Open invitation to millennium mind party

December 3, 1999

French academe is planning its own special year 2000 celebration - a massive teach-in for the the universe that will continue every single day throughout the year.

L'Universite de Tous les Savoirs opens on January 1 with an introductory lecture "Life" by the 1965 Nobel prizewinner for medicine, Francois Jacob, of Paris's Pasteur Institute. It

will offer a different lesson

every day until December 31.

They will be given "in an intellectually demanding but popular style" by eminent academics or researchers in four main domains. The longest, "Mankind", will last five-and-a-half months, covering evolution, genetics, demography, disease, justice and social science. Others include "Science", which covers mathematics, the earth, space, physics and chemistry, and "Education and communications", which will encompass new technologies and pollution.

The 50-minute lectures, each followed by a debate, will take place at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris, free of charge and open to all, space permitting.

Those unable to attend will be able to catch up through radio and television broadcasts or via the internet. Satellite links will beam the sessions to regional centres, and the lectures will eventually be published.

Yves Michaud, philosopher and professor at the University of Paris I, the Sorbonne, scheduled the lectures and appointed lecturers.

The programme for December remains deliberately blank. The idea, explained Professor Michaud, is to add an interactive element by taking account of audiencereactionduring the year and seeing what subjects members of the public suggest.

The programme is available at www.2000enfrance.com/sites/utls

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