Hybridizing Science & Videogame

You are kindly invited to join the presentation on “Hybridizing Science & Videogame” given by Raphael Granier de Cassagnac, Research Director at CNRS, Paris.

Raphael Granier de Cassagnac holds the “Science and Videogame” research and teaching chair funded by Ubisoft at the Ecole polytechnique of Paris. He is currently producing a video game on particle physics, his heart domain as a research director at CNRS. He also tells stories in other media, in particular as a science-fiction writer. Hybridizing his three passions (fundamental research, storytelling and gaming) was key in convincing a well-known video game industry to grant him with an academic chair.


Video games first appeared in fundamental research centers… Since then, they have kept intimate ties with science. On one hand, game possibilities improve dramatically with new technologies that are sometimes driven by their very needs. On the other hand, through their deep interactive experience, video games provide a fantastic (but underused) way to popularize (and sometimes produce) scientific knowledge. Raphael will review the cross-feeding links between games and sciences, and try to propose new perspectives. By following both an historical perspective and a concrete set of modern examples that are developed within his academic chair, he will illustrate how various scientific fields are linked to video games, and vice versa. He will also underline the role of artificial intelligence, blockchains, the metaverse and other fashionable buzzwords.

Some relevant websites

• Chaire “Science & Jeu Vidéo”: https://sciencexgames.fr/

• Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France: https://www.polytechnique.edu/en

The event is organised by the JRC Geel French Semester 2022 team, through Christophe Quétel.


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MAESTRO -Climate change effects on exploited marine communities

The oceans account for more than 60% of monetized ecosystem services. Among these services, humankind critically depends on marine resources such as fish and benthic invertebrates for food and economic security. With ongoing fishing pressure and climate change strongly affecting the distribution and abundance of species at the global scale, our dependence on ocean ecosystem services urges us to better anticipate the future of marine resources and propose adaptive mitigation strategies.

While numerous projections of future species distributions have been produced, the expected alterations of trait structure within communities (i.e. the functional characteristics of species) have received far less attention. More precisely, we lack integrated models and scenarios to better predict and anticipate the mixed impacts of climate change and fishing pressure on the types of diversity in marine communities that ultimately determine their functioning.

By taking advantage of available data on long-term fish and invertebrate surveys, species traits, fisheries and the environment, the main goals of the MAESTRO project are thus:

  • to characterize and assess the effects of climate and fishing on the functional diversity of exploited communities during the last three decades in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea,
  • to forecast how exploited communities will respond to the upcoming warming until the end of this century, and
  • to investigate, for several climate change scenarios, alternative harvesting strategies targeting different species and trait groups in order to minimise the impacts of fishing on functional diversity

MAESTRO brings together IFREMER and CESAB (Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity) experts in conservation, climate-constrained modeling, benthology and fishery.

Agroecology: When artificial intelligence translates pig vocalisations

Pigs express their emotions through vocalisations. Recognising these sounds, and the emotions they express, would provide the information necessary for farmers to adapt their interventions and ensure the welfare of pigs throughout their lives. This is why INRAE, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and the University of Copenhagen have coordinated the development of a system for recognising pig vocalisations as part of the European SOUNDWEL project. Their results, published on 7 March in Scientific Reports, point to the possibility of an automatic recognition tool for vocalisations to monitor and improve pig welfare on-farm.

Pigs express their emotions through different types of vocalisations (like grunts, screams and squeals), each of which has many more or less subtle variations. Deciphering these sounds would help livestock farmers to better understand the emotions expressed by their animals and to improve their welfare. The researchers’ idea is to develop a system to recognise and distinguish pig vocalisations, the emotions they convey and the situation that generated them, in order to help livestock farmers in their decision-making.

A library of 7400 vocalisations

In order to build this tool, the researchers started by collecting thousands of vocalisations. In the end, over 7,400 good quality vocalisations from 411 pigs in different European laboratories could be analysed. These sounds were recorded in 19 different contexts: from the birth of the pigs and throughout their life, in different types of indoor rearing (e.g. on slatted floors or on straw) and in slaughterhouses. These contexts can be sources of positive emotions (suckling, reunion with fellow pigs…) or negative ones (fights, isolation…). By combining the expertise of ethologists, bioacousticians for the detailed analysis of the acoustic structure of the recorded vocalisations (a more or less high frequency, purity of the sound…), and computational methods of artificial intelligence, the researchers worked on the automatic classification of the vocalisations according to the emotional valence (negative or positive emotion) and the situation in which they were emitted, with a view to possible action by the livestock farmer.

Artificial intelligence to translate the emotion that pigs are experiencing

The results show that artificial intelligence is very effective at recognising not only the emotional valence of the vocalisations (91.5% accuracy), but also the situation in which they were emitted (82% accuracy). On receiving a new sound, the system will automatically compare it with previously classified sounds to qualify it. This system could be of great help to livestock farmers as it could alert them in real time if a situation requires their immediate intervention, such as in the case of a piglet being crushed by the mother or repeated or prolonged fights within a group, which are an indication of a problem. It would also allow livestock farmers to reinforce positive situations for the pigs, helping them to evaluate, for example, the provision of new toys or infrastructure to enhance the welfare of their animals. It is also a very innovative system for research on the vocalisations of pigs — and other animals — as it allows working on a larger scale than more common and time-consuming manual analyses.

Similar acoustic monitoring systems already exist on farms to monitor the health of pigs by analysing the noise of their coughs. The INRAE research team is now working on adding an analysis of pig vocalisations to this listening system in order to combine physical and mental health measures for better welfare on-farm.

Elodie F. Briefer, Ciara C.-R. Sypherd, Pavel Linhart, Lisette M.C. Leliveld, Monica Padilla de la Torre, Eva R. Read, Carole Guérin, Véronique Deiss, Chloé Monestier, Jeppe H. Rasmussen, Marek Špinka, Sandra Düpjan, Alain Boissy, Andrew M. Janczak, Edna Hillmann, Céline Tallet, Classification of pig calls produced from birth to slaughter according to their emotional valence and context of production, Scientific Reports, DOI : 10.1038/s41598-022-07174-8

Discover Paris from the Montparnasse tower thanks to an augmented reality application

Friday, April 30, 2021, the Montparnasse tower observatory launched a free application to discover Paris in immersion thanks to augmented reality.

Take height. Scan Paris with your gaze, enjoy a breathtaking view and identify the monuments and their history from home, on a tablet or a phone. This is now possible thanks to a new application developed by Magnicity and the start-up Timescope.

A possible experience at home. The Magnicity application is available on the Apple Store and on Android.

Paris and its secrets thanks to augmented reality

The principle is simple: after having launched it, all you have to do is scan the panorama of the modeled capital and browse the some 150 points of interest identified by blue circles. Anecdotes about Notre-Dame-de-Paris, the Bourse du Commerce, the Arab World Institute and even Mont-Valérien (Hauts-de-Seine) are then displayed.

Discover Paris by night… and Lutèce in 2022

Two functionalities “Paris by night” and “Paris antique” complete the application. For the first, it is a question of locating the places of culture and the flagship establishments of the Parisian night. The second was developed with historians and reconstructs Lutèce.

The Ile-de-France region has accredited 9 major areas of research and innovation

Multidisciplinary scientific networks, created at the initiative of the Ile-de-France Region, the Major Interest Domains (DIM) aim to federate Ile-de-France research teams around shared themes. Nine new areas of major interest have been approved and will receive funding for the period 2022-2026. Among them is the DIM “Human-centered artificial intelligence in the Paris Region (AI4IDF), led by the INRIA Center in Paris”.

The Ile-de-France region aims to support and promote excellence in education, research and innovation in the region. It intends to increase the scientific influence of Ile-de-France laboratories and their attractiveness to foreign researchers and teacher-researchers and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology. Thus, in 2018, it launched a plan to become the major artificial intelligence hub in Europe.

The region has created the DIMs to bring research to its territory, on themes deemed to be promising and around which a whole network of universities, higher education institutions, research laboratories and companies is formed. It has supported 13 IMGs between 2017 and 2021, providing them with financial assistance of €110 million.

Ile-de-France, Europe’s leading science and technology region

The DIMs were created to:

  • Build research and innovation networks in Paris Region that focus on emerging topics with very high scientific and economic potential,
  • Strengthen the attractiveness of Paris Region laboratories by providing scientific and technological expertise and state-of-the-art equipment,
  • Improve the visibility of research teams in the Paris region in Europe and internationally,
  • Promote the development of knowledge and the dissemination of research results, including to the general public and young people,
  • Strengthen the links between research and the economy by promoting technology transfer and innovation.

The Major Interest Domains (DIM) with the 2022-2026 label

For the period 2022-2026, 9 new IMGs have been selected by the Regional Scientific Committee following a call for projects to which 33 candidates had responded. They will receive 20 million euros in 2022 and more than 100 million euros at the end of the 5 years.

  • Human-centered artificial intelligence in Île-de-France (AI4IDF) led by the INRIA Center in Paris

The 4 main artificial intelligence institutes (DATAIA, Hi! PARIS, PRAIRIE and SCAI1) propose to create an alliance to structure and animate the community and offer industrial and international partners a unified vision.

Designated as a Convergence Institute under the Plan d’Investissements d’Avenir 3, the DATAIA Institute brings together interdisciplinary research skills in data science, artificial intelligence and society on the Saclay plateau in the Paris region. PRAIRIE is an institute that brings together several public partner institutions: the University of Paris, PSL, the Pasteur Institute and two organizations: CNRS and Inria. It is part of the 4 3IA. Hi! PARIS was launched by HEC Paris and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IP Paris). This interdisciplinary research and teaching center is dedicated to AI and Data Science. The Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) is one of the French references in research. The scientific program of the AI4IDF project aims to deepen the knowledge in artificial intelligence by keeping the human at the center of the concerns.

  • BioConvergence (BIOTECH), led by the University of Paris

The BioConvergence network has 2 projects: to develop a digital innovation network and to strengthen the field of biotherapies.

  • Cognition and Brain Revolutions Artificial Intelligence, Neurogenomics and Society (C-BRAINS), led by Inserm

The objective of the C-BRAINS project is to remove the technological, conceptual and organizational barriers that hinder the progress of research to solve the complexity of the brain.

  • One Health 2.0 (DOH 2.0), led by Inserm

The objective of the DIM “One Health 2.0” is to promote innovative work integrating aspects of human health, environmental health and animal health, targeting infectious agents.

  • Immunotherapies, Autoimmunity and Cancer (ITAC), led by Institut Gustave Roussy

The ITAC network wishes to position itself at the interface of 3 fields in life sciences and health: cancer, rare diseases and immunology.

