List of FAWSA speakers

Name :  Assad Randa

Institution :  American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates



Randa Asa'd obtained her Ph.D from University of Cincinnati - USA in 2012 and is currently an Assistant Professor at the Americain University of Sharjah (AUS). She has been teaching physics and astronomy at AUS for the past 4 years. Her area of research is in observational astrophysics, namely obtaining the ages of star clusters in the Large Magelanic Cloud (LMC) galaxy from their integrated spectra. Her research observations are obtained using SOAR and Blanco telescopes in Chile. In the past 4 years she published 4 peer-reviewed papers in top astronomical journals.  

Name :  Baraka Suleiman

Institution :  Al Aqsa University, Palestine



Suleiman M Baraka holds a UNESCO Chair in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Islamic University in Gaza,Palestine.  He is the founder and director of Center for Astronomy and space sciences at Al aqsa University, Gaza, Palestine. Research interests are simulation of interaction of solar wind with planets magnetic fields. Compare modeling with data from Themis, MMS, Cluster and other space missions. Initiate many amateur astronomers in Palestine, West Bank and Gaza. Associate researcher at NIA-NASA, and IAP-CNRS, Paris France.

Name :  Baratoux David

Institution :  Toulouse University, France


Associate professor at the University of Toulouse, and has been involved in the exploration of the solar system over the last 15 years. He has authored or co-authored 65 articles about planetary formation and evolution. In particular, he has contributed to the understanding of the volcanic history of Mars in relation to the thermal evolution of its interior. He is Editor of Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets (American Geophysical Union), which is one of the leading scientific journals in planetary sciences. He is currently working in West Africa (2014 - 2018), with the Institute of Research for Development. Now based in Dakar, at the Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire, he is involved in several projects related to capacity building and training, geology of Archean and Paleoproterozoic Earth (mineral resources) and astrogeology.

Name :  Benhida Abdelmajid

Institution :  Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco


Professor Abdelmjid Benhida graduated (PHD) in a physics of the sensors from (USTL) the university of Montpellier and Cadi Ayad university of Marrakech. He's an astrophysics researcher in Cadi Ayyad University department of physics in Marrakech since 1991.

In 2006, he works on site testing field with the LPHEA laboratory team, what allow Morocco to be selected for the site study campaign for the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT).

At present, he is making Spectro-photometry observations of variable stars at the Oukaimeden Observatory. He's a member of the “Association d'Astronomie Amateur de Marrakech” (3AM), a cultural association aiming to promote science of the universe towards the large public audience (Scholars in particular).

Name :  Benkhaldoun Zouhair

Institution :  Oukaimeden Observatory, Morocco


Professor Zouhair Benkhaldoun graduated (PHD) in astrophysics from the university of Nice Sophia Antipolis in France and Cadi Ayyad university of Marrakech. He is also graduated (PHD) in Energetics from University of Provence in Marseille France.

In 1985 he founds along with three other researchers the first Astrophysics laboratory in Morocco. He joins the university of Marrakech in 1992 and founded the laboratory of High Energy Physics and Astrophysics (LPHEA) in 1999. He also works on the creation of the first professional Astronomic Observatory at Oukaimeden inaugurated in 2007 and directs it since then. He founds in 1999 the “Association d'Astronomie Amateur de Marrakech” (3AM), a cultural association aiming to promote science of the universe towards the large public audience (Scholars in particular). These works on site testing field allow Morocco to be selected for the site study campaign for the European Extremely Large Telescope (EELT).

He has authored or co-authored more than 120 publications in Astronomy and astrophysics field. It has been elected (may 2013) as president of the Moroccan National Committee of Astronomy. He is carrying an ambitious project to build a 2 meters telescope in Morocco.

Name :  Chabab Mohamed

Institution :  LPHEA, Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco


Mohamed Chabab is professor of theoretical physics at Cadi Ayyad University. He has also been visiting professor to many renowned international institutes as ICTP, Academia Sinica, King Saud University... His research interests are in high energy physics (theory and Phenomenology) with main expertise in Higgs Physics, Extension of Standard Models and black hole criticality. He has been involved in many international projects with several countries as Italy, England, France, Portugal, Taiwan and Sweden.  He is also Director of the High Energy Physics and Astrophysics Laboratory (LPHEA) of which he is one of the founders in 1999. Finally, he is a Scientific Committee member of  Cadi Ayyadi University."

