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The French Academy of Sciences (French: Académie des sciences) is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is one of the earliest Academies of Sciences.
Currently headed by Sébastien Candel [ out of date? ] (President of the Academy), it is one of the five Academies of the Institut de France.
The Academy of Sciences traces its origin to Colbert's plan to create a general academy. He chose a small group of scholars who met on 22 December 1666 in the King's library, near the present-day Bibliothèque Nationals, and thereafter held twice-weekly working meetings there in the two rooms assigned to the group.The first 30 years of the Academy's existence were relatively informal, since no statutes had as yet been laid down for the institution. In contrast to its British counterpart, the Academy was founded as an organ of government. In Paris, there weren't many membership openings, to fill positions there were tenacious elections. The election process was at least a 6-stage process with rules and regulations that allowed for chosen candidates to canvas other members and for current members to consider postponing certain stages of the process if the need would arise. Elections in the early days of the academy were important activities, and as such made up a large part of the proceedings at the academy, with many meetings being held regarding the election to fill a single vacancy within the academy. That is not to say that discussion of candidates and the election process as a whole was relegated to the meetings. Members that belonged to the vacancy's respective field would continue discussion of potential candidates for the vacancy in private. Being elected into the Academy didn't necessarily guarantee being a full member, in some cases, one would enter the academy as an associate or correspondent before being appointed as a full member of the academy. The election process was originally only to replace members from a specific section, for example, if someone whose study was mathematics was either removed or resigned from his position, the following election process nominated only those whose focus was also mathematics in order to fill that discipline's vacancy. This led to some periods of time where they couldn't find specialists for specific fields of study, and had to have positions in those fields vacant, unable to fill them with people in other disciplines. But after reform in 1987, the academy decided against the practice, favoring filling vacancies with people with new disciplines. This reform was not only aimed at further diversifying the disciplines under the academy, but also to help combat the internal aging of the academy itself. The Academy was expected to remain apolitical, and to avoid discussion of religious and social issues.
On 20 January 1699, Louis XIV gave the Company its first rules. The Academy received the name of Royal Academy of Sciences and was installed in the Louvre in Paris. Following this reform, the Academy began publishing a volume each year with information on all the work done by its members and obituaries for members who had died. This reform also codified the method by which members of the Academy could receive pensions for their work.The academy was originally organized by the royal reform hierarchically into the following groups: Pensionaires, Pupils, Honoraires, and Associés. The reform also added new groups not previously recognized, such as Vétéran. Some of these role's member limits were expanded and some roles even removed or combined throughout the course of academy's history. The Honoraires group establish by this reform in 1699 whose members were directly appointed by the King was recognized until its abolishment in 1793. Membership in the academy only exceeded 100 officially recognized full members in 1976, 310 years after the academy's inception in 1666. The membership increase came with a large-scale reorganization in 1976. Under this reorganization, 130 resident members, 160 correspondents, and 80 foreign associates could be elected. A vacancy only opens upon the death of a member, as they serve for life. During elections, half of the vacancies are reserved for people less than 55 years old. This was created as an attempt to encourage younger members to join the academy. The reorganization also divided the academy into 2 divisions. One division covers the applications of mathematics and physical sciences, and the other covers the applications of chemical, natural, biological, and medical sciences.
On 8 August 1793, the National Convention abolished all the academies. On 22 August 1795, a National Institute of Sciences and Arts was put in place, bringing together the old academies of the sciences, literature and arts, among them the Académie française and the Académie des sciences. Also in 1795, The Academy determined these 10 titles to be their newly accepted branches of scientific study:
The last two sections are bundled since there were many good candidates fit to be elected for those practices, and the competition was stiff. Some individuals like Francois Magendie had made stellar advancements in their selected fields of study, that warranted a possible addition of new fields. However, even someone like Magendie that had made breakthroughs in Physiology and impressed the Academy with his hands-on vivisection experiments, could not get his study into its own category. [ circular reference ] Despite Magendie being one of the leading innovators of his time, it was still a battle for him to become an official member of the Academy, a feat he would later accomplish in 1821. He further improved the reverence of the academy when he and anatomist Charles Bell produced the widely known "Bell-Magendie Law".[ circular reference ]
From 1795 until 1914, the first world war, the French Academy of Science was the most prevalent organization of French science.Almost all the old members of the previously abolished Académie were formally re-elected and retook their ancient seats. Among the exceptions was Dominique, comte de Cassini, who refused to take his seat. Membership in the Academy was not restricted to scientists: in 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte was elected a member of the Academy and three years later a president in connection with his Egyptian expedition, which had a scientific component. In 1816, the again renamed "Royal Academy of Sciences" became autonomous, while forming part of the Institute of France; the head of State became its patron. In the Second Republic, the name returned to Académie des sciences. During this period, the Academy was funded by and accountable to the Ministry of Public Instruction. The Academy came to control French patent laws in the course of the eighteenth century, acting as the liaison of artisans' knowledge to the public domain. As a result, academicians dominated technological activities in France. The Academy proceedings were published under the name Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences (1835–1965). The Comptes rendus is now a journal series with seven titles. The publications can be found on site of the French National Library.