  • MaTerRE (advanced eco-responsible materials), led by the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ESPCI)

MaTerRE aims to develop tools for the accelerated discovery of advanced materials to support sustainable development in the Paris region.

  • ORIGINES, led by the Observatoire de Paris-PSL

The ORIGINES project is aimed at space and amateur astronomy actors.

  • Patrimoines Matériels (PAMIR), led by the CNRS

PAMIR wishes to build innovative collaborative modes of operation by providing equipment and shared platforms based on innovative concepts.

  • Quantum Technologies in Paris Region (QuanTiP), led by CNRS

In an approach combining applied mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, materials and engineering, the QuanTiP project addresses all the major themes of the field.

Labex CEBA – Center for the study of biodiversity in Amazonia

In French Guiana, the Laboratoire of excellence CEBA (Center for the study of biodiversity in Amazonia) seeks to understand why so many organisms are present in tropical ecosystems. The LabEx brings together a network of internationally-recognized French research teams, contributes to university education, and encourages scientific collaboration with South American countries.

Amazonia is a huge territory that has not finished revealing all its mysteries. Our science is varied: health, coastline, fauna, flora and human sciences. In all, more than 150 researchers from 13 different laboratories spread across French Guana, the french Antilles and France are working within the CEBA, looking towards the Amazon.


CEBA is a thematic network of research teams. The operational management of the CEBA is ensured by an executive director, located in French Guiana, a scientific director assists the executive director in scientific strategy, and a director of the education in charge of projects related to education.

> A direction committee coordinates research actions.
> A scientific board provides scientific expertise to the Management Committee.
> Finally, an international scientific board provides scientific expertise and an international perspective on the projects developed at CEBA.


Tropical forest ecosystems are being converted at a rapid pace for agriculture or urban development, and it is of fundamental importance to understand how this biodiversity contributes to maintaining ecosystem services, how it may provide resources for human welfare, and whether these environmental changes may critically alter this biodiversity.

French Guiana, an overseas Region of France, is an ideal natural laboratory for tropical biodiversity, gathering an unparalleled scientific expertise in the fields of biodiversity research, tropical medicine, tropical forestry, and evolutionary ecology. The combination of scientific excellence with its long-term capacity, CEBA is in a unique position to promote innovative research in the field of biodiversity in Guyana and to act in synergy between academics and stakeholders.

Education & training

The CEBA conducts a collaborative effort to foster education and training programs in French Guiana, within the Université de Guyane. It offers the opportunity to network several Masters programs in the fields of evolutionary ecology, tropical forest ecology and plant biodiversity.

CEBA opens annual calls for doctoral research grants.
CEBA offers post-doctoral positions for research associates supervised by CEBA members as part of the core research activities.
CEBA funds and organises thematic schools on important aspects of biodiversity in French Guiana.

As part of these actions, the physical presence of the students or research associates in French Guiana is strongly encouraged.


CEBA aims at coordinating and facilitating scientific research on biodiversity in French Guiana and, beyond that, in Amazonia. However, biodiversity is also important for many actors or stakeholders in the territory of French Guiana, and it is also of interest and concern to citizens. Through an active communication strategy CEBA seeks to convey the results of academic research beyond a small group of specialists.

Local collectivities (Region, Departement, municipalities) and State services are crucial actors in the management of biodiversity. Their primary goal is to ensure welfare, health, and sustainable development while pondering the constraints of the environment. CEBA helps them by providing a knowledge base in the area of environment and biodiversity, in particular in the scope of the access to benefit sharing issues.

National or regional institutes in charge of environmental management or conservation are often close collaborators with the partners of CEBA. They share a concern for the sustainable management of natural resources, and work with CEBA to increase the quality of diagnostics and conservation planning.

Non governemental organizations are actively engaged in the long-term monitoring of animal populations, in dissemination activities, and in conservation. CEBA collaborates with them in developing educational supports, in facilitating data analyses, and in sharing cutting-edge information through workshops or training activities.

Public health issues are directly faced by physicians and medecins at the Cayenne General Hospital, and also by the center for clinical investigation and clinical epidemiology for the Antilles and French Guiana (CIC-EC). They are also often detected by health centers in French Guiana’s interior (Centres de Santé) which represent advanced posts in medicine. CEBA offers a unique opportunity to assemble a more solid body  of knowledge about emerging and well-known diseases alike, for the benefit of the medical staffs.

Jeanne Barret, biodiversity pioneer and first circumnavigator

The first woman to circumnavigate the globe was Jeanne Baré, sometimes spelled Barret or Baret, on an expedition headed by Louis Antoine de Bougainville on the ships, La Boudeuse and Étoile, from 1766-1769. She was disguised as a man.

She was born in poverty in a small village in Saône-et-Loire in 1740. Unusually, for that period she learnt to read and write and became governess to the son of a widowed doctor and botanist, Dr Philibert Commerson.

Jeanne Baré, dressed as a sailor, in a portrait from 1817, made after her death | Photo: Wikimedia, Public Domain

He was attracted by this unusually bright and talented young woman and taught her botany. She soon became his assistant, and more than likely his lover, and they moved to Paris where he was chosen to accompany the explorer and French admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville on his expedition around the world. Bougainville, himself, is regarded as the 14th navigator, and the first Frenchman to sail around the world. Dr Commerson’s mission was to observe, collect and classify plants.

At that time women were not allowed to spend even one night on one of the King’s boats, let alone several months, but Commerson refused to leave her behind. He persuaded Bougainville to allow him to take a servant with him; none other than Jeanne, aged 26, with cut hair, a band compressing her breasts and wearing trousers.

Everywhere they went they collected plants. Near to Rio de Janeiro they discovered a flowering, vine-like shrub, they called Bougainvillea, after the ship’s captain.

the bougainvillea flower, a plant discovered by Jeanne Barret and Philibert Commerson in Brazil and named in honor of the initiator of their great adventure. | Gardenandhouse via Wikimedia Commons

It appears there were suspicions about the sex of Commerson’s servant, called Jean Baré, but nobody could believe that a woman would work as physically hard as “he” did.

However, according to Bougainville’s journal her sex was finally revealed when they arrived at Tahiti: “As soon as Baré stepped onto the soil, the Tahitians surrounded her, calling out that she was a woman and that they wanted to give her the honours of the Island.”

Following that, when the voyage arrived at Mauritius, called then the Isle de France, it was perhaps convenient that Commerson and his “assistant” stayed on at the invitation of fellow botanist, Pierre Poivre. Commerson died on the island but Jeanne Baré continued her studies of the local flora.

She later married a soldier and returned to France, which meant she had at last completed her tour of the world.

In 1785 she was awarded a pension of 200 livres, a year by the Ministry of Marine, on the recommendation of Bougainville, who recognised her great courage and achievement and the document granting her the money describes her as an extraordinary woman. More recently, in 2012 a flower – discovered in South America by University of Utah biologist, Eric Tepe – was named Solanum baretiae in her honour.

Did you know: world’s first ‘automobile’ was French

The first motorised land vehicle and ancestor of the modern car was invented in France and had its first outing in 1770

The vehicle was driven by steam and created by an army engineer, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who was born in 1725 and died in 1804.

There had already been research into the use of steam for driving machinery, but up until then it had only been used for stationary devices.

Cugnot’s vehicle was designed to transport canons or other military equipment and it was called a fardier à vapeur as a fardier was the name given to massive two-wheeled horse-drawn carts used for transporting very heavy equipment.

The fardier à vapeur was made up of three parts:

  • a wooden chassis with three wheels;
  • a two-cylinder motor over the front wheel; and
  • a huge boiler at the front of the contraption.

He first made a small-scale model in 1769 with promising results. The second full-scale vehicle, was completed in 1770. It was designed to move forward on its own, with no animal traction – unheard of at the time – at a speed of 4km/h. It could also go backwards and could carry five tonnes.

In November 1770, it was tested out at Vanves in Paris and though it did move forward a few metres, its progress came abruptly to an end, because it ran into a wall. This was perhaps another of its claims to fame: the first car accident.

The fardier à vapeur was extremely cumbersome, difficult to manoeuvre and had no satisfactory brakes. Also it literally, very quickly, ran out of steam.

Up until then Mr Cugnot had been backed by Louis XV’s War Minister, Duc de Choiseul. But the Minister fell into disgrace and was dismissed, which also meant Cugnot had to abandon his project.

His wagon remained stationary, in the ancient military depot, the Arsenal de Paris, for over thirty years before it was taken into safekeeping by the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in 1802, where it is still on show to the public at their museum in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris.

In 2004, at the bi-centennial anniversary of the death of Cugnot at the town of his birthplace of Void-Vacon, Meuse, the mayor, André Jannot suggested to a local engineer that he organise the construction of a modern replica.

In 2007, the Ecole des Arts et Métiers-Paristech put its students to work on the project, which took three years to complete. In September 2010 it took to the road… and it worked, proving it was a viable prototype. Since then the association which looks after it, Le Fardier de Cugnot, often takes it out for demonstrations and you can see it in action online here

Celebrating achievements of French women in science!

The 8th March is the international day for defending women’s rights. This is the occasion to celebrate and promote women’s achievements, including in science! To that end, the team of the French Semester at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission organises a virtual event with an amazing panel of 8 French scientific women!

Our invited speakers include both confirmed scientists at the forefront of their field and young promising scientists in environmental and health sciences:

  • Céline Bellard, researcher at CNRS (Orsay) and specialist of invasive alien species
  • Manon Bickert, post-doctoral researcher at Modena University and specialist in marine geosciences
  • Karen Boniface, scientific project officer at the European Commission Joint Research Centre and specialist in global navigation satellite systems applied to Earth observation 
  • Nadine Gobron, project leader at the European Commission Joint Research Centre and researcher in the optical remote sensing domain
  • Line Le Gall, professor at the National Museum of Natural History (Paris) and specialist of marine biodiversity discovery
  • Sandrine Pavoine, professor at the National Museum of Natural History (Paris) and specialist in ecology and mathematics
  • Karine Princé, independent researcher and expert for the European Commission and specialist of bird conservation
  • Maïté Verreault, researcher in experimental neurooncology and project manager at the Paris Brain Institute.

This event will be held virtually, on March 8th 2022, between 12h30 and 14h30. In a first part, they will present their background and one of her main scientific successes. They will then share their insights on some of your questions as well as their (good and bad!) experience about being a woman in science. With the breadth of themes we have for you in this event, you will also be able to learn about a wide range of scientific topics such as biodiversity, marine geosciences, Earth observation and cancer, and hear about the challenges that women experience to become successful leading scientists!!

Marine Robuchon, scientific project officer at the European Commission Joint Research Centre and researcher in conservation sciences, will moderate the event.


