Roger Wiens is a researcher studying special geology at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. Since his childhood, he has had an unquenchable fascination with Mars. In 1988, he received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Minnesota, where he studied the Martian atmosphere trapped in meteorites. His successful work at the Houston Space Center and later at the Scripps Institute in San Diego concerned the composition of solar winds, comets and planetary surfaces. To this end, he is a major actor in the development of mass spectroscopy instruments.
As a leading scientist, Roger Wiens has directed numerous innovative collaborative research projects with French Scientists, thereby furthering the extent of scientific cooperation between France and the United States. The most noteworthy example was his remarkable collaboration with Sylvester Maurice on the ChemCam project in which they developed a state of the art laser spectroscopy instrument which is currently being used by the “Curiosity” rover to explore the surface of Mars. Moreover, he has published over forty joint papers with IRAP, which has in turn given numerous students and researchers opportunities to participate in exchange programs.
In 2014, NASA selected the new brainchild of Roger Wiens and Sylvestre Maurice, "SuperCam", to be equipped on the rover currently being developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which will be sent to explore Mars in 2020. This phenomenal success underscores the fruitfulness of the NASA/CNES partnership that Dr. Wiens and Dr. Maurice have tenderly nurtured and has helped weave an everlasting bond between these two institutions.
In recognition of his extraordinary career and his exceptional efforts in the domain of French-American scientific cooperation, Roger Wiens received on April 7, 2016 the insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, which was presented by the Consul general of France in Los Angeles, Christophe Lemoine.
The ceremony was organized by the Office of Science and Technology of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles.
- Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France in Los Angeles and Dr. Roger Wiens, researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory