Scientific Watch N°17 - From 13/8/2016 to 28/8/2016

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2016-N°17 - From 13/8/2016 to 28/8/2016]

From 13/8/2016 to 28/8/2016

Editors :

Gabriel BENET, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Julie METTA, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Justin MONIER, Scientific Officer - Hong Kong

Isabelle SAVES, Attachée for Scientific & Academic Affairs - Hong Kong

Contact :




1- Energy & Environment

1.1- Last review for French energy roadmap before being adopted

The energy roadmap of France, which explains sector by sector (oil, nuclear, wind ... ), the objectives of the law on the energy transition passed on 2015, will be subject to public consultation "in the coming days" said on the 26th of August 2016 the French Ministry of Environment - Mrs Ségolène Royale. This will be the "last step before the final adoption" by decree of this text, called “Programmation pluriannuelle de l’énergie (PPE)” - Multi annual Energy Program.

Original article published on “Technique de l’ingénieur” website, August 26, 2016. Source

1.2- Total: the French Tesla?

With the acquisition of Saft in 2016 and SunPower in 2011, Total has the capacity to make offers of alternative energy comparable to those of a precursor as Tesla. At least that is what US analysts Lux Research is asserting, this statement puts the French Energy company Total ahead of multinational oil companies in terms of energy transition.

Original article published on “Usine Nouvelle” website, August 26, 2016. Source

1.3- Paris warned about high level of ozone pollution

Parisians have been warned that there will be a high level of air pollution on Thursday, August 25th by AirParif, the organization which monitors air quality in Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France region. Once the level of ozone particles in the air reaches a certain level, authorities have a duty to alert the public. In order to tackle the level of pollution, residential parking will be free for the entire day in Paris, the mayor’s office has announced, and additional measures have not been ruled out.

Original article published on “The Local” website, August 24, 2016. Source

1.4- New governmental call for French photovoltaic plants

The Minister of the Environment continues renewable energy promotion, according to the “Programmation pluriannuelle de l’énergie (PPE)” - Multi annual Energy Program. Indeed Ségolène Royal has announced the launch of a specific call for tenders for solar photovoltaic plants on the ground. It covers a total capacity of 3,000 MW , divided into six periods bid of 500 MW each until June 2019. It aims to triple the power of the PV solar farm in France by 2023. The aim is to reach between 18,200 and 20,000 MW against 6,737 MW recorded at the end of March, 2016. Six application periods are planned until June 2019. The first period ewill end on February 1st, 2017.

Original article published on “The Local” website, August 25, 2016. Source


2- Health & Society

2.1- Inserm launches a survey about tobacco consumption in France

What is the perception and the behaviour linked to tobacco smoking in France? The study DePICT (Description des Perceptions, Images et Comportements liés au Tabac, “Description of perceptions, images and behaviours linked to tobacco) has been set up in order to answer this question as precisely as possible. Collected data will help to develop more efficient health protection policies. From 22 August to mid-November 2016, 6,000 will be interviewed.

Original article published on Inserm’s website, 23 August 2016. Source

2.2- For obese teens, intense exercise is better than moderate exercise

A study carried out at INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) in 2015-2016 showed that when it comes to losing weight, intense cycling for 45 minutes is better than a leisurely ride that lasts twice as long. Obese teens who heed this advice can reduce their food intake by up to 31% without feeling hungry. This effect is lasting over time, as a current cohort study with 32 severely obese adolescents has shown. The teens, monitored over 11 months, shed between 7 and 20 kilos, depending on the individual.

Original article published on Inserm’s website, 23 August 2016. Source


3- Research and Education

3.1- How plant sugars influence malaria transmission

Female mosquitoes are well known blood-feeders, but they also consume sugar sources such as nectar, fruits and tree sap. A study carried out by an international research team (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement IRD, French National Center for Scientific Research CNRS and the Research institute of health sciences in Burkina Faso IRSS) has been published on August 4th in PLOS Pathogens. This work supervised by Dr. Thierry Lefevre suggests that the plant-based part of their diet affects malaria transmission by influencing the host-pathogen interaction between Anopheles mosquitoes and Plasmodium parasites.