  • 12h30 – 12h32: Welcome address by Catherine Simoneau (President of the JRC French Semester team) on behalf of the JRC French Semester team
  • 12h32 – 12h35: Opening by Bernard Magenhann (Deputy Director General of the JRC)
  • 12h35 – 12h40: Introduction of the event by Marine Robuchon
  • 12h40 – 14h00: Presentations by the 8 invited speakers (10 min each)
  • 14h00 – 14h30: Panel discussion

Watch this event via the Streaming Service of the European Commission!

CRIOBE is one of France’s preeminent laboratories for the study of coral reef ecosystems.

The CRIOBE is a research laboratory with more than 70 staff, including academic professors, research scientists and administrative and technical personnel from three of France’s premiere research institutions – École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Perpignan Via Domitia (UPVD) – that together form the CRIOBE USR 3278 research unit. The CRIOBE falls under the prestigious umbrella of the PSL (Paris Sciences & Letters) Research University.

CRIOBE’s activities span multiple disciplines : ecology, conservation biology, genetics, chemistry and anthropology and its laboratories are spread across two main campuses : the University of Perpignan (UPVD) in the south of France and the CRIOBE research station located on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia.

Specifically, scientists at the CRIOBE focus on the following three principle areas of research:

  1. Molecular Genetics. An integrative approach for the study of coral reefs.
  2. Biology of populations, chemical ecology and ecosystem interactions on coral reefs.
  3. Function and governance of socio-ecosystems.


CRIOBE was established in 1971 by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). It began as a modest research station on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia. Since this time, CRIOBE has evolved and grown considerably. Today, CRIOBE is a world class research centre with two locations: Moorea, French Polynesia and the University of Perpignan in the south of France.


The CRIOBE delivers graduate level courses and offers both Masters and Doctorate degrees. The Masters programs are offered through the EPHE or UPVD. The research-based Doctoral program, similarly, is offered through either the EPHE or UPVD, or a combination of the two.

The threatened coral

“Beyond our observations of corals, we cultivate them in the lagoon of Moorea and subject them to extreme conditions to know their reactions” says Annaïg Le Guen, director of Criobe since December 1, 2018. “They are vertebrates, fixed marine organisms with their exoskeleton whose shape is specific to the species. There are hard ones, those that make up coral reefs, but others are soft. There are 850 species in the world, 183 in Polynesia. But over the past 50 years, it is estimated that 20% have disappeared. Losses due mostly to pollution and physical impact by humans by building airports, for example. But also at one time by the invasion of acanthasters. , these starfish devoured the reefs but there this mysterious phenomenon for us was apparently natural. Just like the ravages of successive cyclones.”

Over the past 50 years, it is estimated that 20% have disappeared. Losses mostly due to pollution and physical impact by humans

Annaïg Le Guen, director of Criobe

Global warming which increases the temperature of the water and its acidity are also threatening factors. “That’s why corals bleach. Some, however, are resilient. After a few years, they regain color and come back to life. In fact, they adapt. It is this mechanism that we observe and that we decode”

CNRS Video in French

Studying the Mediterranean forest functioning under climate change

L’O3HP (Oak Observatory at the OHP) interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to study Mediterranean forest functioning under climate change

The need to improve our understanding of the functioning of Mediterranean forests in the light of their future evolution, has led to the elaboration of a program concerning the Downy Oak forest. It’s one of three major species of importance in the region of the French Mediterranean, and covers more then 250.000 ha in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur (PACA) Region.

This program is complementary to pioneer programs at Puechabon for Holm Oak, installed and run by the CEFE in Montpellier, and at Roquefort la Bedoule for Aleppo Pine, installed and run by the INRA Avignon.

The O3HP program is managed and coordinated by a consortium of the IMBE/OSU-PYTHEAS/ECCOREV and is strongly supported by the Institute for Ecology and Environment (INEE) of the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research). The installation of the dedicated field site and laboratory has further received substantial financial support by the PACA Region and the Conseil Général des Alpes de Haute Provence.

The central installation consists of an experimental field site, situated at the research center of the Observatory of the Upper-Provence (OHP, UMS CNRS Pythéas) at Saint Michel l’Observatoire, close to Forqualquier in the Alpes of the Upper-Provence. The site is thus named O3HP (« Oak Observatory at the OHP »). The O3HP is part of the national research infrastructure AnaEE-France.

The field site is equipped with a precipitation management system (PMS) to simulate drier climate.
A device is installed above 300 m² of canopy, that dynamically excludes a defined fraction of precipitation (rain & hail) by extending automated covers, and which allows to re-irrigate part of the excluded water. The system manages a reduction in precipitation by 40 % using temperature derived functions based on 50 year records of local meteorological data. This results in a scenario of 500 mm annual precipitation corresponding to about 2°C temperature increase, which is in line with climate predictions for the Mediterranean region (Giorni & Mearns, 2002). The reduction is piloted dynamically between 20% and 60% for year 2100 in relation to year 2000. Therein lays the originality of the system, whilst environmental conditions are hardly affected. During leaf development in spring, exclusion of precipitation events is performed at night-time as not to disturb photomorphogenesis. Intercepted precipitation will be evacuated to a temporary reservoir. An irrigation (sprinkler) system attached to the metal structure will use this water to fine-tune the fraction of excluded precipitation.

The O3HP system is thus organized around 5 elements:

  1. A system of instrumented walkways organized in the form of a cross, each branch of which is 10m long and installed at 2 height levels: 0.80 m and 3.50 m, thus allowing easy access to the canopy and strata lower without disturbing the ground
  2. A rain exclusion system covering approximately half of the plot (300 m2) and designed using a system of drop-down tarpaulins intercepting precipitation.
  3. An irrigation system, currently being installed, on a 300 m2 plot to limit water stress.
  4. A network of sensors (T°, humidity, at different soil and canopy levels, sap flow, etc.), providing real-time information on meso and microclimatic conditions as well as tree activity .
  5. Laboratory parts for simple sample processing, storage and analysis.

Various functional aspects are studied or monitored in particular:

  • biogeochemical cycles and in particular the decomposition of litter
  • gas exchange
  • VOC emissions
  • phenology
  • the water cycle: rainfall, runoff, interception
  • edaphic biodiversity and biodiversity-functioning relationships
  • tree growth (dendroecology, etc.), biomass evolution and carbon storage
CNRS video in French

“Behind the blob, research”, a CNRS participatory science experiment

As part of the 2021/2022 year of biology, the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) is launching a participatory science project: Behind the blob, research. Open to all volunteers wishing to become actors in research, this experience of an unprecedented scale will make it possible to study the effects of climate change on the blob.

Presentation of the operation

Climate change has implications for biodiversity and ecosystems. In the years to come, heat waves will become longer, more intense, more frequent and more unexpected. This citizen science project is an opportunity to study the detailed impacts of temperature changes on the growth of fascinating organisms: slime molds.

A research project accessible to all those curious about science

Supported by the CNRS and under the leadership of ethologist Audrey Dussutour, Derrière le blob, la recherche is a participatory science project that will allow several thousand volunteers, from the age of 8, to take part in a research.
Over a period varying from one week to one month, and depending on their availability, participants will host a blob that they will have to hydrate and then feed. It will then be a question of simulating heat waves by varying the temperature at different frequencies and at different intensities.
The data collected by the participants will then be collected and analyzed by the team from the Center for Research on Animal Cognition-CBI (CNRS/UPS) in collaboration with the volunteers.

Advance knowledge by learning

The operation has a dual objective: to make volunteers aware of the scientific approach, from the design of a protocol to the publication of the results; but also allow volunteers to carry out a rigorous scientific experiment based on samples that scientists cannot perform in the laboratory.

The Blob: an extraordinary organization

From its real name Physarum polycephalum, the blob is an incredible unicellular organism. Neither animal, nor plant, nor mushroom, without a brain, it is a champion who can learn, even transmit information by merging with its congeners, which doubles in size daily and can reach several square meters. Able to regenerate, its lifespan can reach several decades.

At the beginning of its life, it measures 50 micrometers. In good conditions, its size doubles every day.

Audrey Dussutour

In France, the blob has been studied since 2009 at the Center for Research on Animal Cognition (CNRS/Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse) by researcher Audrey Dussutour.
Through more than 200 mediation actions carried out during her career, Audrey Dussutour has been able to use her scientific work on the behavior of ants and the blob to promote the issues and methods of scientific research to as many people as possible.
In 2021, his investment in mediation actions earned him the CNRS scientific mediation medal.

Unique discovery in the Mediterranean of an 8,000-year-old underwater forest off Palavas

A submerged forest, 8,000 years old, has just been discovered off Palavas and Carnon, thanks to movements of sand and sediment. There are only 2 others in the world. Researchers from the University of Montpellier are trying to understand what our coasts looked like at that time.

septembre 2020. • © F3 LR

At 10 meters deep, off Palavas, on the continental shelf, divers and scientists first thought they had found a wreck. But it is actually a completely different discovery, as fragile as it is exceptional: plant remains. Back at the University of Montpellier, the researchers hasten to protect their treasures. They must quickly be placed away from air, light and heat.

It is a tree stump. It was extracted with its gangue and its roots and remained submerged for around 8,000 years.

Jean-Yves Jouvenel, doctor in biological oceanography

An underwater forest dating from before the Neolithic?

The hypothesis of a forest floor under the sea also seems supported by the collected sediments. These stigmata of an ancient forest are located less than a kilometer from the coast and would still have an area of ​​several hundred square meters.

The objective of the analyses is to date these discoveries more precisely and to determine the nature of the Mesolithic landscape.

The structure of the wood will tell us what species it is. The problem, under sea water, is the waves, the movements of the water which risk causing these strains to leave. There, there is an exceptional state of preservation.

Lucie Chabal, researcher at the Institute of Evolutionary Sciences in Montpellier.

With these analyses, the researchers want to understand what was the environment in which the trees grew. Were they at the edge of a lagoon, near a river? Because at that time, the sea level being lower, at least 10 meters today, we were in a continental environment and not under the sea.

The discovery of this site in France, off Palavas and Mauguio-Carnon, is unique in southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Only 2 other submerged forests have been recorded in the world, one off the American coast of Alabama, in the Gulf of Mexico and one facing the coast of Cornwall, at the southwestern tip of England.

The excavation operation will be renewed next year. The submerged landscapes have not finished revealing their secrets.

BathyBot/BathyReef – A rover and its docking station to study the abyss

40 km off Toulon, Ifremer and the CNRS are preparing to deposit on the ocean floor, at a depth of 2,400 m, the small robot “BathyBot” and five other instruments that will accompany it on this adventure. In total darkness, where human beings only have access by submarine and only for a few hours, this underwater laboratory will remain for several years, reporting on what is happening 24 hours a day and seven days on seven.

