The SVOM family is in mourning
Our friend and colleague Pierre Mandrou, astrophysicist at former CESR and now IRAP, passed away on Wednesday, September 27 at the age of 75, after a lucid and courageous fight against the disease.
Pierre has been an outstanding instrumental scientist in the domain of space gamma-ray astronomy, one of IRAP’s major scientific and technical expertises.
Since 1970, with his colleagues and friends at the CEA-Saclay, he has been working on the development of “spatialized” gamma-ray detectors. In particular, he was the scientific co-PI for the CNES SIGMA space telescope on board the Soviet GRANAT satellite. This pioneering mission made it possible to obtain the first high sensitivity and angular resolution mapping of the sky between 20 and 2000 keV, leading to the discovery of the “great annihilator” in the centre of our galaxy. He then worked as the “Instrument Scientist” of the CNES SPI telescope on ESA’s INTEGRAL satellite, another tremendous success, recently rewarded by the detection of the short gamma-ray burst associated with the gravitational wave source GW170817.
In recent years, he spent his energy on our SVOM project, of which he was scientific advisor. He was responsible for many contributions such as the impact of the South Atlantic Anomaly on the instruments or the definition of the mission’s pointing strategy. But for the SVOM family, Pierre will remain the father of the ECLAIRs telescope. He scientifically specified this instrument, dimensioned it and defined its overall properties.
For all those who had the chance to work with him, Pierre was and will remain a reference. We will remember his physical presence, his enthusiasm, his warm voice, his communicative skills and his great generosity.
The many testimonies we received attest Pierre’s influence and sympathy inside our community.