Name :  Chance Kelly  

Institution :  Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA

E-mail :


TEMPO Principal Investigator. Senior physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and a lecturer at Harvard University. Research interest are molecular spectroscopy, structure and dynamics and their application to atmospheric studies, including laboratory spectroscopy and balloon-, aircraft- and satellite-borne measurements of the earth's atmosphere; atmospheric composition and radiative transfer; chemical astrophysics.

Name :  Daassou Ahmed    

Institution :  Oukaimeden Observatory, Morocco


Ahmed Daassou graduated (PHD) in astrophysics from Cadi Ayyad university of Marrakech.  He continues his research in several fields in astrophysics:  detection and modeling of the atmosphere of exoplanets, detection and analysis of lunar flashes, photometric and spectroscopic study of meteors, stellar occultation by small solar system body ....''

Name :  Fereira Pedro G.    

Institution :  Oxford University, UK



Ferreira's main interests are in general relativity and theoretical cosmology. He has authored more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.[5] With Michael Joyce, in 1997 he was one of the first to propose quintessence scalar field models as a possible explanation of dark energy. Ferreira was also a member of the MAXIMA and BOOMERanG balloon-borne CMB experiments, which measured the acoustic peaks of the CMB. He is currently involved in several proposals to test general relativity using the Euclid spacecraft and Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

See more about Pedro:

Name : Ferlet Roger    

Institution : Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, France

E-mail :


Name :  Guessoum Nidhal    

Institution : American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates



Nidhal Guessoum M.Sc, P.hD.  is an Algerian astrophysicist. He is a professor at the American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. His research interests range from gamma-ray astrophysics, such as positron-electron annihilation, nuclear gamma-ray lines, and gamma-ray bursts, to Islamic astronomy, i.e. crescent visibility, Islamic calendar, and prayer times at high latitudes, problems that have yet to be fully resolved. He has published a number of technical works and lectured internationally at many renowned universities (Cambridge, Oxford, Cornell, Wisconsin, and others).

In June 2003, he was awarded the 2nd Research Prize in Sciences, Engineering, and Architecture at his university.

In addition to his academic work, he writes about issues related to science, education, the Arab world, and Islam. Guessoum is also a columnist for Gulf News and The Huffington Post, and has made notable contributions to Nature Middle East.  With a number of publications (including a notable book on the subject), he has recently become a prime scholar on the relations between Islam and modern science.

Name :  Mimouni Jamal    

Institution : University of Constantine, Algeria



An Algerian astrophysicist, who received his higher education partly in Algeria (B. Sc. in Theoretical Physics in 1977) and partly in the States (Ph. D. in Particle Physics in 1985 from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia). Besides his teaching and formal research in astroparticle physics, he has been actively involved in the organization of a series of Schools and Conferences on Theoretical Physics as well as Astrophysics which bring together researchers from the various Algerian universities and research centers as well as a number of European and African universities. He is also active in science outreach to the general public.

Name :  Moumen  Ismaël    

Institution : Laval University, Canada

E-mail :


Ismael Moumen is a PhD Student in Astrophysics under the supervision of Prof. Carmelle Robert from Laval University and Dr. Daniel Devost from Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. He is studing the impact of the galactic bars on the galaxy evolution using 3D spectroscopic data obtained from the first generation of the Fourier Transform Spectro-Imagers SpIOMM (installed in the Mont-Mégantic Observatory) and SITELLE (installed in the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope).

Name :  Ory Michel    

Institution : Société Astronomique du Jura, Swizerland

E-mail :

Michel Ory is one of the Tree partner of the MOSS telescope installed at Oukaimeden Observatory.

Somme words about Michel (from wikipedia)

“It was on the nights of 26–27 and 27–28 August 2008 that Ory discovered what he thought was a near-Earth asteroid,[8] which he reported to the Minor Planet Center, Harvard.[4] At around 8:08 p.m. on August 28 he received notification from the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams (CBAT) that the object was in fact a periodic comet: the announcement ran, "An apparently asteroidal object discovered by Michel Ory (Delemont, Switzerland, on CCD images obtained with a 0.61-m f/3.9 reflector at Vicques; discovery observation tabulated below), which was posted on the Minor Planet Center's 'NEOCP' webpage, has been found by other CCD observers to be cometary."[8]

