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Contact Info:

Office:Room 147, Building 245
Mail: M/S 245-6, Moffett Field, CA 94035
Phone: 650 - 604 - 0789
Fax: 650 - 604- 6779
Email: Michel.Nuevo-1 at nasa.gov

Michel Nuevo


Michel Nuevo grew up in France, where he studied physico-chemistry and astrophysics at the universities of Orsay (Paris Sud or Paris 11), and Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris 6). He obtained his master degrees in both Molecular Physico-Chemistry (Paris 11) and Instrumentation in Astrophysics (Paris 6) in 2001, and started a PhD at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale at the Université Paris 11 (Orsay) in Dr. Louis d'Hendecourt's "Astrochimie Expérimentale" team, from which he graduated in January 2005, the title of his PhD dissertation being "Photolysis of interstellar ices and production of organic molecules: Laboratory simulations" (in French). His work was focused on the physico-chemical evolution of ices of astrophysical interest when they are irradiated by UV photons at low temperature, to the formation of amino acids and other complex organic molecules, using mainly infrared spectroscopy and chromatography techniques such as HPLC and GC-MS for the data analysis, as well as synchrotron radiation beams for some of the experiments.

After his PhD, he went for a postdoc to the Graduate Institute of Astronomy, and the Department of Physics of the National Central University in Jhongli, Taiwan, where he worked with Drs. Wing-Huen Ip and Tai-Sone Yih on the evolution of interstellar ice analogs and the formation of organic matter after UV photon irradiation and energetic ion bombardment, until July 2007. For this work, infrared spectroscopy and HPLC were mainly used as analytical tools, synchrotron radiation was the main light source for the UV irradiation of the ices, and an ion accelerator was used for the ion bombardment of the ices.

Since October 2007, he is an NPP postdoc fellow at NASA Ames, where he works in the Astrochemistry group in Dr. Scott Sandford's team, studying the photochemistry of pyrimidine and purine in ices of astrophysical interest, and the formation of nucleobases under astrophysically-relevant conditions. With Stefanie Milam, he studies how complex organic compounds such as nucleobases can be formed in space and preserved through the formation of the Solar System, using infrared spectroscopy, HPLC and GC-MS, in order to explain the presence of such molecules in some meteorites that fell down on Earth. From a more astrobiological point of view, this study aims at linking the extraterrestrial delivery of organics on telluric planets with the molecules that may be involved in the origin of life on the primitive Earth about 3.8 billion years ago.

When he is not at Ames, Michel likes to travel, study languages (Mandarin and Japanese), enjoy good food, play piano, listen to music, watch movies, play pool and tennis.

Michel's major publications can be found on the Astrochemistry Laboratory's Publications Pages.