In 1818 the French Academy of Sciences launched a competition to explain the properties of light. The civil engineer Augustin-Jean Fresnel entered this competition by submitting a new wave theory of light.Siméon Denis Poisson, one of the members of the judging committee, studied Fresnel's theory in detail. Being a supporter of the particle-theory of light, he looked for a way to disprove it. Poisson thought that he had found a flaw when he demonstrate that Fresnel's theory predicts that an on-axis bright spot would exist in the shadow of a circular obstacle, where there should be complete darkness according to the particle-theory of light. The Poisson spot is not easily observed in every-day situations, so it was only natural for Poisson to interpret it as an absurd result and that it should disprove Fresnel's theory. However, the head of the committee, Dominique-François-Jean Arago, and who incidentally later became Prime Minister of France, decided to perform the experiment in more detail. He molded a 2-mm metallic disk to a glass plate with wax. To everyone's surprise he succeeded in observing the predicted spot, which convinced most scientists of the wave-nature of light.
For three centuries women were not allowed as members of the Academy. This meant that many women scientists were excluded, including two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, Nobel winner Irène Joliot-Curie, mathematician Sophie Germain, and many other deserving women scientists. The first woman admitted as a correspondent member was a student of Curie's, Marguerite Perey, in 1962. The first female full member was Yvonne Choquet-Bruhat in 1979. [ citation needed ]
Membership in the academy is highly geared towards representing common French populace demographics. French population increases and changes in the early 21st century led to the academy expanding reference population sizes by reform in the early 2002.
The overwhelming majority of members leave the academy posthumously, with a few exceptions of removals, transfers, and resignations. The last member to be removed from the academy was in 1944. Removal from the academy was often for not performing to standards, not performing at all, leaving the country, or political reasons. In some rare occasions, a member has been elected twice and subsequently removed twice. This is the case for Marie-Adolphe Carnot.
The most direct involvement of the government in the affairs of the institute came in the initial nomination of members in 1795. But as the members nominated constituted only one-third of the membership and most of these had previously been elected as members of the respective Academies under the old regime, few objections were raised. Moreover, these nominated members were then completely free to nominate the remaining members of the institute. Members expected to remain such for life, but interference occurred in a few cases where the government suddenly terminated membership for political reasons. The other main interference came when the government refused to accept the result of Academy elections.The academies control by the government was apparent in 1803, when Bonaparte decided on a general reorganization. His principal concern was not the First class but the Second, which included political scientists who were potential critics of his government. Bonaparte abolished the second class completely and, after a few expulsions, redistributed its remaining members, together with those of the Third class, into a new Second class concerned with literature and a new Third class devoted to the fine arts. Still this relationship between the Academy and the government was not a one-way affair, as members expected to receive their payment of an honorarium.
Although the Academy still exists today, after World War One, the reputation and status of the Academy was largely questioned.One factor of decline was the development from a meritocracy to gerontocracy, in other words; a shift from people with scientific ability leading the Academy to people who had been there longer leading it. It became known as a sort of "hall of fame" that lost control, real and symbolic, of the professional scientific diversity in France at the time. Another factor was that in the span of five years, 1909 to 1914, funding to science faculties considerably dropped, eventually leading to a financial crisis in France.
