Honorary President of the Office for Climate Education
Pierre Léna is an astrophysicist, professor emeritus at the University of Paris-Diderot and at the Observatoire de Paris, where he spent most of his career. He has worked extensively on the development of infrared astronomy and on the design of the European Very Large Telescope built in Chile, by implementing revolutionary imaging techniques (adaptive optics and interferometry). Professor since 1973 at the University of Paris Diderot and at the Observatoire de Paris, where he is now emeritus, he has contributed to the training of generations of astrophysicists within the École doctorale Astronomie et Astrophysique d’Ile-de-France, which he directed for many years.
Passionate about the transmission of science, he has chaired the Institut national de recherche pédagogique and has been involved for 25 years in the operation La main à la pâte to bring science into elementary school, an operation founded alongside Georges Charpak and Yves Quéré. In addition to France, the principles and resources produced by La main à la pâte inspire a large number of countries, both developed and developing, to renovate their elementary science teaching, in connection with the Academy of Sciences and its action in France.
Pierre Léna chaired the CNRS Ethics Committee from 2003 to 2007. He is a member of the French Academy of Sciences, where he was Delegate for Education and Training (2005-2011), and of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He was the first president (2011-2014) of the Fondation de coopération scientifique La main à la pâte, set up in 2011 by the Academy of Sciences with the two ENS Ulm and Lyon, creator of the Maisons pour la science to serve teachers, in eleven French universities. In 2018, he co-founded the Office for Climate Education, a Foundation to support climate change education in schools, colleges and high schools, in France and around the world.
He is the author or co-author of numerous books and multimedia, scientific but also turned towards the general public or dealing with education.