Beyond a thousand meters, we are in the deep ocean, quickly plunged into total darkness. Little studied, this vast space is the scene of unprecedented phenomena. It is here that organic carbon is transformed into inorganic carbon, setting in motion processes that have an impact on climate change and of which we do not yet know all the details.
How to quantify these flows in an environment where, as we descend, the temperature decreases while the pressure increases, making it more difficult to take samples.
How to study the bioluminescent organisms that inhabit the depths?

The benthic underwater robot BathyBot, developed by the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology, is equipped with caterpillar tracks to move along the sedimentary bottom and is controlled by computer from the coast. It is equipped with probes for real-time measurements and two cameras, one of which will scan the bioluminescence with such sensitivity that its only illumination will be a red light known not to frighten deep-sea organisms.
A 70 m cable linking the rover to its Bathyreef “docking station” will connect it to the LSPM network, for control and data collection

BathyReef, born from the collaboration of the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanology and the Rougerie+Tangram Lab, was built by the Vicat group. It forms a ramp and reveals a space large enough for Bathybot to position itself and make observations.
It was designed in concrete, an inert material, which limits its impact on the deep environment and its shape offers organisms an easily colonizable artificial reef.

Identify bioluminescent organisms

During its mission, the little robot will allow scientists to progress in their knowledge of the deep sea and global warming. He will be able to bring new elements to a phenomenon observed in these deep seas: bioluminescence, that is to say natural underwater light.

It is customary to say that today, we know the Moon better than these deep seabeds: Bathybot’s mission is partly to make this formula lie.

Giant 3D map is being made of France using lasers (lidar data)

France is being laser 3D-mapped to create a tool to identify flood risks, manage mountain forests, check land for farm subsidies, and even find archaeological sites. 
The Lidar HD project uses airborne laser beams to create an image from the reflected light that ‘sees through’ vegetation to the solid surface. 
Using its two specially equipped Beechcraft planes, state geographic agency IGN has already mapped part of the south east and Corsica, with the Vosges mountains and Rambouillet forest next in line. 

Lidar (LIght Detection And Ranging) is a telemetry technique (distance measurement) that uses the properties of light. Whether on land or on board an aircraft, Lidar is based on the same acquisition process: a scanner, whose position and orientation are measured continuously, emits infrared laser pulses towards an object or towards the ground at high frequency then records very precisely the time elapsed between the emission of these pulses and their return to the transmitter in order to deduce the position of the points impacted. At the rate of several hundred thousand pulses emitted per second, the device quickly generates a large quantity of geo-referenced points. The data is then processed to develop 3D digital models: digital terrain models (altimetric description of the ground), digital surface model (altimetric description of the ground and above ground), etc.

It aims to cover all of France by 2025 in the €60million plan. The IGN has hired private aircraft to help, and 10 planes are now involved. 
The work is expected to take 7,000 flight hours, with pilots flying in square or rectangular patterns at between 1,000m and 2,000m. They can only gather data on clear days but can also work on clear nights.

In the south east, they are concerned with built-up areas which are at risk of flooding in particular. 3D mapping shows the places at risk and allows modelling of what could happen and how to reduce the risk. 
The agriculture ministry sees it as a way to help with forestry management in mountain areas, to check farm subsidy claims and to identify new areas for particular crops. 

The maps will be released through the IGN’s Géoportail pages and are free for individual use. 

Once completed, the maps can be used for all sorts of things which we have not thought of yet. 

The Lidar HD program in numbers:

  • 5 years of work
  • 7,000 flight hours
  • 10 points per square meter on average
  • 4 groups of subcontractors in support
  • 3 petabytes of data
  • 60 million euros estimated budget
The Lidar HD program as 1st January 2022


Sylfen: autonomy and long-term energy storage

Sylfen, a Grenoble start-up founded in 2015 has developed a hydrogen storage system for the construction sector. Its intelligent energy system (SHU) is capable of producing hydrogen, but also of being used as a fuel battery to restore electrical energy and heat to a building. Coupled with solar panels, this system significantly reduces the carbon footprint of a building, and fits perfectly into the many eco-neighborhood programs that are emerging! Ultimately, the company hopes to participate in the creation of cleaner and more autonomous cities, like smart cities.

Renewable products are on the rise and make it possible to democratize self-consumption, whether collective or individual. However, designing free-standing buildings is more complicated than it looks. To avoid making systematic use of the traditional energy network, it is indeed necessary to store the energy produced by the building in order to restore it later. Sylfen is developing a hybrid battery / hydrogen solution that allows short and long term storage.

Two subsets are used:

  • The first is a set of cabinets the size of a large fridge that can be integrated into spaces reserved for technical equipment. There are the batteries and the reversible R-Soc electrolyser, which functions as a fuel cell in the restitution phase.
  • The second is the hydrogen tank stored outside. It occupies the equivalent of one or two parking spaces depending on the power required.In terms of performance, we are on an efficiency of 90% for the batteries and 50% for our reversible electrolyser. This level of electrolyser efficiency is enabled by a new technology that we have developed. As a general rule, this type of equipment does not exceed 35% efficiency (70% for hydrogen production, 50% for energy release). The difference in efficiency between batteries and electrolysis is not a problem as the losses are mainly in the form of heat. We can therefore recover the latter for domestic hot water (DHW), exchangers, or for cold.

Another advantage of this technology is that if there is not enough hydrogen in stock, the battery can use methane. This makes it possible to use local biogas to limit the loss of autonomy of the building.

Finally, this solution is modular to adapt to the level of consumption required by each building. Sylfen thus developed a projection study service which makes it possible to calculate very simply the number of modules required according to the uses.

Sylfen’s activity is part of the sustainable development

The Sylfen’s ambition is to change the image we have of buildings. They want to turn them into producers and storers of energy. In their opinion, this is the missing brick for the ecological transition. A building will always be a consumer of energy, because it is a place of life, entertainment, etc. There is a lot of talk today about hydrogen in transport, which, along with the construction sector, is the main emitter of greenhouse gases. Why not transpose these technologies to construction? Depending on the energy mix of the countries, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 75% by limiting the use of traditional energy networks as much as possible. It is necessary to decompartmentalise the world of construction. Energy must be included in the design of buildings and it is necessary to take into account that energy means both electricity and heat production.

In addition, the self-consumption aspect responds to another social debate: that of short circuits. By favoring self-consumption, access to energy is decentralised. It comes down to the local level to become closer to the users, the professionals who intervene, etc. This had not been the case since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

The batteries are recharging
The surplus is transformed into hydrogen and stored in a tank
Batteries provide electricity
Hydrogen is used to generate the missing electricity, as well as heat
When the stock of hydrogen is likely to be insufficient, methane can be used to produce electricity and heat. This high-efficiency cogeneration makes it possible to recover the biogas produced locally.
Alternatively, it is also possible to anticipate purchases of electricity on the network, in order to replenish reserves.

The Uros project of an innovative french company

Ecocean is an innovative French company of 15 people, founded in 2003 and based in Montpellier, Marseille and Toulon. Ecocean is a leader in the field of ecological engineering in the marine environment and inventor of habitat solutions. Its main activity is to offer simple, effective and ecological solutions to support biological populations in coastal marine areas and is now diversifying to bring its experience to freshwater ecosystems.

The UROS project is an innovative ecological engineering project that brings together the skills and experience of the ECOCEAN company and the ECLA “Lake Ecosystems” R&D Pole (OFB / INRAE). The UROS project aims to compensate or mitigate the negative effects of artificial fluctuations in the water level induced by the hydraulic management of artificial lakes by the installation of artificial floating vegetated islands. These true floating ecosystems therefore reproduce the essential ecological functions of a natural shore (feeding, reproduction and nursery area) by being constantly available for aquatic fauna since they are free from fluctuations in water level.

The main objective is therefore to promote the biodiversity of artificial lakes and improve their ecological status, which would make it possible to reconcile usage constraints and biodiversity.

To date, three 75 m² floating structures acting as demonstrators have been installed on the Serre-Ponçon lake in September 2018. After more than 3 years of scientific monitoring, the results show that the structures have been largely colonized by macroinvertebrates. and fish including pike (target species). From these results, a final architecture of UROS structures optimizing the cost / ecological efficiency ratio can be defined

Innovative service offering airline recycling and storage

While planes are getting more efficient, and airlines insist they are doing all they can to reduce emissions pollution, the spotlight is shifting to another eco concern – namely, what happens when machines reach the end of their lifespan?

Until the early 2000s, few considered this to be an issue. Old planes that could no longer be kept in working order were disposed of like used cars – either crushed and buried or left to rust in ghostly, giant scrapyards.

In 2007, a French firm was created to offer a solution to the problem and at the same time take advantage of a business opportunity.

A redundant plane might no longer be airworthy but it is still full of components that can be used as spare parts for planes still flying.

It just takes the facilities, the tools and the know-how to turn grounded junk into a stock of profitable pieces. Tarmac Aerosave, based across the runway from Tarbes Lourdes airport in Hautes-Pyrénées, is a consortium owned by plane-maker Airbus, Safran, a high-tech aerospace and aircraft engine manufacturing company, and Suez, which specialises in waste management.

It is the world’s number one for aircraft and engine recycling.

When a plane reaches the end of its life, it is flown to Tarbes where specialist teams get to work on it.
They start with the soft stuff – seats, carpets and other fixtures and fittings – and gradually reduce the fuselage to a shell. Engines, meanwhile, get special treatment in a hangar set aside for precision dismantling.
The final stage is to cut the aeroplane into chunks using a special diamond saw so that the steel and aluminium can be recovered.

Every piece – from seats to the black box – is sorted and stored ready for resale. What cannot be reused is sent for recycling. The windowpanes, for example, are turned into fleece jackets.
The whole process, from the plane’s final landing to the recycling bin, can take as little as two weeks, depending on the size of the aircraft. Almost 300 planes have been processed in this way over the last 14 years.

Dronisos, the Light show startup

You probably heard of drones aiding in search and rescue operations, delivering food and essentials to inaccessible locations, carrying blood and medical supplies to rural hospitals, inspecting bridges and dams for structural defects, etc. However, you might not have heard of drones being used purely for aesthetic purposes in the form of drone light shows, and even if you did, it would have only been very recently.

Drone light shows are pre-programmed choreographies performed by drone swarms that have been fitted with LEDs.

Dronisos is one of the few drone show providers that specialise in both indoor and outdoor shows. Their indoor drone shows can cost anywhere between €7,500 and €75,000, while our outdoor shows start at €40,000 and can go up to €250,000 and higher. They also have an option for permanent/recurring drone shows for theme parks, circuses, etc. These are tailor-made shows and the price will depend on the requirements.