Today the Academy is one of five academies comprising the Institut de France. Its members are elected for life. Currently, there are 150 full members, 300 corresponding members, and 120 foreign associates. They are divided into two scientific groups: the Mathematical and Physical sciences and their applications and the Chemical, Biological, Geological and Medical sciences and their applications. The Academy currently has five missions that its pursuing. These being the encouraging of the scientific life, promoting the teaching of science, transmitting knowledge between scientific communities, fostering international collaborations, and ensuring a dual role of expertise and advise.The French Academy of Science originally focused its development efforts into creating a true co-development Euro-African program beginning in 1997. Since then they have broadened their scope of action to other regions of the world. The standing committee COPED is in charge of the international development projects undertaken by the French Academy of Science and their associates. The current president of COPED is Pierre Auger, the vice president is Michel Delseny, and the honorary president is Francois Gros. All of which are current members of the French Academy of Science. COPED has hosted several workshops or colloquia in Paris, involving representatives from African academies, universities or research centers, addressing a variety of themes and challenges dealing with African development and covering a large field spectrum. Specifically higher education in sciences, and research practices in basic and applied sciences that deal with various aspects relevant to development (renewable energy, infectious diseases, animal pathologies, food resources, access to safe water, agriculture, urban health, etc.).
The Academic Standing Committees and Working Parties prepare the advice notes, policy statements and the Academic Reports. Some have a statutory remit, such as the Select Committee, the Committee for International Affairs and the Committee for Scientists' Rights, some are created ad hoc by the Academy and approved formally by vote in a Members-only session.
Today the academies standing committees and working parties include:
Each year, the Academy of Sciences distributes about 80 prizes. These include:
The following are incomplete lists of the officers of the Academy. See also Category:Officers of the French Academy of Sciences.
For a list of the Academy's members past and present, see Category:Members of the French Academy of Sciences
Source: French Academy of Sciences
Baron Siméon Denis Poisson FRS FRSE was a French mathematician, engineer, and physicist who made many scientific advances.
The Académie Française, sometimes referred to as the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution, it was restored as a division of the Institut de France in 1803 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is the oldest of the five académies of the institute.
Jean-Antoine Chaptal, comte de Chanteloup was a distinguished French chemist, physician, agronomist, industrialist, statesman, educator and philanthropist. His multifaceted career unfolded during one of the most brilliant periods in French science. In chemistry it was the time of Antoine Lavoisier, Claude-Louis Berthollet, Louis Guyton de Morveau, Antoine-François Fourcroy and Joseph Gay-Lussac. Chaptal made his way into this elite company in Paris beginning in the 1780s, and established his credentials as a serious scientist most definitely with the publication of his first major scientific treatise, the Ėléments de chimie. His treatise brought the term "nitrogen" into the revolutionary new chemical nomenclature developed by Lavoisier. By 1795, at the newly established École Polytechnique in Paris, Chaptal shared the teaching of courses in pure and applied chemistry with Claude-Louis Berthollet, the doyen of the science. In 1798, Chaptal was elected a member of the prestigious Chemistry Section of the Institut de France. He became president of the section in 1802 soon after Napoleon appointed him Minister of Interior. Chaptal was a key figure in the early industrialization in France under Napoleon and during the Bourbon Restoration. He was a founder and first president in 1801 of the important Society for the Encouragement of National Industry and a key organizer of industrial expositions held in Paris in 1801 and subsequent years. He compiled a valuable study, De l'industrie française (1819), surveying the condition and needs of French industry in the early 1800s. Chaptal was especially strong in applied science. Beginning in the early 1780s, he published a continuous stream of practical essays on such things as acids and salts, alum, sulfur, pottery and cheese making, sugar beets, fertilizers, bleaching, degreasing, painting and dyeing. As a chemicals industrialist, he was a major producer of hydrochloric, nitric and sulfuric acids, and was much sought after as a technical consultant for the manufacture of gunpowder. His reputation as a master of applied science, dedicated to using the discoveries of chemistry for the benefit of industry and agriculture, was furthered with the publication of his L'Art de faire, de gouverner et de perfectionner les vins (1801) and La Chimie appliquée aux arts (1806), works that drew on the theoretical chemistry of Lavoisier to revolutionize the art of wine-making in France. His new procedure of adding sugar to increase the final alcohol content of wines came to be called "chaptalization." In 1802, Chaptal purchased the Château de Chanteloup and its extensive grounds in Touraine, near Amboise. He raised merino sheep and experimented there in his later years on a model farm for the cultivation of sugar beets. He wrote his classic study of the application of scientific principles to the cultivation of land, the Chimie appliquée à l'agriculture (1823), and composed his important political memoir, Mes souvenirs sur Napoléon(1893). Napoleon named Chaptal Count of the Empire (1808) and Count of Chanteloup (1810). In 1819 he was named by Louis XVIII to the Restoration's Chamber of Peers.
