission

Recent movie productions:
- 2013 : Cosmography of the Local Universe Movie and Downloads
- 2009: DVD Back to the Big Bang (English version available)
- 2009: DVD A Universe's Astronomers (French language only)
- 2008: Outreach Movie on the Our Peculiar Motion away from the Local Void(long download, Scientific Soundtrack, plays with quicktime)
- 2006: The skeleton of our local universe  (plays with  Mplayer, no soundtrack)
     I hold a permanent ass. prof. position at the university of Lyon since 17 years. I am also an affiliate researcher of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii (USA).
     I teach mainly astrophysics, general physics and computer science from 1st year to undergrad levels.
About 600 students enroll yearly in the astronomy classes I supervize. I lead a team of about 12 other university teachers.
    I am an Expert in university education for the European Commission 
(ITN, Erasmus Mundus Masters and PhD programmes)
    I am trained to teach excellence in astronomy by the NASA center for astronomy education.

Organisation of International conferences (restricted to last 5 years):

2014 : Euclid International Conference in Marseille 5-9 May
2014 : Euclid France in Lyon 4-5 Dec
2013 : New Persectives in Dark Matter Lyon
2013 : International Workshop on Spectral Stellar Libraries (IWSSL 2013)
2013 : Cosmic Flows : Observations and Simulations
2012 : CLUES collaboration meeting Lyon

2012 : Neutrinos at the forefront of elementary particles physics and astrophysics
2012 : Tully-Fisher 35 years of the relation
2010: A Universe of Dwarf Galaxies: Observations, Theories, Simulations
2008-2009: Institute of Nuclear Physics Lyon seminars
2006 : Dark Energy and Dark Matter: observations, Experiments and Theories

Dissemination of Results to the Society (restricted to last 5 years) :

The general public is hungry for public outreach activities and for information. Meanwhile, few European researchers have the training to develop adequate responses to these social and economic needs. I have organized many public events, I visit yearly elementary and high school classes. In 2009 I participated in the production of two DVD's: on the launch of the CERN-LHC and its objectives to uncover the physics of fundamental forces and particles; and on the duality of amateur and professional astronomy.

I am the godmother of the Planetarium of Lyon (collaborating since 2004).

Supervised Postdocs and PhDs :

B. Kubik : Postdoc Lyon 13-16
J. Sorce : PhD 11-14
W. Guyot : PhD 10-13 ( in science education)
T. Doumler : PhD 09-12, Computer scientist private company
N. Chotard : PhD 08-11, Postdoc Lyon : 13-16
B. Depardon : PhD 07-10, Computer scientist in start-up company
N. Bonhomme : PhD 06-10, High school physics teacher, France
D. Tweed: PhD 05-09, Postdoc Israel
C. Rimes : postdoc 06-07
D. Blais : postdoc 06-07, High school physics teacher, France
M. Le Delliou : postdoc 05-06, Postdoc Portugal
G. Rigaudier : PhD 05-09, Computer scientist private company
T. Sousbie : PhD 03-06, Faculty at Institute of astronomy Paris
Supervized Undergrads and other university internships :

27 students since 1995

Positions, Education :

since 1997 : Associate professor at Univ of Lyon, France
since 2006 : Affiliate researcher, IFA, Univ of Hawaii, USA
96-97: Postdoc, Max Planck fur Astronomie Heidelberg, Germany
1995 : PhD Univ. Lyon, France and Univ. NSW Sydney, Australia
1993 : Undergrad in Astrophysics, Univ Grenoble/Lyon/ENS, France
1992 : BSC in physics, Univ Grenoble France, Univ Sherbrooke, Canada


4 rue Enrico Fermi - La Doua
69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France