Prof. Francesco Pepe
Francesco Alfonso Pepe obtained his degree in physics (1992) and his PhD (1995) from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. There he specialised in the construction of state-of-the-art astronomical instruments. He has been a full professor at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) since 2019.
He joined UNIGE's Department of Astronomy in 1998, under the impetus of Michel Mayor, to design a new spectrograph for the search for exoplanets. It is this instrument, HARPS, that has enabled Michel Mayor and his team to maintain pole position in the race to detect Earth-like planets. After having been the scientist in charge of the HARPS instrument, Francesco Pepe has developed the Department of Astronomy's instrumentation group, which obtained a worldwide reputation for building many other instruments that are among the most precise in the world. He heads the consortia that are essential to the design of instruments that require large international collaboration. This is the case of the ESPRESSO spectrograph, now installed at the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.
Author of more than 400 scientific articles, Francesco Pepe has been Director of the Department of Astronomy since 2019, a member of ESO's Scientific Technical Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Swiss Astronomy Commission of the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Francesco Pepe was born in Olten (SO) on 3 August 1968. He is married with three children. Swiss and Italian, he is fluent in French, German, Swiss German, Italian and English, and also speaks Spanish.