The comet was named P/2008 Q2 Ory after him, and the CBAT announcement brought congratulations from around the world.[4] The comet orbits the sun in an elliptical orbit with a period of 5.96 years.[9]

Ory received the Edgar Wilson Award from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Harvard University,[2] and later in 2008 a square in Viques was named Place de la Comète P/2008 Q2 Ory in honour of his discovery.[10]

See more:

Name :  Raid Suleiman  

Institution : Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA



TEMPO Principal Investigator. Senior physicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and a lecturer at Harvard University. Research interests are molecular spectroscopy, structure and dynamics and their application to atmospheric studies, including laboratory spectroscopy and balloon-, aircraft- and satellite-borne measurements of the earth's atmosphere; atmospheric composition and radiative transfer; chemical astrophysics.

Name :  Sefyani Fouad  

Institution : Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco

E-mail :

Sefyani Lakrizi Fouad is a professor in stellar spectroscopy at Cadi Ayyad University. He earned his PhD thesis at the University of Lille 1 in 1994 in theoretical spectroscopy. Professor Assistant at the Faculty of Science and Technology since 1996. He obtained his habilitation research in 2004 at the University Ibn Tufail. His research interest focuses on the atmospheric dynamics of the variable stars RR Lyrae-through their spectroscopic events. He is currently the President of the educational committee of the faculty, coordinator of DEUST MIPC, member of the physics laboratory of high energy and astrophysics (LPHEA) and member of the Astronomical Observatory of Oukaïmeden. He is a board member and Treasurer of the Association Amateur Astronomy Marrakech (3AM)

Name :  Szentgyorgyi Andy      

Institution : Harvard - Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA

E-mail:  azentgyorgy


Andy Szentgyorgyi is the Associate Director of the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences (SSP) at the Smithsoniasn Center for Astrophysics. He is the principal investigator of the GMT-Consortium Large Earth Finder (G-CLEF), the first light instrument for the Giant Magellan Telescope. With the G-CLEF scientific team, he is exploring the potential of G-CLEF to detect biomarkers in the atmospheres of habitable-zone exoplanets. His research interests include neutrino astronomy, very high energy gamma astronomy and X-ray astronomy. For the last two decades he has focused on optical high dispersion stellar spectroscopy with a focus on precision measurement of stellar radial velocities.

Name :  Vilmer Nicole    

Institution : LESIA, Paris Observatory, France

E-mail :

Dr Nicole Vilmer is director of research CNRS at LESIA (Laboratoire d’Etude Spatiale et d’instrumentation en Astrophysique) Paris Observatory. She got her PhD and Thèse d’Etat from Université Paris 7.Her expertise is in the field of the study of solar flares and of the acceleration and transport in the solar atmosphere of energetic electrons and ions. Her research is based on the analysis and interpretation of radio, hard X-‐ray/γ-‐ray and neutrons from solar flares as well as on the development of models of transport and radiation. She has been largely involved in the analysis and interpretation of radio observations from the Nançay Radioheliograph and of X-‐ray and gamma-‐ray solar observations in the frame of guest-‐investigator programs on several US missions as well as in a close collaboration with the French team at CESR (Toulouse) which was responsible for the development and analysis of the PHEBUS experiment aboard GRANAT (solar bursts in the 100 keV-‐100 MeV energy range). She is now Co-‐I on the RHESSI mission and on the STIX experiment on Solar Orbiter. She has also been involved in several studies related to space weather activities (link between solar flares, CMEs and ionospheric response). She has published more than 90 papers in refereed journals and has given more more than 30 invited reviews.

In addition to scientific research on flares, she is actively involved in the field of space weather, being the national representative for ISWI, a member of the ESA Space Weather Working team and a member of the COSPAR/ILWS space weather road map team. She has served in French advising committees, being e.g. the president of the French national Program on Solar-‐Terrestrial Physics from 2003 to 2009. She is currently vice‐chair of COSPAR Commission D. She has given several general conferences for public.

Name :  Yaseen Al Malekeay

Institution : King Abdulaziz University Jeddah, KAS



Name :  Ziad Aziz

Institution : Nice University, France



The field of optical turbulence has emerged in a theoretical way in the 40’s through studies of the physics of turbulence and was then closely related to the development of High Angular Resolution (HAR) techniques in Astronomy, from speckle interferometry to adaptive optics with all its current developments, including very long baseline optical interferometry. At the   J. L. Lagrange   laboratory, the set of thematics developed in optical turbulence, is carried out by a team with a unique expertise at the national and international levels, in particular in the field of the site qualification for astronomy.