Like with all new technologies, the cost of drone light shows will find its equilibrium as the technology matures in the coming years. Although the prices have dropped considerably over the past few years, they are still relatively expensive. So if you’re planning on painting the sky with a marriage proposal, that might have to wait a few more years :).

There are no fixed price brackets for drone light shows as every show is tailor-made specifically for a particular event. Many factors like the country hosting the show, whether the show is indoors or outdoors, and the overall budget are all taken into consideration when designing a show.

What kind of drones do they use?

They use all types of drones from commercial brands ( DJI, Yuneec, etc…) ; but their favorite ones are from Parrot. They deeply modify Parrot drones hardware and software in order to make them perfect for drone light shows.

How many drones can they put in the sky ?

Just for your info, Dronisos hold the indoor world record for a drone show – 200 drones indoor at the same time.(see the video below)
They can fly up to 1000 drones. If the performance is indoor, they may be limited by the size of the venue. The optimum number of drones is determined by the available space and creative needs of the project.
Having a huge number of drones is great… but having a decent time to create the show is even better !

The biggest achievement and main highlight for Dronisos is the exclusive collaboration created with Expo 2020 Dubai. Following a global tender, the Dronisos drone show system was chosen by the organisers to provide daily indoor and outdoor shows during the entire six-month event. Expo 2020 opened its doors to the world on October 1st, 2021, will run for 182 days, and will be the largest ever event in the Arab world. For the first time in World Expo history, each of the 195 participating countries will have its own pavilion. For 6 months, Expo 2020 as a major attraction is said to be the meeting point for innovation and creativity bringing together 25 million visitors

Permanent and safe opportunities for bathing in the urban river for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris


The challenge in Paris is to provide permanent and safe opportunities for bathing in the urban river for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thus, the objectives for Paris are to

  • improve bathing water quality in the River Seine for the 2024 Olympic Games,
  • enhance management of the sewer network in the framework of “SIAAP 2030” strategic.

To do so, it will use innovative sensors for bacterial measurements in the river and machine learning to forecast the contamination risk at official bathing places.


digital-water.city is developing in Paris the following digital solutions:

  • an early warning system based on a forecast of bathing water quality
  • an innovative technology for real-time in-situ bacterial monitoring
  • mobile application to inform key stakeholders and citizens

This early warning system is an open source software interface that enables real-time bathing water quality assessment. Based on machine learning and/or statistical modelling, it predicts bacterial concentration in specific river sections using a set of local data such as rainfall, river flow, temperature and water quality.

The system will help to (1) manage bathing authorisations in urban bathing sites, (2) monitor the efficiency of the sanitation policy and (3) improve the real-time management of the sewer network and urban bathing sites.


There is an increasing social demand from citizens to reduce environmental impacts in urban rivers and to benefit from urban bathing areas. Several cities like Berlin have achieved excellent water quality levels for their urban rivers and propose swimming areas at the heart of the city.

A major challenge regarding bathing water management, however, is that concentrations of fecal bacteria may show spatial and temporal variability. In urban rivers, discharges from combined sewer overflow (CSO) and stormwater may contain high amounts of fecal bacteria and contaminate bathing water quality.

In many cases, even with sufficient water quality, bathing can be forbidden as current monitoring protocols are not sufficient to protect human health. Even modern rapid monitoring approaches still need up to 12-14 hours before results are available, and traditional grab sampling does not allow tracking of pollution variability since events may occur between sampling intervals or cannot be collected for logistical reasons (e.g. if events happen at night or during weekends).


If bathing waters are subject to short-term pollution, the current European Bathing Water Directive (BWD Article 12(c)) explicitly demands the implementation of early warning systems in order to prevent bathers from being exposed to contaminated water. However, the BWD neither provides guidance on how to implement early warning systems in practice nor defines water quality alert thresholds. Bathing water quality is assessed only in the long term by estimating parametric 90th and 95th percentiles based on monitoring data of the previous four years. The lack of specified thresholds makes it difficult for the responsible authorities to justify and defend short-term decisions about closures of or warnings on bathing sites.


The early warning system is based on an innovative probabilistic approach. The tool translates the current approach of long-term classification according to the European BWD into real-time management for early warning, making it possible to close a major gap in current European bathing water legislation. The availability of online water quality prediction significantly improves microbial safety and reduces the risk of contamination at bathing waters. This can make it possible to establish bathing waters in challenging locations that are subject to short-term pollution (e.g. urban agglomerations). It also enables management of nothing authorisation considering modelling uncertainty and strengthening of bathing water profiles. The tool provides users with a free, user-friendly software that can be easily implemented at new bathing waters. A mobile application is proposed to inform key decision makers and citizens of bathing water contamination risks.


The early warning system integrates two main innovations of digital-water.city: an advanced machine learning model for robust early forecast of water quality and real-time measurements of bacterial contamination. The model will be deployed at selected sites over the urban stretches of the rivers Seine and Marne in Paris, and coupled with SIAAP’s sewer system real-time control to allow the optimisation of sewer management based on river water quality objectives.

Lake Léman : The Tauredunum event of AD 563

The Tauredunum event of AD 563 was a tsunami on Lake Geneva (then under the Frankish territory of the Kingdom of Orleans), triggered by a massive landslide which caused widespread devastation and loss of life along the lakeshore. According to two contemporary chroniclers, the disaster was caused by the collapse of a mountainside at a place called Tauredunum at the eastern end of Lake Geneva. It caused a great wave to sweep the length of the lake, sweeping away villages on the shoreline and striking the city of Geneva with such force that it washed over the city walls and killed many of the inhabitants.

A study published in October 2012 suggests that the Tauredunum landslide triggered the collapse of sediments that had accumulated at the point where the River Rhône flows into Lake Geneva. This caused a huge underwater mudslide that displaced several hundred million cubic metres of sediment, producing a tsunami up to 16 metres high that reached Geneva within about 70 minutes. There is evidence of four previous mudslides, suggesting that tsunamis may be a recurrent phenomenon on Lake Geneva. It is also speculated that such an event could happen again, with far more severe consequences as more people live within potentially affected areas, and because most people are not accustomed to the idea of tsunamis happening in landlocked bodies of water and are thus unaware of the danger.

Proposed mechanism for tsunami of 563

A study by a team from the University of Geneva, led by Stéphanie Girardclos and Guy Simpson, has found that the tsunami of 563 may not have been directly caused by the landslide, but by the collapse of sediments on the lake bed. The team found a giant fan of turbidite – a mixture of sand and mud deposited by a rapid flow of water – spread across the lake bed. The fan extends in a north-west direction from the Rhône’s mouth, where the river’s flow has carved a series of canyon-like underwater channels. The deposit is huge, extending over a length of 10 kilometres and a width of 5 kilometres, with an average depth of 5 metres and a volume of at least 250 million m³ . Biological material found in the turbidite enabled it to be dated to between 381 and 612, consistent with the date of the Tauredunum event.

It is hypothesised that the impact of the Tauredunum landslide destabilised sedimentary deposits at the mouth of the Rhône, causing their collapse and triggering a large tsunami. According to computer simulations, a wave up to 16 metres high would have been created by the collapse and would have travelled the full length of the lake within 70 minutes of the event. It would have struck Lausanne within only 15 minutes, where it would have been about 13 metres high, though the damage there would have been limited as the city stands on a steeply sloping shoreline. Much greater damage would have been caused at Geneva, where the wave would have been about 8 metres. A wave this high would certainly have been capable of causing the destruction described by the chroniclers. Other towns along the lakeside would also have been hit by the wave, which would have been about 8 metres high at Evian-les-Bains, 6 metres high at Thonon-les-Bains and 4 metres high at Nyon.It would have travelled at about 70 kilometres per hour, giving those on the shoreline little time to flee.

The team also found evidence of four older layers of turbidite, suggesting that such collapses have been a recurrent event since Lake Geneva formed at the end of the last Ice Age some 19,000 years ago. It is not yet known how frequently they have occurred – further investigation will be required to answer this question – but researcher Guy Simpson says, “It’s certainly happened before and I think that we can expect that it will probably happen again sometime.” Although most people’s focus has been on marine tsunamis such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the March 2011 tsunami in Japan, lakeside cities such as Geneva, 275 kilometres from the sea, are also at risk. Katrina Kremer notes that the risk of a fresh tsunami still exists, not just in Lake Geneva, but in other mountain lakes as well: “We have recognised that a tsunami risk applies to all lakes that have unstable slopes along the shore.”However, she warns, “the risk is underestimated because most people just do not know that tsunamis can happen in lakes.”
The risk is particularly pronounced for the city of Geneva, given its position on low ground at the funnel-shaped end of the lake, which magnifies the effects of a tsunami. The impact of a new tsunami on the whole of Lake Geneva would be far more severe now than in 563, as over a million people now live along the lake’s shores

Historical accounts

The event was recorded in some detail by Gregory of Tours in his History of the Franks. He wrote:

A great prodigy appeared in Gaul at the fortress of Tauredunum, which was situated on high ground above the River Rhône. Here a curious bellowing sound was heard for more than sixty days: then the whole hillside was split open and separated from the mountain nearest to it, and it fell into the river, carrying with it men, churches, property and houses. The banks of the river were blocked and the water flowed backwards. This place was shut in by mountains on both sides, for the stream flows there through narrow defiles. The water then flooded the higher reaches and submerged and carried everything which was on its banks. A second time the inhabitants were taken unawares, and as the accumulated water forced its way through again it drowned those who lived there, just as it had done higher up, destroying their houses, killing their cattle, and carrying away and overwhelming with its violent and unexpected inundation everything which stood on its banks as far as the city of Geneva. It is told by many that the mass of water was so great that it went over the walls into the city mentioned. And there is no doubt of this tale because as we have said the Rhone flows in that region between mountains that hem it in closely, and being so closely shut in, it has no place to turn aside. It carried away the fragments of the mountain that had fallen and thus caused it to disappear wholly.[1]

Marius of Avenches also described the event in his Chronicle:

The great mountain of Tauretunum, in the territory of the Valais, fell so suddenly that it covered a castle in its neighbourhood, and some villages with their inhabitants; it so agitated the lake for 60 miles in length and 20 in breadth that it overflowed both its banks; it destroyed very ancient villages, with men and cattle; it entombed several holy places, with the religious belonging to them. It swept away with fury the Bridge of Geneva, the mills and the men; and, flowing into the city of Geneva, caused the loss of several lives.

Tauredunum Sequence Anim 2D from Guillaume Briet on Vimeo.

