Portrait of Michaël De Becker

New 2023 Lecturers Honoured

Lecturer in Space Science.

Could you briefly describe your background, your research topics and your conception of university teaching?

Unlike most of my direct colleagues, who tend to have a physicist or engineer profile, I completed a full course in chemical sciences at the University of Liège (candidature and bachelor's degree). I then identified the DEA in physics, with a focus on astrophysics and geophysics, as an opportunity to be seized (2001), after which I completed a doctoral thesis on the visible and low-energy X-ray study of a sample of massive stars, with a view to assessing their ability to produce a certain type of X-ray radiation and establishing a link with their possible binarity (2005).

Thanks to an FNRS research fellowship, I became involved in the teaching of the Master's degree in Space Science by proposing a course in astrochemistry, thus reconciling the two aspects of my mixed profile, and satisfying my scientific curiosity in a field very different from that of my main research. I was also involved in the promotion of this Master's degree. At the same time, I continued my research into the physics of massive stars. I was hired as1st Assistant in January 2010 in the AGO department. It was also at this time that I spent six months at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence.

By forging new international collaborations and devoting a significant part of my time to my own training, I have developed skills in shock physics and radio astrophysics, complementing my previous expertise in other spectral fields. I remain convinced that the main motivating factor for an academic must be a thirst for learning. Since then, most of my research has been concerned with the acceleration of particles to relativistic velocities in the vicinity of very massive stars, and this subject forms part of the more ambitious question of the origin of charged relativistic particles known as cosmic rays. 

My vision of teaching is in line with my holistic view of science, reflected in my approach to research. I often tell students that knowledge must be seen as a continuum, not as a fragmented juxtaposition of content elements delimited by distinct disciplines. As an academic, beyond the transmission of knowledge, it's a whole vision of science that we have to construct in front of students.


Michaël De Becker

© Photo : ULiège - B.Bouckaert - English translation :

Share this news