Franck Marchis, Ph.D.
Address:SETI Institute
Carl Sagan Center
189 Bernardo Av
Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
Phone:+1 650 810 0236
Twitter: @AllPlanetEmail:
Planetary Science & Astronomy Instrumentation Outreach & Education

Professional experience

March 2014 – Present Senior AO Application Scientists at Iris AO, Berkeley (CA, US)
December 2013 – Present Senior Research Scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute (CA, US)Science Outreach Manager at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute (CA, US)
November 2012 – November 2013 Senior Research Scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute (CA, US)Media and Science Liaison at the SETI Institute (CA, US)
July 2007 – November 2012 Research Scientist at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute (CA, US)
June 2003 – June 2011 Assistant Research Astronomer at the Department of Astronomy of UC Berkeley (CA, US)
Group leader: Prof James Graham (2010-2011), Prof. Imke de Pater (2003-2009)
November 2000 — May 2003 Post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Astronomy of UC Berkeley (CA, US)
Advisor: Prof. Imke de Pater
The potential of 8-10m class AO for planetary science
November 1998 — September 2000 “Ph.D. Student” fellowship at ESO-Santiago (Chile)Supervisor: CNRS director R. Prangé
The potential of ADONIS Adaptive Optics system for planetary science
June 1997 — October 1998 “Cooperant” at ESO-La Silla 3.6m team (Chile)
Supervisors: R. Prangé and R. Gredel
Support astronomer for ADONIS AO system.
April 1997 — June 1997 Lab Assistant department of Physics and Astronomy of the University College London (UK)Supervisor: Prof. S. MillerIRTF/SPEX Jovian aurora images
July 1996 — January 1997 Research Assistant at Instituto de Astronomia at UNAM Mexico city (Mexico)Supervisor: S. CuevasImage quality of segmented large telescopes with AO

Employment eligibility in the US: US citizen


 Academic background

October 2000 Université P. Sabatier Doctorat de l’Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, France)
Ecole Doctorale “Science de l’Univers, de l’Environnement et de l’Espace”
Imagerie à haute résolution angulaire des objets du système solaire en Optique Adaptative. Application à l’étude du volcanisme de Io.
(equ. to PhD. in Astrophysics)
June 1996 Université P. Sabatier DEA de Planétologie et Techniques Spatiales
with honors
(equ. to Master’s Degree in Astrophysics)
June 1995 Université P. Sabatier  Maitrise de Physique – science de l’univers
with honors
(equ. to B.Sc. Physical Sciences)



  • Awards:

o   Recipient of one of the 2004 Grants in Honor of Professor Henri Chretien (AAS, 2004)

o   In 2007, the asteroid (6639) was named Marchis in honor of his discovery of the first triple asteroid system (87 Sylvia)


  • Selected research Grants:

o   Principal Investigator (PI) of two PAST-NASA grants Exploration of Multiple Asteroid Systems (2005-present)

o   PI CfAO-NSF & AAG-NSF grants New generation AO system to Study Solar System Bodies, (2007-2013)

o   PI of NASA-KPAC grants Multiplicity in the Trojan Swarms (2005 & 2007) and NASA-Spitzer SED of multiple asteroids

o   Co-Investigator of HST-GO Internal structure of asteroids & NASA-OPR Io Volcanism (2006-2012)

o   Co-Investigator of SOFIA Cycle-1 Uncovering the surface composition of the largest main-belt asteroids with FORCAST (2013)


  • Current Commitments:

o   Member of the science definition team for the TMT planetary science (since Oct 2013)

o   External Scientist of the Pan-STARRS consortium (since Nov 2012)

o   Member of the science teams: ERIS ESO next gen AO system (since 2011), NGAO Keck next generation AO system (since 2006), Gemini Planet Imager (since 2004) & Keck AO working group (since 2003)

o   Leader of communication of GPI-ES imaging and characterization of exoplanets using the GPI extreme-AO instrument (2010-present)

o   Co-PI of FIRST@Lick, a fibered-imager built at Obs. de Paris and tested at Lick Obs., soon at Subaru Telescope (2010-present)

o   PI of numerous observation programs to study asteroids (multiplicity, shape, composition) with 8-10m class telescopes (Keck, VLT, Gemini) and mid-size telescopes (IRTF, Lick,…) (2001-present)

o   PI of Origami NanoSat Telescopes: Astronomy’s Future Unfolds (2013-present)

o   PI of Asteroids3D: Shape Reconstruction of Asteroids from Pan-STARRS data (2013-present)

o Blogger and editor for the Cosmic Diary for the International Year of Astronomy and beyond (2009-present)

o   Member of the Observation Proposal Committee of the European Southern Observatory (2008 & 2009)

o   Leader of International Outer Planet Watch, division satellite discipline (2003-2013)

o   Affiliated Astronomer at IMCCE-Obs. de Paris since June 2003

o   Reviewer for ~50 articles submitted to referee journals (Icarus, A&A, Science) and textbooks since 2001

o   Session convener at AGU Fall Meeting in 2011 “Exploration and Evolution of Asteroids”, in 2012 “Internal Structure & Composition of Asteroids” & “Planetary Evolution and the Fate of Planetary Habitability”, and again in 2013

o   Editor at PLOS Journals since February 2013


Fields of expertise

  • Scientific activity:

o   Multiple asteroids in the solar system: search & study of known multiple systems, size, shape, internal structure, surface properties and formation.

o   Volcanic Activity of Io: monitoring, nature and composition of the lava

o   Problem of deconvolution for high angular resolution images in astronomy and in fluorescence microscopic images

o   Meetings (GPI in 2010-2013), workshops (Io in 2008, Enceladus in 2011) and conferences (Lyot Conference in 2007, SETICON2 in 2012)

o   Search for low mass companions with classical and extreme AO


  • Instrumentation Astronomy:

o   Solar System body exploration with Adaptive Optics on 8-10m class telescopes and future giant telescopes (TMT, E-ELT)

o   Photometric observations and astrometry of asteroids in optical.

o   Fibered imager for astronomy and its potential for astronomy

o   General knowledge of the AO systems technologies, from theory to their applications

o   Support astronomer on the ESO AO system for more than 200 nights (1997-2000)


  • Teaching & science outreach activities:

o   Social media expert for my research activity (Klout score ~64)

o   Lecturer for the course entitled “Astro 12 – The Planets ” at UC-Berkeley summer sessions 2003-2005

o   Supervision of ~20 undergraduate students at UC-Berkeley (URAP) linked with research topics of our group (2003-2011)

o   Supervision of undergraduate students for CfAO Summer internship program (2004) and the SETI Summer program (since 2007)

o   Writer of several press releases (1-3 per year since 2001) related to my research and for the SETI Institute

o   Conferences and courses to amateur astronomer clubs and education centers in English, Spanish & French


  • Computer science:

o  Program development in IDL (data processing, analysis, simulation, deconvolution)

o  Good skills in Shell UNIX, MySQL, PHP and Python

o  Website development with Joomla & WordPress

o  Coding in ASM6800, ASM6502


  • Memberships:

o   American Astronomical Society since 2009

o   AAS-Division of Planetary Sciences since 2000

o   American Geophysical Union since 2003


  • Languages:

–  French: native language

–   English: fluent

–   Spanish:  fluent

–   Czech: notion