Jean-Loup Puget was born in 1947 in Chalon-sur-Saône, in the Burgundy region of France. He graduated from the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan in 1969. He received a Master in Physics from Orsay University, and worked for a Master of Advanced Studies at the theoretical division of CERN on a matter-antimatter symmetrical model of the universe, and got his PhD from Paris University. His extensive list of academic and research positions include fellowships at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and UC Berkeley’s Space Science Department and the directorships of the Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale and the “Physics Of The Infinitely Large And the Infinitely Small” consortium. In 1995 he assumed the role of Principal Investigator for the Planck High Frequency Instrument, the position for which he has received the Gruber Prize.
Puget discovered his interest in science, especially astronomy, as a teenager when he read an encyclopedia bought by his father, an X-ray technician who was mostly self-educated. Both his father and mother (a midwife) supported him strongly towards scientific studies. Puget attended a technical high school that awakened in him an interest in technology, and he thought he might become an engineer until his university years, when his attention turned to scientific research. This explains his will to design experiments to test cosmological theories.
Puget’s many awards and honors include the Silver Medal from the French National Center for Scientific Research in 1988, the Prix Jean Ricard from the Société Française de Physique in 1989, the Grand Prize from the Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France in 2010, and the COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) Space Science Award in 2014. He has served as the Louis de Broglie Lecturer at the Academia dei Lincei in Rome and as a Visiting Miller Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 2013 he delivered the Lyman Spitzer, Jr., Spring Lecture at Princeton. He has been a member of the Academia Europea since 1992, a corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences since 1994, a member of the Académie des Sciences since 2002, and a member of the Internationalis Astronautica Academia since 2004.