(reduced version of the french one)

Dr. MICHEL Patrick

Born the 25th of February, 1970 in Saint-Tropez (France)

French Nationality
Professional Address:
Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur,
UMR 7293 Lagrange/ CNRS
CS 34229
06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
Tel: (+33) 4 92 00 30 55
Fax: (+33) 4 92 00 31 21
Languages (reading, writing, speaking): English, Italian, French

Education :

2004 : Habilitation to Manage Researches. Thesis title: ``From the fragmentation to the gravitational evolution of asteroids''. University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis.
1997 : PhD in Physics from the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis (with Honours and Congratulations of the Jury). Thesis title: ``Dynamical evolution of Near-Earth asteroids''. Defense of the thesis: April 3rd 1997.
1994 : Diplome d'Etudes Approfondies (with Honours), Speciality: Imaging, Astronomy and High Angular Resolution, University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis. Four-month research: ``Numerical integrations of chaotic orbits, effects of close encounters with the Earth: case of the asteroid Toutatis'' at Nice Observatory under the responsability of Ch. Froeschle and P. Farinella.
1993 : Engineer (Master) in Aeronautics and Space Sciences.


  • Prize Paolo Farinella 2013 presented by Prof. Salvator Roberto Amendolia, Scientific Attaché of the Italian Embassy in London to Dr. Patrick Michel, at the European Planetary Science Congress 2013.
  • Carl Sagan Medal 2012 of the Division of Planetary Science (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society
  • Prize Young Researcher 2006 of the French Society of Astronomy and Astrophysics (SF2A)
  • Asteroid 7561 PatrickMichel (International Astronomical Union, IAU, designation)
  • Certificate of Appreciation of the Mentorship Program of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (2012) in recognition of having given guidance, leadership and professional knowledge and training in support of educational goals.
  • Invited Professor at ISAS/JAXA (Japan) in 2005.
  • JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) Research fellow (2000, 2006-2008)
  • ESA post-doc External Fellow at Torino Observatory, Italy (1997-1999).

Research Specialization:

Collisional process between small bodies (simulations of catastrophic disruption including fragmentation and gravitational reaccumulations, development of fragmentation models for different material types, scaling laws, lab. experiments).
• Asteroid binary formation.
• Granular material dynamics applied to the surface and interior of small bodies (development of numerical simulations).
• Origin, physical properties, collisional and dynamical evolutions of small bodies.

Career and Selected Services

Permanent Researcher at National Center of Scientific Research, CNRS (1999 – present); grade: Directeur de Recherches (equivalent: Senior Researcher).
• Leader of the team Theory and Observations in Planetology (TOP) of the Lagrange Laboratory (2002 – present).
• Principal Investigator (PI) of the ESA Hera mission to the bianry asteroid Didymos (launch in 2024) that will contribute with the NASA DART mission to the first asteroid deflection test; co-chair of the AIDA (Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment) Coordination Committee.

• Co-PI of the CNES-DLR rover of the JAXA MMX Phobos sample return mission (launch in 2024, return in 2029).

• Co-I of the NASA New Frontiers asteroid sample return space mission OSIRIS-REx.
• Co-I of the JAXA asteroid sample return mission Hayabusa2.
• Co-lead proposer and co-Chair of the Science Team of MarcoPolo-R sample return mission at the European Space Agency (assessment study phases, 2008-2013).
• Member of the Science Program Committee (SPC) of CNES (French space agency) (2014-1019).
• Member of the Steering Committee of the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and representative of IAWN in the Space Mission Program Advisory Group (SMPAG) dealing with asteroid threat.
• Lead Editor of the book Asteroids IV published by the University of Arizona Press in December 2015.
• Secretary of the Division 3 (Planetary Sciences) of the IAU (2009-2012).
• Member of the NEO Working Group of the Division 3 of the IAU.
• Member of the Solar System Working Group of CNES (French space agency) (2009-2014).
• Member of the Action Team 14 (NEOs) of the COPUOS (Committee of Peaceful Use of the Outer Space) of the United Nations.
• Member of the Near-Earth Object Technical Committee of the International Astronautical Federation.
• Member of the Near Earth Object Mission Advisory Panel (NEOMAP) of ESA.
• Organizer and co-organizer of several international meetings (e.g. 6th and 7th Catastrophic Disruption Workshops in 2003 and 2007, DDA meeting in Cannes in 2004, Marco Polo Symposium in 2008 and 2009).
• SOC Member of the DPS meeting in Padova (Italy) in 1999, of the Planetary Defense Conference in 2009, 2011 and 2013, of the DPS/EPSC meeting in Nantes (France) in 2011, of the EPSC meeting in Madrid in 2012.
• Collaborator in various granted proposals to NASA programs (PGG, Origins).
• Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal Icarus (2007-2010).
• Guest Editor of the proceedings of the 6th, 7th and 8th Catastrophic Disruption Workshops published in the journal Planetary and Space Sciences.
• Participation to Jury of selection of Associate and Full Professor positions at the Universities of Nice-Sophia Antipolis and Paris-Denis Diderot (2009-2012).
• Referee for several journals (Science, Nature, Icarus, Planetary and Space Sciences …), NASA PGG proposals, JAXA Hayabusa sample analysis proposals, proposals to the German program Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
• Participation to many outreach activities (TV and Radio shows, regular public lectures in various exhibitions or specific events, articles in journals and newspapers).

Thesis Supervision and teaching

Thesis supervisor of Steve Schwartz (co-tutelle with the Univ. of Maryland; co-sup. : Pr. Derek C. Richardson). Thesis title: « Numerical modeling of cohesion in gravitational aggregates » (from 02/2011).
• Thesis supervisor of Naomi Murdoch (co-tutelle the Open Universiy, UK; co-sup.: Pr. S. Green). Thesis title « Modelisation of granular material dynamics at the surface of asteroids and under various gravitational conditions (Mars, the Moon)». PhD diploma obtained in February 2012.
• Thesis supervisor of Martin Jutzi (co-tutelle with Univ. of Berne, Switzerland, cosup.: Pr. W. Benz); Thesis title : « The collisional process between small bodies: influence of porosity». PhD diploma obtained in February 2009.
• Post-doc supervisor of the Poincaré Fellow Kevin Walsh (2008-2009).
• Several lectures given in international Schools (e.g. the Kobe COE School of 2006, Japan, the Alpbach Summer School 2008, Austria) and French thematic schools of CNRS on the Chronology of the Solar System, Numerical Aggregates etc …

Public Activities

President of the Astronomical Society of Cannes
Popular conferences for the Astronomical French Society, the Lyons and Rotary Clubs, Cannes-University, The Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen (Nice), the Collège Paul Valéry, the PARSEC association (Nice, astrorama).
Scientific articles on Asteroids and Comets in the Encyclopaedia Universalis
Contribution to Scientific Articles in the Journals Ciel & Espace, Science et Vie, Science et Avenir, La Recherche
Participation to TV and Radio shows on asteroids and planetary formation

Membership in Professional Societies:

- American Astronomical Society, Division of Planetary Sciences.
- International Astronomical Union (IAU), Division F
- Société Française d'Astronomie et d'Astrophysique (SF2A).
- New York Academy of Sciences.

Journals served as manuscript referee:

Icarus  -  Planetary and Space Sciences - Science - Nature - Journal of Geophysical Research - Advances in Space Research- Earth, Moon & Planets