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© Frédérique PLAS/CNRS Photothèque
The physicist Alain Brillet, joint winner of the CNRS 2017 Gold Metal, in Nice in October 2017. Alain Brillet is currently senior researcher emeritus with CNRS, working at the ARTEMIS laboratory, which specialises in relativistic astrophysics, theories, experiments, metrology, instrumentation and signals. He joined CNRS in 1970, and very soon took an interest in stabilised lasers, a subject not previously studied in France at that time. Attracted by the potential benefits of gravitational wave-based detection and by the scale of the challenge in terms of both the science and the necessary instrumentation, he developed innovative solutions in the field of lasers and optics, culminating in the design of the Virgo interferometer. Between 1989 and 2003, he first managed and then co-managed the consortium associated with this major instrument. From 2008, he focused on the general and optical design of the Advanced Virgo second-generation laser detection system. In 2016, in acknowledgement of his research, he was awarded the Ampère Prize, from the French Académie des Sciences, and the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, in his capacity as a member of the LIGO-Virgo team.