Conny Aerts

CONNY AERTS is full professor and director of the Institute of Astronomy of Leuven University, Belgium, after undergraduate studies in mathematics at Antwerp University, PhD studies in astrophysics at Leuven University and Postdoctoral Fellowships of the Research Foundation Flanders. She also leads the Chair in Asteroseismology at the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. She is an expert in asteroseismology and variable star data mining of the Hipparcos, MOST, CoRoT, Kepler, and Gaia space data. Conny Aerts was awarded with two ERC Advanced Grants (2009-2020).  Together with her PhD students and postdocs, she made major contributions to stellar physics, such as the discovery of non-radial pulsation modes, of dipole mixed modes, and of non-rigid rotation in red giant stars, following earlier detections of core overshooting and core rotation in massive stars.  Her ERC research culminated in the 2012 Francqui Prize, also termed Belgian Nobel Prize, where she was the first woman to receive this prestigious award in the category of Science & Technology since its creation in 1933.  Until 2017, she supervised 42 Master thesis students, 23 graduated PhD students, and 14 externally recruited postdocs. She is member of numerous international expert committees and advisory boards worldwide. As Belgian PI, she is heavily involved in the preparation of the ESA M3 space mission PLATO (launch 2025). Conny Aerts is married and mother of two children.