Sotiris Loucatos, director of the APC laboratory and director of UnivEarthS

Sotiris Loucatos, director of the APC laboratory and director of UnivEarthS, is featured this week in the Paris Diderot University research newsletter.

You can read the paper in the newsletter Diderot Infos or below :




Since January, Sotiris Loucatos has been in charge of the AstroParticule and Cosmology laboratory (Paris Diderot, CNRS, CEA, Paris Observatory) before handing over to Antoine Kouchner this summer.

While still a physics student and very interested in philosophy, Sotiris Loucatos turned to particle physics to understand the “why of the how”. “The great mysteries of the universe have always fascinated me. And at that time, I thought that by understanding the infinitely small, I would understand everything. Looking back, it’s not that simple,” he says. Since then, Sotiris Loucatos has spent most of his research career at the CEA (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies renouvelables). In Saclay, he has been studying astroparticle physics, cosmic neutrinos and cosmology since the 1990s…

From the infinitely small to the infinitely large

His activities naturally led him to collaborate with the APC laboratory teams. And it was in 2012 that Sotiris Loucatos finally joined them.” My friend Pierre Binétruy, who founded this laboratory, offered me the position of assistant director of research. I accepted, the proposal to supervise about thirty projects, all more interesting than the others, was a nice challenge. The APC laboratory, under the supervision of the University Paris Diderot, the CNRS, the CEA and the Paris Observatory, has enjoyed an excellent reputation since its creation in 2005. When he arrived, Sotiris Loucatos knew what he was getting into.” The positioning at the interface of the infinitely small and the infinitely large brings the laboratory towards cutting-edge research fields: cosmology, gravitation, high-energy astrophysics, neutrino physics. The 200 people attached to the APC laboratory (researchers, engineers, technicians, etc.) plus dozens of trainees work on leading international programs. Currently, the teams are associated with major space projects, such as Planck, LISA, Athena, the French-Chinese SVOM satellite, or ground-based projects such as VIRGO, CTA, Antarès-KM3NeT, LSST, QUBIC…

Passing of relays

Since January 2018, Sotiris Loucatos has taken over the management of the APC laboratory. He succeeds Stavros Katsanevas, who himself succeeded Pierre Binétruy.” I am of the same generation as Stavros and Pierre, we followed the same DEA in 1976. I agreed to take over the management of the laboratory to perpetuate and develop the research programs. He devotes all his time to running the laboratory and hoisting it into projects of scale and future.” But at 64, I will hand over to Antoine Kouchner in July. The next generation is here, they must take the management positions!”