In favour of a scientific universalism
Scientists have well understood the necessity to improve the transmission of knowledge to the public. Contradictions nevertheless remain: citizens have strong expectations regarding science and medicine, yet they also fear technological progress; sciences are prodigious drivers of social progress and economic growth but the number of scientific vocations is tailing off; and although many high technology tools are used on a daily basis, few users know what their operating principles are.
Such a situation is an image of how terribly isolate the world of research remains: a new relationship between science and society should thus be invented. In this context indeed, the Académie des Science has laid in 2014 the foundations of its programme in favour of a scientific universalism: Pour un universalisme scientifique. This ambitious programme, which will expand rapidly from 2015, is based on the scientist/heritage site/scientific discipline triangle, with:
• Louis Pasteur, his house (Arbois, Jura), life sciences;
• Antoine d’Abbadie, his castle observatory of Abbadia (Hendaye, Pyrénées-Atlantiques), earth sciences;
• Adolphe de Lépinay, his Ry-Chazerat estate (Journet, Vienne), sciences in the service of the environment.
The actions proposed on each site will be inspired by the personal background and scientific inputs of these personalities, and fit nicely into the economic, environmental and cultural specificities of the regions where they used to live.