ITER in Cadarache- the way to new energy

ITER (“The Way” in Latin) is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today.
In southern France, 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars.
The experimental campaign that will be carried out at ITER is crucial to advancing fusion science and preparing the way for the fusion power plants of tomorrow.
ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy

Net Energy: When the total power produced during a fusion plasma pulse surpasses the thermal power injected to heat the plasma.

ITER will be the first fusion device to maintain fusion for long periods of time. And ITER will be the first fusion device to test the integrated technologies, materials, and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.
Thousands of engineers and scientists have contributed to the design of ITER since the idea for an international joint experiment in fusion was first launched in 1985. The ITER Members—China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States—are now engaged in a 35-year collaboration to build and operate the ITER experimental device, and together bring fusion to the point where a demonstration fusion reactor can be designed.

Podcast : Fusion: Energy at the Extreme (Oak ridge National Laboratory)


The amount of fusion energy a tokamak is capable of producing is a direct result of the number of fusion reactions taking place in its core. Scientists know that the larger the vessel, the larger the volume of the plasma … and therefore the greater the potential for fusion energy.

With ten times the plasma volume of the largest machine operating today, the ITER Tokamak will be a unique experimental tool, capable of longer plasmas and better confinement. The machine has been designed specifically to:

1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power
The world record for fusion power is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, JET produced 16 MW of fusion power from a total input heating power of 24 MW (Q=0.67). ITER is designed to produce a ten-fold return on energy (Q=10), or 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input heating power. ITER will not capture the energy it produces as electricity, but—as first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy gain—it will prepare the way for the machine that can.

2) Demonstrate the integrated operation of technologies for a fusion power plant
ITER will bridge the gap between today’s smaller-scale experimental fusion devices and the demonstration fusion power plants of the future. Scientists will be able to study plasmas under conditions similar to those expected in a future power plant and test technologies such as heating, control, diagnostics, cryogenics and remote maintenance.

3) Achieve a deuterium-tritium plasma in which the reaction is sustained through internal heating
Fusion research today is at the threshold of exploring a “burning plasma”—one in which the heat from the fusion reaction is confined within the plasma efficiently enough for the reaction to be sustained for a long duration. Scientists are confident that the plasmas in ITER will not only produce much more fusion energy, but will remain stable for longer periods of time.

4) Test tritium breeding
One of the missions for the later stages of ITER operation is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing tritium within the vacuum vessel. The world supply of tritium (used with deuterium to fuel the fusion reaction) is not sufficient to cover the needs of future power plants. ITER will provide a unique opportunity to test mockup in-vessel tritium breeding blankets in a real fusion environment.

5) Demonstrate the safety characteristics of a fusion device
ITER achieved an important landmark in fusion history when, in 2012, the ITER Organization was licensed as a nuclear operator in France based on the rigorous and impartial examination of its safety files. One of the primary goals of ITER operation is to demonstrate the control of the plasma and the fusion reactions with negligible consequences to the environment.

ITER 2020 Q2 from SUNMADE FILMS on Vimeo.

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Le Parvis des sciences (Grenoble Science Fair)

Every year during France’s national science week, the esplanade in front of MINATEC (MINATEC’s research addresses vital issues in the fields of healthcare, energy, and communication in order to find solutions to the unprecedented economic, technological, and environmental challenges facing modern society) is transformed for the “Parvis des Sciences” (Grenoble Science Fair). There are exhibits for visitors of all ages, made possible by scientists and students from

1- Grenoble Institute of Technology labs

  • CIME Nanotech: a joint center for education and research in microelectronics and nanotechnologies,
  • LMGP Laboratoire des Matériaux et du Génie Physique
  • IMEP-LAHC, Institut de Microélectronique Electromagnétisme Photonique and LAboratoire d’Hyperfréquences et de Caractérisation
  • GSCOP, Sciences pour la conception, l’Optimisation et la Production
  • G2ELab Grenoble Electrical Engineering

2- Science schools

  • INP Phelma: School of engineering in Physics, Applied Physics, Electronics & Materials
  • ENSE3: Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l’Energie, l’Eau et l’Environnement

 3- CEA labs

  • CEA Tech: Speeding innovation for industry
  • IRIG: Interdisciplinary Research Institute of Grenoble

4- the large scientific instruments

  • ESRF: The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility 
  •  EMBL: Structural Biology research, instrumentation development and services
  •  ILL: The Institut Laue-Langevin, The world’s leading facility in neutron science & technology

5- Science education outreach providers, research projects, and local industrial companies.

The fun, hands-on activities are designed to illustrate “how stuff works” and explain the research being conducted by all stakeholders on the GIANT (Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies) campus.

The topics covered include nanotechnology, chemistry, microelectronics, energy, biology, robotics, and more. Every year, more than 40 activities are spread out over three days to the delight of the more than 3,500 visitors from across the Greater Grenoble area.

The first two days of the fair are reserved for local school groups; the third day is open to the general public (free of charge, registration not required).

CHEEZAM: can machine learning be used to identify a type of french cheese?


Cheezam is the brainchild of a few data scientists at Prevision.io. Over lunch a few months ago, a debate took place as to which types of cheese were served on a dessert tray. Yep, things get pretty wild at lunches outside of our Paris, France office. Just imagine what these folks are like on the weekend!

From that lunch an idea was born, can machine learning be used to identify a type of cheese? The time has come to officially announce Cheezam, an artificial intelligence app built on the Prevision.io AI Management platform. It was trained on a dataset of french cheeses.

In this limited preview (aka ‘Alpha’ release) the model is currently only able to predict the type of cheese. Future iterations will be built if there is demand. As AI and machine learning experts, we may need to pull in additional experts who are more than just novice cheese lovers.


This is a very simple app!

Step 1. Have your iOS or Android phone ready
Step 2. Go to cheezam.fr
Step 3. Click Take photo (take a picture of the cheese!)
Step 4. Test the results

The UNISOAP association recycles five tonnes of unused hotel soap

Created in August 2017, UNISOAP is the first French non-profit association with a mission to collect and recycle used hotel soap for humanitarian purposes.

The objective is to transform this waste into resources for vulnerable populations and give them access to hygiene

A simple operation

They collect used soap from hotels all over France. We they recycle this with the help of an ESAT (Etablissement ou Services d’Aide par le Travail), an initiative that facilitates integration into the mainstream labour market for people with disabilities. Finally, they donate the recycled soap to local or international partner associations.

Some of the soap will be used for hygiene education missions carried out by UNISOAP in schools and hospitals. With this approach, they support a sustainable and inclusive tourism sector and advocate zero waste.

Unisoap, three aims are to:
1) reduce waste,
2) allow more people to access good hygiene, and
3)create employment among disabled people

Their initiative is motivated by two alarming findings:

  • The first concerns child hygiene. Each year 2.2 million children die from diseases linked to a lack of hygiene.
  • The second reveals a considerable waste of soap. They estimate that more than 51 million soaps are thrown away each year by hotels across France.

Charles, the robot that stores energy and moves autonomously to the vehicles

Given the working name “Charles”, it has been designed to solve one of the key problems of electric vehicles: how to charge them while at work or at airports, without having to move them from the electric point once full. 

The classic case is someone who takes an electric car to go to work and plugs it in a street charging point in the morning. Once the battery is full, or has the charge they want, the car sits there without charging until either they leave work to move it to another parking space, which might not be easy to find, or until they go home hours later. In either case, there is a significant time when the power point cannot be used by anyone else, and is just trickle charging the car

Salim El Houat, chief executive and co-founder of Lyon-based Mob-Energy

The robot solution is also useful for places such as car parks that do not have rows of high-powered wall chargers. 

How does it work?

The robot operates from a charging station linked to the grid. When customers want to use it, they plug in a cable linked to a box which sits on the ground. Using their smartphones, they tell the robot how long they will be away and how much charge they want to have. The robot, which uses recycled electric car batteries to hold its own charge, then moves between vehicles which need charging and its charging station, to ensure all the cars are ready when their drivers want them again.

“If it is in an airport and the driver is away for a week, then the car will most likely be charged by the robot at night, while day-trippers will be looked after during the day,” said Mr El Houat. The other strong point of the robot is that it will be able to adapt the charge according to the capacities of the vehicle. Not all vehicles have the same charging capacity or system.

“So someone with a plug-in hybrid, which has a relatively small battery that can only take a relatively weak charge, can be served just as well as someone with an electric sports car with a huge battery,” said Mr El Houat. “While charging a battery will be its main job, a robot presence might well be able to serve a security function by discouraging groups of youngsters from loitering in the garage, for example, or be a mobile camera to alert security staff when there is a problem.”

Nicéphore Niépce, first Photographer 

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (7 March 1765 – 5 July 1833), is a French inventor, usually credited as the inventor of photography and a pioneer in that field. Niépce developed heliography, a technique he used to create the world’s oldest surviving product of a photographic process: a print made from a photoengraved printing plate in 1825. In 1826 or 1827, he used a primitive camera to produce the oldest surviving photograph of a real-world scene. Among Niépce’s other inventions was the Pyréolophore, the world’s first internal combustion engine, which he conceived, created, and developed with his older brother Claude Niépce.
Niépce is born in Chalon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy-Franche Comté region)

Ceci n’est qu’un essai bien imparfait, mais avec beaucoup de patience et de  travail on peut faire de grandes choses.”

Nicéphore Niépce

1816-1818 — Niépce’s first Experiments

Towards the Invention of Photography

In 1816, a year before the pyreolophore patent runs out, Claude goes to Paris, then to England in 1817, trying to make work the engine invention .
Nicephore starts by himself new research on an idea that has obsessed him for many years : making permanent on a support through a compound the images seen at the back of camerae obscurae .
Until then , these boxes with a lens adapted on a hole , projecting on the back an inverted image of the outside view , had only been used as a drawing aid.

The first world negative (non fixed)

For his first experiments , Nicéphore Niépce positioned at the back of a camera obscura sheets of silver salts coated paper, known to blacken with daylight . In may 1816 he produced the first image of nature : a view from a window . It was a negative and the image vanished because in broad daylight the coated paper becomes completely black . He calls these images “retinas”.

Principle of the invention of photography

In March 1817, Niépce decidedly took up his research on making images again. While reading chemistry treatises, he focused his attention on the resin of Gaïacum extracted from a coniferous tree. This yellow resin becomes green when exposed to day-light. What made it particularly interesting is that it loses its solubility in alcohol. Niépce understood that thanks to this property it was easy to see the difference between the modified and the intact resin, thus fix the image.
At first he got rather good results experimenting directly with sun-light, but failed when using a camera obscura. He did not know that only U-V rays were active on this resin and that they were filtered by his camera obscura lens. In 1818, next to fixing images, he also developed a keen interest for the dandy horse (ancestor of the bicycle without pedals) and got a lot of attention riding the roads of Saint-Loup-de-Varennes on his “velocipede”.

