Conference and podcast (FRENCH)

Didier Queloz: Exoplanets and life in the Universe (FRENCH)

In Research


Astrophysicist, professor at ETH Zurich and Cambridge University, winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics and member of the SPECULOOS consortium, Didier Queloz was in Liège to present his views on the origin of life to the general public. The visit also led to the recording of an episode of the podcast Réflexions.



he diversity and prolific number of planets discovered orbiting stars have revolutionized our understanding of the nature and formation of planets, and the apparent rarity of planetary systems similar to our own. These results make it possible to probe the composition of planetary atmospheres in search of traces of activity linked to the potential emergence of life on them. At this conference, Didier Queloz discussed new perspectives on the origins of life, presented in the light of recent experiments, as well as a possible long-term path for detecting Earth-like systems suitable for the remote study of life.

Didier Queloz is an astrophysicist and Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the University of Cambridge. He is best known for having discovered - with Pr Michel Mayor - 51 Pegasi b, the first extrasolar planet confirmed as such, for which he and his colleague were awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Since the discovery of 51 Pegasi b, Didier Queloz's scientific contributions have focused on the detection and measurement of exoplanetary systems, with the aim of gathering information on their physical structure to better understand their formation and evolution, and to compare them with our solar system.

Today, its activity is focused on the detection of Earth-like planets, establishing a comprehensive research program with the aim of advancing our understanding of the habitability of exoplanets. He is also behind the creation of the Centre for Origins and Prevalence of Life (COPL) .

Didier Queloz has been working with the University of Liège for many years, thanks to his collaboration in the SPECULOOS consortium, headed by Michaël Gillon, FNRS Research Director, responsible for the discovery of the Trappist-1 exoplanetary system, Prix Francqui 2021.

PODCAST - Réflexions (FRENCH)

Listen to the 6th episode of the Réflexions scientific podcast devoted to this theme.
Didier Queloz (ETH Zurich/Cambridge University), Anne-Sophie Libert (UNamur) and Michaël Gillon (ULiège) discuss the search for life elsewhere in the universe and the growing interest it has aroused among scientists and the general public since the discovery of the 51-pegasi b.

Photos : ©ETH Zurich - @NASA/JPL Caltech

Share this news