New Crosby Postdoctoral Fellow

Helen Hill
Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A warm welcome for François Tissot who joined EAPS in January 2016 as the new W.O. Crosby Postdoctoral Fellow.

Tissot grew up in a small village in the countryside South-East of Bordeaux (France). He has always had a keen interest in space exploration but had mostly kept it as a hobby. While training as an engineer at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Géologie (ESNG, Nancy), he took a Geochemistry/Cosmochemistry class. Learning about the chemical evolution of the solar system and the planets, he quickly became hooked.

Tissot did his Ph.D under the supervision of Prof. Nicolas Dauphas in the Origins Lab at the University of Chicago. His thesis work was split between two main projects. In the first, Tissot studied inclusions from a pristine meteorite named Allende to try and determine whether a specific element, Curium, was present at the formation of the Solar System. While this may seem like an odd question to ask, there has been a lot of debate about this in the past 35 years because the abundance of Curium in the early solar nebula is a crucial parameter for models of stellar evolution and the synthesis of elements in stars. The second problem centered on trying to estimate oxygen levels in the deep ocean through Earth history. While these two topics may appear unrelated, it turns out that they can be studied using the same “tool”: the variations in the abundance of the two major isotopes of uranium (235U and 238U).

Some of Tissot’s current work is the natural continuation of his PhD. He says “there is, for instance, a lot left to do with regards to understanding the redox conditions in the ocean through time.” His primary love, however, is cosmochemistry, and one of his goals is to use the unique collection of meteoritic inclusions he gathered during his PhD to answer others questions regarding the physical and chemical conditions prevailing in the early Solar System.

“I was absolutely honored and thrilled to be offered the Crosby Fellowship. The culture of technological development that prevails at M.I.T. immediately appealed to me, because analytical advances are one of the core components of isotope geochemistry. Furthermore, the body of faculty at EAPS is extremely diverse. One can easily see the benefit of pursuing research in such an environment, being in contact with very bright yet very different researchers. I am excited at the idea of bringing my expertise to the EAPS community and grow from my interactions with its current members.”

In his free time François enjoys amateur photography and rock climbing.

To find out more about his work, Dr. Tissot is the speaker for one of our Spring 2016 COG3 seminars, or you can find him in 54-1118.

He is currently working with Timothy Grove and David McGee.

Story image: François Tissot - Image credit: Kent Dayton