Science and society

Disseminating scientific knowledge

The 2014 Let's Do Science event. © M. LECOMPT / UPSud

Paris-Sud University, as an active participant in scientific research (2 Nobel prizes, 4 Fields medals, 2,400 researchers and lecturers, over a hundred laboratories, partnerships with the largest national research bodies - CNRS, INSERM, CEA, INRIA and INRA) is involved in disseminating and sharing scientific knowledge, and to this end it has for some years been organising a number of initiatives.

Exhibitions (our most recent ones have featured Mineralogy, crystallography and wartime health services), colloquia, conferences, festivals like “Ciné-Droit” and “CURIOSITas”, open days or tours of research laboratories, encounters with scientists: there is something for everyone, whatever their age.

Younger schoolchildren, for instance, have pride of place at the Science Festival, where they have an opportunity to learn about different disciplines through workshops and fun activities. Others whose interest has already been awakened might prefer debates between specialists, themed lunches, conferences, round tables and exhibitions about the disciplines for which Paris-Sud University has won fame, such as law, medicine, physics, life and earth sciences, mathematics and computing).

In addition to these events, Paris-Sud University is involved in training students how they can popularise science, either via options in the form of teaching units which form part of a course, such as the Orsay vocational Master's in fundamental physics; or through training courses for schoolteachers. The University also offers introductory courses in the popularisation of science open to scientists, or doctoral contracts funded by Paris-Sud University for doctoral students who want to be involved in disseminating science in addition to their research work.

Lastly, in addition to the university's many scientific publications, it regularly produces films or documents presenting various themes or aspects of research to as wide an audience as possible. Indeed, the university hosts a dedicated department, the Centre for the Popularisation of Knowledge (Centre de Vulgarisation de la Connaissance - CVC), which is part of the Orsay Faculty of Science at Paris-Sud University. And there will soon be a new vehicle for encouraging interaction between scientists and young pupils – the Introduction and Awareness of Science Building (Maison d'Initiation et de Sensibilisation aux Sciences - MISS).