1825-1829 — Invention of Photography

In 1824, he put lithographic stones, coated with bitumen, at the back of a camera obscura and obtained for the first time ever a fixed image of a landscape. This required an extremely long exposure time, in broad daylight, for a few days. Starting in 1825, he regularly used copper as a base, then tin in 1826, while also realising etched images.

In 1827, Niépce went to England, where he found his brother dying, without any improvements to the engine at hand. He realised then that they would never get any profit from this invention into which they had invested so much hope. After having vainly tried to get the attention of the Royal Society as to his reproduction process of images, called heliography, Niépce returned to France and relentlessly worked on improving his invention. In 1828, he found a new method that led to superior quality images with half-tones. Using polished silver as a base and letting iodine vapours interact with the bitumen image, he obtained genuine photographs in black and white on a metal plate. The preciseness of these images was amazing for the time. The exposure time was still many days in broad sunlight.

Principle and Technique of Heliography with the Camera Obscura

The photosensitive agent is bitumen of Judea, which is a sort of natural tar known from ancient times. People in antiquity used to collect it from the Dead Sea surface (in the Greek Asphaltite lake), where it kept surfacing continually from the bottom of the sea. It was used by the Egyptians to embalm mummies, to caulk ships or even to make terrace works in Babylon. In the 19th century, people already knew how to extract this tar from bituminous rocks, and as a matter of fact the bitumen used by Niépce did not come from Judea anymore.

More info at https://photo-museum.org/

Gustave Eiffel : a passionate engineer

An engineer by training, Eiffel founded and developed a company specializing in metal structural work, whose crowning achievement was the Eiffel Tower. He devoted the last thirty years of his life to his experimental research.

Born in Dijon in 1832, he graduated from the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in 1855, the same year that Paris hosted the first World’s Fair.

He spent several years in the South West of France, where he supervised work on the great railway bridge in Bordeaux, and afterwards he set up in his own right in 1864 as a “constructor”, that is, as a business specializing in metal structural work.

His outstanding career as a constructor was marked by work on the Porto viaduct over the river Douro in 1876, the Garabit viaduct in 1884, Pest railway station in Hungary, the dome of the Nice observatory, and the ingenious structure of the Statue of Liberty. It culminated in 1889 with the Eiffel Tower. This date marks the end of his career as an entrepreneur.

The Garabit Viaduct (Viaduc de Garabit in French) is a railway arch bridge spanning the Truyère, near Ruynes-en-Margeride, Cantal, France, in the mountainous Massif Central region

An International heritage

Eiffel built hundreds of metal structures of all kinds all around the world.

Bridges, and in particular railway bridges, were his favourite field of work, but he also won renown for his metal structural work and industrial installations. His career was marked by a large number of fine buildings, among which two of the most outstanding are the twin edifices of the Porto viaduct and the Garabit viaduct in the Cantal region of France. Equally outstanding are certain other structures in which the pure inventiveness of Eiffel’s company was allowed free rein, such as the “portable” bridges sold around the world in “kits”, the ingenious structure of the Statue of Liberty in New York, and of course the Eiffel Tower itself.

The Maria Pia Bridge (in Portuguese Ponte de D. Maria Pia, commonly known as Ponte de Dona Maria Pia) is a railway bridge built in 1877 by Gustave Eiffel

Panama: A colossal… and disastrous project

In 1887 Eiffel agreed to build the locks of the Panama canal, an immense undertaking badly managed by Ferdinand De Lesseps, which ended in the biggest financial scandal of the century.

This was the biggest contract in his entire career in business, and also the one with the greatest risk. Given the risk he faced, he was granted major financial advantages and solid guarantees, which allowed him to collect his profit as soon as the work was begun.

Despite the care which Eiffel took in the project, the liquidation of the canal construction company, Compagnie du Canal, on February 4 1889, led to his own indictment for fraud alongside De Lesseps and his son, and to a sentence of two years in prison and a fine of 2000 francs, even though nothing could really be blamed on him personally.

With his honour and dignity severely compromised, he withdrew from business. The ruling was later to be annulled by the highest appeal court, the Cour de Cassation, liberating him of all obligations concerning the accusations, which put an end to any further court action against him.

Returning to his roots: scientific research

In retirement following the Panama scandal, Eiffel devoted the final thirty years of his life to a fruitful career as a scientist.

First of all he set himself to finding a practical application for the Tower, which had only been built to stand for twenty years. He employed it in wind resistance experiments, as a meteorological observation post, and above all as a giant aerial mast for the new science of radio broadcasting.

He collected meteorological data at posts installed in his various properties, and at the same time pursued his research into aerodynamics, building a wind tunnel right at the foot of the Tower, and then a second and much larger one on Rue Boileau in Paris, in 1909. This latter wind tunnel is still in service. He died on December 27, 1923 at the age of 91.

BRGM, the French geological survey, head office in Orleans

BRGM, the French geological survey, is France’s leading public institution for Earth Science applications for the management of surface and sub-surface resources with a view to sustainable development.

Under partnerships with numerous public and private stakeholders, it focuses on scientific research, providing scientifically-validated information to support public policy development and international cooperation.

Its activity meets 4 objectives:

  • understanding geological phenomena and related risks,
  • developing new techniques and methodologies,
  • producing and distributing data for surface, subsurface and resource management,
  • providing the tools required to manage the surface, subsurface and resources, prevent risks and pollution, and manage policies in response to climate change.

It is in line with 6 major scientific and societal challenges: geology and knowledge of the subsurface, groundwater management, risks and spatial planning, mineral resources and the circular economy, energy transition, data and digital infrastructures.

The School of Nature and Landscape (ENP)- INSA Centre Val de Loire

The National School of Nature and Landscape, located in Blois, was created in 1993

The National School of Nature and Landscape delivered the diploma of landscape engineer, since 2018 it has issued the State diploma in landscaping, like three other French schools. The school recruits post-bac and the training lasts five years.

This training, at the crossroads of scientific and creative practices, includes scientific lessons focused on understanding life sciences, human and social sciences lessons, visual arts and representation lessons, technical project engineering lessons. of landscape; all the lessons converge on the practice of the landscape project. Students complete internships in France and abroad at the rate of one internship per year, i.e. 5 during their training, over a period of 12 months in total. The training concludes with an individual end of study assignment on a site and a problem of their choice (TFE) throughout the fifth year

The School of Nature and Landscape trains landscapers who are alert to the changes in the world to come, inventive and committed, with a solid scientific and technical background, a general culture and a unique personality.
The teaching team is attentive to the evolution of teaching and educational exercises in order to respond to the new challenges to be taken up for future designers, and to the evolution of a profession of transformation and the imagination of cities and towns. territories of tomorrow.
As part of an original organization between teachers, researchers, students and administrative staff, future landscapers develop a unique posture of research and doubt, acquire knowledge that is both precise and generalist, open up ever greater fields of curiosity and define a personal writing of their commitment to the world, around the central tool of our training: the landscape project.

The School of Nature and Landscape is member of the ECLAS (European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools) network and participates in workshops and activities organized by the LE:NOTRE (Landscape Education : New Opportunities for Teaching and Research in Europe) network.


Landscape design exercises are at the heart of the landscape designer learning process. This learning is acquired through the synthesis of technical, scientific and plastic lessons. This approach is nourished and enriched throughout the five years of training by confronting increasingly complex issues, but also by the personal movement of the student.

The landscape project

Inhabited, represented, cultivated and developed territory, the landscape is in motion, in the making and in project. From good intuitions and a detailed analysis of a site, the student acquires method in the diagnosis, up to ” the definition of issues and objectives that lead to the design of space projects thought out over time.
Projects often start with a site and real or realistic questioning. The student sketches a solution, the spatial writing of which he develops and the implementation of which he details. It accompanies its reception to the public.
Certain subjects are carried out within the framework of partnerships with local authorities or companies.

Many famous people were born or lived in the region

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a region with a strong scientific and industrial culture. Many famous people were born or lived in the region, often the origin of a powerful industry.

Some examples:

  • Adolphe and Eugène Schneider, appointed head of the company “Schneider frères et Cie métallurgiste du Creusot” in 1936
  • Armand Peugeot, born in Valentigney in 1849, industrial
  • Auguste and Louis Lumière, born in 1862 and 1864 in Besançon, inventors in the fields of photography and cinema
  • Colette, born in 1873 in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, writer
  • Claude Lorius, born in 1932 in Besançon, glaciologist
  • Claudie Haigneré, born in 1953 in Creusot, doctor, biologist and astronaut
  • Eugène Péclet, born in 1793 in Besançon, physicist
  • Frédéric Japy, born in 1749 near Montbéliard, in Beaucourt, clockmaker
  • Gustave Eiffel, born in Dijon in 1832, engineer-builder
  • Hilaire de Chardonnet, born in Besançon in 1839, scientific and industrial engineer, inventor of artificial silk
  • Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, born in 1768 in Auxerre, mathematician and physicist
  • Lazare Carno, born in Nolay in 1753, mathematician, physicist, general and French politician
  • Louis Vuiton, born in 1821 in Chabouilla in the Jura, engineer designer
  • Nicéphore Niepce, born in 1765 in Chalon-sur-Saône, inventor of photography
  • Louis Pasteur, born in Dole in 1822, biologist
  • Pierre Vernier, born in 1580 in Ornans, mathematician
  • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, born in 1809 in Besançon, sociologist and philosopher
  • Paul Bert, born in 1833 in Auxerre, doctor, physiologist and politician
  • Paul-Emile Victor, born in the Jura in 1907, polar explorer
  • Sébastien Vauban, born in 1633 in Saint-Léger-de-Foucheret, architect and engineer
  • Victor Hugo, born in Besançon in 1802, novelist
  • and many others …..

The Science Pavilion, Center for Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Since January 1, 2018, the Science Pavilion of Montbéliard and the Center for Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture of Burgundy have come together to create the Pavillon des Sciences Center for Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.
The Science Pavilion aims to gain a better understanding of the world around us by understanding the major scientific and industrial challenges of the 21st century.
It is supported by many communities including the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, the Pays de Montbéliard Agglomeration, the City of Montbéliard, the City of Belfort, the Department of Doubs, and the City of Dijon.
It supports regional players in scientific culture (universities, private and public research laboratories, schools, industries, associations, museums, etc.).
Resource and dissemination center, creation and training center, the Science Pavilion, through its actions, has acquired expertise in mediation with in particular the development of Science Colporteurs , the production of exhibitions, mobile objects discovery and the provision of a FabLab.

