Hélène Courtois is a French astrophysicist and world leader in “cosmography”. She is vice-president of the University of Lyon 1, senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France and knight of the academic palms.

Hélène uses the movements of galaxies to understand gravitation. His discovery of the extragalactic continent in which we live, “Laniakea”, had a resounding impact on the scientific sphere.

As a strong advocate of international cooperation, university education, the dissemination of scientific culture and education for all, she is the volunteer patron of the Vaulx-en-Velin planetarium, and has been an expert for ten years with the European Commission.

Passionate about the transmission of her discoveries, she regularly publishes scientific articles in specialized journals. She was on the cover of the renowned magazine “Nature”. Hélène is also the author of 3 books, “Voyage sur les flots de galaxies : Laniakea, and beyond“, “Explorers of Space: Journey to the Frontiers of the Universe” and a teaching book, and has contributed to the writing of 3 other books.

Ranked by Vanity Fair magazine among the 50 most influential French personalities in the world in 2017, Hélène Courtois has also received numerous awards, including the French Scientific Outreach Award in 2018.


  • Astrophysics
  • Cosmography
  • Science


  • English
  • French

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During a day suspended outside of everyday life, you will dive into the heart of the cosmos to experience the vertigo of the emergence of new knowledge. Alongside Hélène Courtois astrophysicist, co-discoverer of our cosmic address. You will discover the architecture of the universe: wonderful sculptures of galaxies carved by gravity and expansion.

You will get answers to the three founding questions: Where are we? Where are we going and where are we from?

This meeting takes place in a unique place in the world, 4000 m^2 mixing art and science, knowledge and sensory experiences.

Hélène will first talk to you about her research, with a world tour of observatories located in the most fascinating sites on the planet, in order to put together the pieces of the puzzle of mapping the universe.

She will then guide you on an exhibition tour telling our story: the development of the complexity of the universe: from the Big Bang to the living.

After a space lunch, you will be amazed by the projection of a show on a 3D vault. Finally, the meeting will end with all the questions you would have always wanted to ask a humanist scientist and/or a focus on a specific theme: how to finance expeditions, development projects, how to manage a team of various talents, how to recruit talents, how to motivate people, how to deal with failures, etc…

Welcome to a journey into the heart of the cosmos and yourself.

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Our galaxy and its neighbors move through the universe at an incredible speed of several hundred kilometers every second. This observation has been known since the early 1960s without astrophysicists being able to fully explain its cause. This speed is not due to the general expansion of the universe, but rather to the gravitational force generated by the matter distributed around us. In the 1990s an American team of cosmologists, researchers working to understand the laws that govern the universe as a whole, proposed the model of a “great attractor”, located in a region of the universe hidden from our view.

A Lyon speciality, which is not linked to gastronomy, is called cosmography. The aim is to map the positions and movements of galaxies in order to understand the physical laws that give rise to these celestial architectures that we observe in the distribution of light matter. In this quest, Hélène Courtois and her team discovered the super continent of galaxies in which we live: “Laniakea”, making the headlines of the prestigious journal Nature.

In this conference, Hélène presents this discovery and the continuation of the research: with the observational campaigns using telescopes located in Hawaii, Australia and South Africa. She also explains the methods of analysis that her team has invented to understand our close cosmic environment.

Format: 2h30 outdoor conference: 45 minutes of presentation – 45 minutes of questions – 1 hour of exchanges: signing sessions, private meetings.

Have questions? Need help? Please Contact Us:

+33 (0)1 39 15 83 15 –

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