The Bureau des Longitudes is a French scientific institution, founded by decree of 25 June 1795 and charged with the improvement of nautical navigation, standardisation of time-keeping, geodesy and astronomical observation. During the 19th century, it was responsible for synchronizing clocks across the world. It was headed during this time by François Arago and Henri Poincaré. The Bureau now functions as an academy and still meets monthly to discuss topics related to astronomy.
The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres is a French learned society devoted to the humanities, founded in February 1663 as one of the five academies of the Institut de France.
The Institut de France is a French learned society, grouping five académies, including the Académie Française.
Léon Nicolas Brillouin was a French physicist. He made contributions to quantum mechanics, radio wave propagation in the atmosphere, solid state physics, and information theory.
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La Loge des Neuf Sœurs, established in Paris in 1776, was a prominent French Masonic Lodge of the Grand Orient de France that was influential in organising French support for the American Revolution. A "Société des Neuf Sœurs," a charitable society that surveyed academic curricula, had been active at the Académie Royale des Sciences since 1769. Its name referred to the nine Muses, the daughters of Mnemosyne/Memory, patrons of the arts and sciences since antiquity, and long significant in French cultural circles. The Lodge of similar name and purpose was opened in 1776, by Jérôme de Lalande. From the start of the French Revolution in 1789 until 1792, "Les Neuf Sœurs" became a "Société Nationale".
Comptes rendus de l'Académie des Sciences, or simply Comptes rendus, is a French scientific journal which has been published since 1835. It is the proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences. It is currently split into seven sections, published on behalf of the Academy by Elsevier: Mathématique, Mécanique, Physique, Géoscience, Palévol, Chimie, and Biologies.
The Society of Arcueil was a circle of French scientists who met regularly on summer weekends between 1806 and 1822 at the country houses of Claude Louis Berthollet and Pierre Simon Laplace at Arcueil, then a village 3 miles south of Paris.
The Poncelet Prize is awarded by the French Academy of Sciences. The prize was established in 1868 by the widow of General Jean-Victor Poncelet for the advancement of the sciences. It was in the amount of 2,000 francs, mostly for the work in applied mathematics. The precise wording of the announcement by the Academy varied from year to year and required the work be "in mechanics", or "for work contributing to the progress of pure or applied mathematics", or simply "in applied mathematics", and sometimes included condition that the work must be "done during the ten years preceding the award."
Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier was a French mathematician and physicist born in Auxerre and best known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series, which eventually developed into Fourier analysis and harmonic analysis, and their applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations. The Fourier transform and Fourier's law of conduction are also named in his honour. Fourier is also generally credited with the discovery of the greenhouse effect.
The Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles-Lettres de Caen was founded in Caen (Normandy) by Jacques Moisant de Brieux in 1652.
Jean-Henri Humbert was a French botanist born in Paris.
The Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium is the independent learned society of science and arts of the French Community of Belgium. One of Belgium's numerous academies, it is the French-speaking counterpart of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. In 2001 both academies founded a joint association for the purpose of promoting science and arts on an international level: The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium (RASAB). All three institutions are located in the same building, the Academy Palace in Brussels.
The Association française pour l'information scientifique or AFIS is an association regulated by the French law of 1901, founded under the leadership of Michel Rouzé in November 1968. As a skeptical organisation, it has been a member of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations since 2001, and publishes the magazine Science et pseudo-sciences.
Patrice Bret is a French historian of science and technology and a senior researcher at the Centre Alexandre-Koyré in Paris. His areas of expertise include the translation and circulation of scientific and technical knowledge through communities in the 18th century, the technology and history of armaments in the 18th-20th centuries, and science and technology under colonisation.
Jean-François Bach is a French medical professor, biologist and immunologist. He is Secrétaire perpétuel honoraire of the Académie des sciences.
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