The Science colporteurs (hawkers) equipped with utility vehicles, crisscross the roads of Burgundy-Franche-Comté to disseminate scientific culture. In their luggage: experiments, models, scientific objects and other tools travelling with them and are at the heart of their activities and workshops. They travel throughout the territory to primary schools, colleges, libraries, leisure centers and all other structures wishing to take advantage of their activities.

He leads the network of C.S.T.I(Center for Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture) through a platform called “Échosciences Bourgogne-Franche-Comté“. This platform makes it possible to discover the territory of the region from the angle of scientific and technical culture. It offers its members to network them with enthusiasts, to follow actions, events and projects close to home.

He became the regional operator to whom COMUE U.B.F.C (University Bourgogne-Franche Comté) and its 7 member universities delegate the implementation of actions related to the Science Festival that it coordinates throughout the region. It organizes meetings and debates on social issues and various activities. It offers training (“microfusée” accreditation in partnership with the National Center for Space Studies(CNES) and “Planète Sciences”).


Founded in 2013, the School of Wine & Spirits Business of Dijon is a structure dedicated to education and research in the wine and spirits industries. With 4 dedicated programs, the oldest of which was created in 1988, a unique dedicated building on campus including a business laboratory, a wine and spirits store and a tasting room, benefit from infrastructure dedicated to excellence !

Composed of 2,000 alumni from around the world in leadership positions in the sector, the Alumni network is synonymous with unprecedented opportunities and professional potential for its graduates.

Burgundy School of Business (BSB) is ranked among the top 1% of business schools in the world.
The Specialised Master in International Wine & Spirits Business (MS CIVS), the longest-standing international programme, is ranked n° 1 in France and n° 3 in the world (Eduniversal 2020)

The MBA Wine & Spirits Business is ranked second best internationally focused MBA taught in France (Le Moci 2020).

The first of its kind in the world entirely dedicated to the teaching of and research into wine and spirits management


The Wine & Spirits Business Lab, a behavioural research laboratory dedicated to the world of wine and spirits
The Tasting Room, a state-of-the-art room comprising 32 fully equiped places for tasting classes and research activities
The Cellar, a 12-degree storage cellar, a showcase situated at the building’s entrance and housing the institution’s collection of bottles; a prime resource for more informal tasting sessions
The Spirits World, an area  specially dedicated  to spirits
The Business Lounge, a sophisticated and elegant reception area 


(1 academic year, 100% English taught, bachelor’s in any subject)
The MSc Wine Management is an original programme created by BSB in 2012. This holistic programme allows students to not only obtain a global vision in the wine industry, but also gain management and financial skills in spirits and beer industries, having an in-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of the international business environment, as well as advanced international management practice. The degree aims to produce corporate specialists, allowing graduates to apply with confidence for all managerial openings in wine, spirits and beer industries

MBA WINE & SPIRITS BUSINESS (1 academic year, Bachelor’s in any subject and more than 3 years work experience, 100% English taught)
BSB’s MBA Wine & Spirits Business is a high-level training course, ranked second best international MBA taught in France (Le Moci 2021).
With a strong strategic, commercial and management focus, this intense programme gives you a sound grasp of the requirements of the global market by offering a range of cultural experiences and developing your understanding of the intricacies of the global business of wine and spirits.
It is ideal for those looking to reach middle to upper managerial positions in the industry or create their own business


(1 academic year, 100% English taught, bachelor’s in any subject)
The MSc Sustainable Wine Tourism & Gastronomy is designed to meet the growing recruitment needs of many wineries and spirits brands that are developing their tourism activities around their region, history and products. Moreover, the pressure on today’s climate creates an urgent need for companies involved in agritourism to recruit employees and managers to lead an effective transition towards a more balanced approach to food production and travel.


The Specialized Master in International Trade in Wines & Spirits (MS CIVS) welcomes students, young professionals, management professionals, wine and spirits enthusiasts, wishing to occupy managerial positions requiring expertise in the wine world and advanced managerial skills.

Based on a very powerful network of graduates and as a pioneer of education in these industries, this program is a leader in the French-speaking market

UNESCO CHAIR «Culture and Traditions of Wine» at University of Burgundy

Founded in 2006 at the University of Burgundy

A UNESCO Chair is constituted of an international partners’ network (higher education and research establishments, private and public institutions) offering a common project around a topic able to support the priority programs of the UNESCO, such as the dissemination of education and research, culture, equal opportunity, environment and long lasting development, also peace and governmental leadership as well as the preservation of homeland heritage.

A strong anchorage on terroirs and culture

CHAIR -Culture and Traditions of Wine– unique in the world, is established in Burgundy, land where the diversity of the “terroirs” and the richness of the patrimonial heritage are uni­versally recognized.

The integration of the CHAIR into the University of Burgundy is totally justified. In fact it is one of the few universities in the world to have its own AOC vineyard operated in the Côte de Nuits district.
Very early it developed its own enology department and through the years strongly diversified and enriched its structures of education and research on vine, wine and their cultural heritage.
It offers nowadays a large scale of multi disciplinary diplomas related to vine and wine topics.
More than 12 years ago, the university has gathered its various disciplines of edu­cation and several of its research groups in vine and wine research under the “Institut Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin (IUVV) , Institut «Jules Guyot» and under the Insitute of Human Science of Dijon.

The IUVV also harbors, the coordination and research on the Chardonnay and Pinot: (CRECEP) which assembles the regional partners (higher education and research establishments, inter-professional structures of viticulture industry as well as the Chambers of Agriculture) working together on the research and development programs regarding vineyards especially those of northern countries.

Some of the targeted objectives

  • To investigate the part of cultural inheritance in the geography, the cultural and oenological practices, the organisation, the development and the production of the old world vineyards.
  • To analyse the development motivations of the new world vineyards and also those of the emerging “extreme limit” world vineyards in regions where a priori the natural environment does not appeal to wine culture.
  • To understand the evolution of the consumption of wine in the world.
  • To decypher the mutations in the cultural behaviors and the production techniques in view of the global economical stakes and the new climatic deal situation.
  • To propose ways for a viticulture and a wine culture integrated in a (long-lasting) development of the planet.

Such a Chair would allow the public to better apprehend the wine as cultural product, vector of civilisation, whose enlightened consumption is reminiscent of a real “Art de Vivre” connected to conviviality, sharing and human values if ever.

An opening towards the world in the spirit of a long lasting development.

The CHAIR is backed up by international partners of the academic world, the professional world of viticulture and wine, the cultural and institutional world.

The international network encloses several dozens of countries, of old or new vineyards from all continents.

The partners offer the structuring of shared Diplomas either in attendance or in e-learning mode, both as initial or continuing education.

They develop multidisciplinary and comparative research on vine, wine and their culture.

The partners encourage PhD thesis in partnership development, the mobility of students and research lecturers, stimulate the North South exchange (between the northem and southem hemispheres).

They organize and sponsor international conferences, publica­ tions and seminars around the CHAIR federating topics.

They offer transfer and expertise activities.

They secure the cultural heritage values towards the professional world and the widespread audience by means of conferences, cultural manifestations, large diffusion publishing’s especially on the site of the UNESCO CHAIR «Culture and Traditions ofWine».

Louis Pasteur, a French chemist and microbiologist whose work changed medicine

Louis Pasteur is born on 27 December 1822, in Dole, Jura (Franche Comté)

Louis Pasteur, a qualified chemist, is behind the most important scientific revolutions of the 19th century in the fields of biology, agriculture, medicine and hygiene. Beginning his research on crystallography, he soon embarked on a journey filled with discoveries which led him to develop the rabies vaccine.

Louis Pasteur’s life was filled with revolutionary discoveries and also marked by a number of events that likely fueled his desire to understand the diseases of his time. A tireless and dedicated scientist, he traveled extensively throughout France to prove his theories and solve agricultural and industrial problems caused by infectious diseases.


“Chance favors invention only for minds prepared for discoveries by patient study and persevering efforts.”

Louis Pasteur



In 1847 Louis Pasteur, a young chemist freshly graduated from the prestigious Ecole normale supérieure, set to work on the problem posed by German physicist Eilhard Mitscherlich, namely, why do sodium ammonium paratartrate and tartrate – two seemingly identical chemical substances – affect polarized light differently ?


Louis Pasteur’s work raised a new set of research questions, such as ” Where do fermentation agents come from ? ” and ” Do they originate from germs similar to themselves or do they appear spontaneously as explained by the spontaneous generation theory ?


Between the age of 55 and 65 Louis Pasteur developed microbiology, applying it to medicine and surgery. Having established that diseases were caused by microorganisms, he then sought to identify and find a means of fighting them. His finest accomplishment was rabies.


The Institut Pasteur is named after its illustrious founder and owes much to this scientific genius. Yet its story is also linked to the lives and discoveries of many other scientists, all inspired by the humanist ideals of Louis Pasteur, whose scientific breakthroughs have benefited people’s health worldwide.

The Institut Pasteur is a private, non-profit foundation officially recognized for charitable status, just as Louis Pasteur himself wanted.

Established by decree on June 4, 1887, the Institut Pasteur was opened on November 14, 1888 following Louis Pasteur’s successful international appeal for funds. He now had the facilities to extend vaccination against rabies, continue research on infectious diseases and share the resulting knowledge.

That’s a Fact – Louis Pasteur from Institute for Creation Research on Vimeo.

The Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour (CSGA)

The Centre for Taste and Feeding Behaviour (CSGA) has been created the first of January 2010, and renewed in 2017. It belongs to AgroSup Dijon, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique and the University of Burgundy.

The CSGA is composed of 10 research groups made up with 133 members with a permanent position (researchers, professors and assistant/professors, MD, engineers and technicians), and around 70 non tenured agents (PhD, post-doc, engineers and technicians).

The general objective is to get a better understanding of the physicochemical, molecular, cellular, behavioural and psychological mechanisms underlying sensory perception of food, eating behaviour and health consequences. The studies range from the release of aromatic substances and sapid molecules from the food matrix to the psychology and behaviour of consumer, through the biological events of sensory perceptions. Changes in sensory perception in physiological (development, experience) or pathological conditions (nutrient excess, aging) are studied.

The unit possesses worldwide acknowledged and complementary competences in key-thematic fields:
– chemical analysis of complexity (pheromones, odorants, sapid and trigeminal molecules,…),
– release of compounds from food matrices (role of chewing and saliva composition),
– analysis of the sensory, cognitive and behavioural phenomena associated to the treatment of sensory informations,
– analysis of the mechanisms involved in chemical communication and feeding/eating behaviours,
– role of the internal and external environment (metabolism, sensory exposure, development, culture et and society, metabolic state, pathologies).