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Country

Morocco

Sector(s)

Known for Being

The first Moroccan woman to set foot on Antarctica

The planter of the first Arab flag in Antarctica.

The world's first astronomer to be committed to installing the large astronomical observatory in Antarctica.

Major Accomplishments

Dr. Merieme Chadid is an explorer and astronomer. She is the first Moroccan to set foot on Antarctica, in 2005, thus marking the first Arab flag in Antarctica. Chadid pursued higher education at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence, obtaining a Phd in Astronomy and Space from Paul Sabatier University for her study entitled Stellar Pulsation and Evolution. She also obtained the highest university qualification degree HDR (a second Phd) at Nice Sophia-Antipolis University. She continued in her career as an engineer astrophysicist at the National Center for Scientific Research located in France. It was while working in this capacity that Chadid was selected by the European Southern Observatory to work on the installation of the VLT (Very Large Telescope) in the Atacama Desert.

Of her many achievements, Chadid notes that one of her most treasured accomplishments has been her work under extreme conditions at the heart of Antarctica, describing it as one of the coldest, most deserted and inaccessible places in the world, and comparing the installation of an observatory there to a space mission. With night continuing for several months of the year, researchers at the Antarctica stations have the advantage of being able to study the stars 24/7. Chadid, as a Moroccan astronomer, has come a long way since she first studied the night skies in the country of her birth. Listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the thirty most interesting workers in the world, Chadid was one of the astronomers involved in installing VLT telescopes in Chile's barren Atacama Desert, and is considered to be the world's first astronomer to be committed to installing the large astronomical observatory in Antarctica, where she has carried out pioneering work at the heart of Antarctica.

Chadid's current research fields are focused on stellar and universal evolution. Her scientific discoveries are published in numerous international reviews and books. She also gives lectures and supervises PhD students. Chadid has won many awards throughout her career. She obtained the first Arab Woman of the Year Award in Science by Regent’s University London and is a decorated “grade officier” by His Majesty the King of Morocco. Recently, she was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, a new title for her to continue making the world a better place.

Last modified: 02/11/2019

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