The Joint Fizeau-Michelson Prize Committee awards the 2020 Fizeau Lifetime Achievement Award to Guy Perrin for his accomplishments in theory and technology of optical interferometry, his impressive achievements in fundamentals and implementation of advanced instrument methods, and for his broad support to the interferometry community over more than two decades.
Guy Perrin entered the world of optical interferometry when, as a student, he worked with the group that demonstrated the power of single-mode fibers for interferometric measurement (Coudé du Foresto, Mariotti and Ridgway). And he undertook the challenge of evolving the FLUOR concept into the first efficient precision interferometry machine. Early examples are the exquisite precision of his interferometric measurements of giant stars which led to the widely cited extension of the effective temperature scale of giants.
With this, Guy carried out pioneering work in providing a solid theoretical framework for singlemode interferometry (dispersion, piston effects, photon noise, field of view…). He embarked on highly original paths with the OHANA program and then with the FIRST concept.
Early in his work with interferometry, Guy adapted his scientific interests to the capabilities of the instruments that he built, focusing on stars and astrophysics. But soon his interests turned toward the potential power of interferometry for extragalactic astronomy and in particular to study active galactic nuclei. This led him to conduct Paris’ initial contribution to the MIDI instrument at VLTI, which has been so successful in challenging the AGN standard model. It is thus not a surprise to find him as one of the two architects, with PI Franck Eisenhauer, of the immensely successful GRAVITY project.
Throughout his career, Guy has always been committed to education and training. He has supervised numerous PhD students, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in astronomy. Guy has not hesitated to accept major responsibilities in the scientific community, serving as Vice President of the Observatoire de Paris for 5 years, and supporting the French community as Directeur Adjoint Scientifique of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the CNRS INSU over the last 5 years.
Photo: Guy Perrin (left), Gérard van Belle, in charge of the Michelson Prize, and Denis Mourard (right), at the presentation of the 2020 Fizeau Prize in Montreal on Wednesday 20 July 2022 during the SPIE Interferometry 2022 conference.