It is with great pleasure that the CSS formally welcomes Dr Damya Souami as the new Session Chair for Astronomy. Dr Souami will be a key national point of contact for members, chapters, partners and the general public for items involving the astronomy profession and pastime. Details regarding her duties can be found here.
About Dr Souami:
Dr. Damya Souami completed her PhD in Celestial Mechanics, with honours, at the University Pierre & Marie Curie (Paris 6), France in December, 2012.
In 2005, she was accepted into the Erasmus exchange programme, which is an exchange programme for European students in European universities. She spent a year in the United Kingdom, at Cardiff University, completing her 3rd year in the joint mathematics and physics programme. There, she had the honour of working with the late Professor Alexei Lvovich Ivanov (1957-2010), who is the "the greatest scientist"that she has had the opportunity to work with. Professor Ivanov supervised her B.Sc. thesis entitled,"The Weak and Strong Coupling Limits in Light-Matter Interaction, Polaritons".
After completing her year in Cardiff, she moved to Paris to join the Physics Master programme at the University Pierre & Marie Curie. There, she specialised in Astronomy, specifically in the Dynamics of gravitational Systems.
During her master thesis, she worked under the direction of Professor Bruno Sicardy (LESIA, Observatory of Paris-Meudon), and Professor Stefan Renner (IMCCE & University of Lille 1, France.) on the study of the evolution of Neptune’s Arcs since the Voyager mission.As a PhD candidate, Dr. Souami worked under the supervision of Professor Anne Lemaître (NAXYS, Belgium) and Dr. Jean Souchay (SYRTE, Observatory of Paris). She addressed the issue of the distribution of Main Belt Asteroids, thus investigating both dynamical and observational aspects. She has since worked in collaboration with several groups from the University of Vienna (Austria), UNESP Sao Paolo (Brazil), as well as the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Tokyo on the subject of minor planet studies. In June 2012, she went to Hokkaido, Japan to observe the transit of Venus.
Dr. Damya Souami enjoyed her PhD thesis at the observatory of Paris, as this allowed her to combine her interest in fundamental Astronomy as well as the History of Astronomy. At the observatory of Paris she attended seminars exploring the History of Astronomy every chance she had. This allowed her to meet Mrs. Suzane Debarbat who she truly respects and who is passionate and knowledgeable of the rich history of Observatory of Paris and the French astronomy. She also metDr. Michel Blay who is a Historian of Science and a member of the French Académie des Sciences.
Her interest in history and French astronomical heritage lead her to facilitate lectures for the general public at the Observatory of Paris. She enjoyed sharing her passion for science as well as the historical heritage of the Observatory with the public.
Damya believes strongly that the sharing of scientific knowledge with the public isan important mandate that scientists must adhere. As such, she has participated in several public outreach activities as a lead teacher, a university lecturer, and an education supervisor.
In 2014, she obtained her University lecturer certificate administered by the French Ministry of Higher Education.
While doing her PhD, she was an active member of the Doc’Up Society which is a society of PhD candidates from the Sorbonne Universities Research and Higher Education associations. She was also a member of the society's administrative board for the year 2012, and she participated actively in two commissions as an education organiser for a short film festival that aimed to educate the public on the sciences. With the professional commission, she organnised breakfast and dinner discussion meetings to exchanges ideas about career opportunities for PhD graduates.
Upon completion of her PhD thesis, Damya Souami did short post-docs in France, Belgium, and Japan where she visited the National Observatory of Tokyo twice in 2014 as an invited researcher.
Damya moved to Toronto in the summer of 2014 and became a member of the Canadian Space Society. She is now a part-time Mathematics and French professor at Seneca College. She is looking forward to being active within the Canadian Space Society, and to her new life in Canada.