Wednesday 12 december 2018
Amphi Bloch l'Orme des Merisiers - Saclay

It was with great emotion that we learned of the passing of our colleague and friend Bertrand Carré. He fought with impressive courage against the critical illness diagnosed in July 2016. Until these last days, he continued to work, coming to the lab regulary, to participate in a number of meetings that instigated the collective at the level of the University Paris Saclay.

Indeed, the word "collective" is not vain for Bertrand. We can also associate with him the word "benevolence" and it was based on these two values that he led his entire career with a modesty that could sometimes astonish, as unjustified as it seems in view of his achievements.

Bertrand will remain for us a great gentleman. Outstanding scientist, elected member of the Academic Council of the Paris-Saclay University, Bertrand Carré has contributed, tirelessly, with constant benevolence and an acute sense of the collective to the scientific life of the community, participating in particular in multiple councils (PHOM department, EDOM doctoral school), scientific advisory boards (Sun synchrotron), steering committees (RTRA Triangle of Physics, PALM Laboratory of Excellence), and national and international recruitment committees…

Bertrand joined the Ecole Polytechnique in 1975 and pursued a DEA in physics from the Paris-Sud University. He then began his doctoral thesis in the Department of Physics of Atoms and Surfaces (SPAS) of the Directorate of Fundamental Research (DRF) of CEA in Saclay. His early work focused on the laser induced ionization of alkali metals in the gas phase, in collaboration with Gérard Spiess. After his PhD defense, in 1986, he continued his work with François Gounand on the spectroscopy of multi-electron active systems within the SPAS (soon renamed SPAM - Photon, Atom and Molecule Service) in collaboration with the teams of LSAI (Laboratory of Atomic and Ionic Spectroscopy) and LURE (Laboratory for the Use of Electromagnetic Radiation).

In 1995, Bertrand turned to the emerging field of laser-matter interaction in intense fields and succeeded Anne L'Huilier, appointed Professor at the University of Lund, at the head of the "Harmonics" group of SPAM. He then led, with his colleagues Pascal Salières and Maciek Lewenstein, and soon Hamed Merdji, a set of experimental and theoretical studies on the mechanism of high-order harmonic generation - observed for the first time in Saclay in 1987 - which revealed its remarkable properties. The characterization and optimization of this coherent and ultra-short source of ultraviolet radiation opened the way for many pioneering applications on the femtosecond scale in the gas, condensed and plasma phases, which Bertrand was very keen on.

From 2001, a new step is taken: in collaboration with Pierre Agostini and Alfred Maquet, the team carries out a series of works on the characterization of the radiation on the attosecond scale, and its first applications to the imaging of ultrafast electronic wave packets. This strong initial impulse has been decisive in the emergence of the so-called "attosecond science", a discipline now pursued worldwide by some fifty groups in Europe, Asia and America. The craze is such that, despite his modesty but under the friendly pressure of his colleagues, he decides to change the name of the group: "From now on, we will call ourselves the ATTOPhysics group"  [1]! ».

On this momentum and this now international renown, he decides in 2011 to give a new impetus. This will prove to be a major one in terms of structuring, at the Paris-Saclay University level, the large scientific community working on the dynamics of ultra-fast processes. He was the architect and then the coordinator of the ATTOLAB "Excellence Equipment" program. Inaugurated in February 2017, this set of three experimental platforms, which brings together 9 laboratories  [2] , places French research in the field of ultra-fast dynamics at the highest international level.

Cosiderate, modest and benevolent, such was our friend Bertrand, exceptional by his scientific abilities as by his human qualities. His profound humanity, built on a great culture, touched everyone who met him. He remains for us an example.

[1] ATTOPhysics group : Thierry Auguste, Marc Billon, Willem Boutu, Pierre Breger, Christian Cornaggia, Marie Géléoc, Hamed Merdji, Patrick Monchicourt, Thierry Ruchon, Pascal Salières, Ismael Vadillo-Torre and Bertrand Carré Carré (permanent researchers), as well as many students and postdocs over the years.

[2]  The 9 laboratories of  ATTOLab EQUIPEX :

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