Prof. Aziz Ziad is the head of the “optical turbulence modeling and instrumentation” team of H. Fizeau laboratory. This team gathers know-hows in the wavefront propagation in turbulent media,   atmospheric physics linking the geophysical flows to optical turbulence, site-testing experiments based on well calibrated instruments, and a great expertise in real time programming allowing to develop software packages for data acquisition & processing, simulation and modeling.

This expertise allowed this team to participate in the selection of the major sites of all the greatest projects of existing telescopes in particular of the 8-10 meter class: GranTeCan in the Canary Islands, the European VLT and Southern Gemini in Chile, Keck, Northern Gemini & Subaru in Hawaii. With a unique set of instruments to probe atmospheric turbulence, our team was also involved in the site selection for the future ELT telescopes as the 40m European E-ELT and the 30 m American TMT. Our team was also involved in the qualification of the site of Dome C in Antarctica whose future potential is considerable.

Name : Al- Naimy Hamid

Institution :  University of Sharjah



Professor Hamid Al- Naimiy is Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean College of Sciences at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, and President of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences.

Al-Naimy received his B.Sc in Physics from the University of Baghdad, Iraq in 1971. He then went on to the University of Manchester in England, where he received a MSc in Astronomy in 1975, and his PhD in Astrophysics in 1977.

His Professional Experience:

• Professor of Astrophysics and Dean / College of Sciences / University of Sharjah, 2006 – Now.

• Professor of Astrophysics / and Chairman /Physics Department / Faculty of Science / UAE University, UAE, AL-Ain, 2001—2006.

• Professor of Astrophysics and Dean / Institute of Astronomy and Space Science, Al al-Bayt University, Jordan, 1994-2001.

• Professor of Astrophysics / College of Science University of Baghdad / 1995.

• Associate Professor and Physics Department Chair / College of Science/ University of Baghdad/ 1990 - 1994

• Senior Scientific Researcher and General Director /Astronomy and Space Science Center/Iraqi Council for Scientific Research, 1980 - 1989.

• Scientific Researcher/ the Iraqi Scientific Research Council, 1978 - 1980.

• Supervised around 30 MSc & PhD Students (Baghdad, Al-al-Bayt and UAE Universities).

Name :  Thibault

Institution :


Name :  Aycha Taymmour

Institution :  University of Western Ontario, Canada



Aycha Tammour is a Syrian astrophysicist who specializes in studying active galactic nuclei (AGN) focusing mostly on quasars. She finished her undergraduate degree in physics in Homs, Syria and moved to the US as a Fulbright student to do an MSc in physics at Minnesota State University where she took many astronomy courses and wrote a thesis on the properties of a peculiar class of AGN called Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 galaxies. She then moved to Canada to do her PhD at the University of Western Ontario studying the optical and UV spectra of quasars by applying advanced statistical analysis and machine learning techniques. She successfully defended her PhD in April, 2016. Some of her work appeared in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Name :  Roger Hajjar

Institution :  Notre Dame University, Beirut



Name : Jean Marc Conan

Institution : ONERA, France



Jean-Marc Conan is a senior scientist in the High Angular Resolution team of the Optics group of Onera, the French Aerospace Lab. He has worked for more than 20 years on techniques aiming at reaching the diffraction limit of optical instruments despite the presence of aberrations. His main research activity concerns the correction of atmospheric turbulence by adaptive optics (AO) for large astronomical telescopes. He has participated to several AO system studies for ESO Very Large Telescope (NAOS, SPHERE), and for the future European Extremely Large Telescope (MAORY, HARMONI, MOSAIC). His major publications are focused on: characterization of turbulence optical effects, optimal control for AO, wide field tomographic AO and deconvolution of AO corrected images. He also currently explores other applications that benefit from the above mentioned background: impact of turbulence on ground-space optical links for either high data rate optical telecommunications or high precision frequency transfer; AO for ophthalmology (human retina imaging and surgery); AO for 2 photon microscopy (in vivo calcium imaging of the mouse brain activity). His research activities benefit from fruitful collaborations with several institutes: French astronomical observatories (LAM, Paris Obs., Nice-Lagrange...), Institut d'Optique (IOGS), GEMINI, Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée (INMED), Institut Fresnel, Hôpital des Quinze-Vingts...