Hunger for public lectures satisfied

June 22, 2001

France's millennium celebration of knowledge and learning, the Université de Tous les Savoirs, is to make a comeback following its success last year.

It will resume for three weeks in July with daily lectures on contemporary science, the first of which will be delivered by Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, winner of the 1997 Nobel prize for physics.

From October, the UTLS will operate weekly covering such themes as the human psyche and mind, nanotechnologies, new research into mathematics and all aspects of equality and inequality. A second weekly session is also planned that will allow higher education and research institutions to present their most recent original work.

Announcing the decision to continue the UTLS, education minister Jack Lang said demand to continue the project came "not only from the public who had followed the lectures in person, on radio, television or on the internet, but also those from the world of knowledge who had found a place, a platform where they could meet and speak to the public".

During the Millennium UTLS, a different scientist or researcher lectured on his or her speciality every day of the year. Some 180,000 people attended the 366 free lessons. Some lectures - including those by Nobel prizewinner for medicine François Jacob and British historian Eric Hobsbawm - attracted audiences of 2,000.

Yves Michaud, professor of philosophy at the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne, who conceived and organised the UTLS, said the new version may have "citizens' lectures" to inform legislators as well as the public on scientific issues.

The UTLS takes place daily from July 5 to 24 at 6.30pm in the Binet lecture theatre of the University of Paris V. From October 4, lectures will be delivered every Thursday at 6.30pm.

The lectures are published by Editions Odile Jacob,

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