Original article published on the IRD website, 4 August 2016. Source

3.2- The unconscious subject to conscious influence

In a study published in the new international scientific journal Neuroscience of Consciousness, Dr. Benjamin Rohaut (Inserm researcher, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and Dr. Lionel Naccache (Head of the Picnic Lab, Physiological Investigation of Clinically Normal and Impaired Cognition) show that the semantic processing of words is unconscious but subject to strong conscious influences. This work was a collaboration with colleagues at the Brain and Spine Institute (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière - Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris/CNRS/Inserm/University Paris 6) and at the Cognitive psychology laboratory (CNRS/Aix-Marseille University).

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 17 August 2016. Source

3.3- Closest ever exoplanet is potentially habitable

Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, has a rocky, Earth-sized planet located in the star’s habitable zone, where liquid water can exist on the surface. This major discovery was made by an international team of researchers including Julien Morin from the Laboratoire Univers et Particules de Montpellier (CNRS/Université de Montpellier), and is published on 25 August 2016 in Nature .

Video published on the CNRS’ website, 25 August 2016. Source

3.4- The Viruses that Rule our Oceans

Every day, marine viruses kill 40% of our oceans’ bacteria. And yet these biological entities are still poorly known. For example, we still know little about their role in the regulation of microalgae, the first link in the food chain that also produces close to a quarter of our planet’s oxygen. “CNRS News” released a video (5’50) in which researchers at the Roscoff Marine Station explain how they are trying to isolate and better understand these fearsome predators.

Video published on the CNRS’ website, 7 August 2016. Source

3.5- Artificial retina: serious avenues for a clearer vision

Retinal prosthesis, which have been developed for a decade, are a great therapeutic challenge, allowing some blind people to perceive light signals. However, the restored image is yet far from accurate. By comparing in rodents the activity within the visual cortex artificially generated by the implant to the activity caused by "natural vision", researchers from CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), Inserm (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), AP-HM (Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Marseille) and Aix -Marseille University have identified two factors limiting resolution of prosthesis. From these results, they have been able to improve the accuracy of prosthetic activation. This cross-disciplinary study, published on August 23, 2016 in the journal eLife, is paving the way for further progress in retinal prosthesis for humans in order to improve the quality of life of patients.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 23 August 2016. Source

3.6- Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson’s disease via lysosomes

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur in Paris (led by Dr. Chiara Zurzolo, Membrane Traffic and Pathogenesis Unit) have demonstrated the role of lysosomal vesicles in transporting α-synuclein aggregates, responsible for Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, between neurons. These proteins move from one neuron to the next in lysosomal vesicles which travel along the "tunneling nanotubes" between cells. These findings were published in The EMBO Journal on August 22, 2016.

Original article published on the Institut Pasteur website, 22 August 2016. Source

3.7- Sports and Science - a winning shot

At the Faculty of Sports Science of the University of Marseille Luminy, a team of researchers - led by Daniel Mestre (CNRS), responsible for the virtual reality center and Reinoud Bootsma (Université Aix- Marseille) at the Institute of Movement Sciences - Etienne-Jules Marey (ISM - CNRS / Université Aix- Marseille) - has created a virtual reality center. One study deals with the goalkeeper perception of the trajectory of the soccer ball while a free kick.

Original article published on the CNRS website, August 2016. Source


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- France’s Alstom to provide high-speed trains for US Amtrak’s northeastern service

US rail operator Amtrak on Friday awarded a US$2.0 billion (1.8 billion euros) contract to French manufacturer Alstom to supply new high-speed trains for its key Acela service between Washington, New York and Boston. The landmark deal for 28 new passenger trains will boost Amtrak’s speed and capacity along its most heavily used and profitable route, with more than 3.5 million passengers a year, from 2021.

Original article published on the CNRS website, 27 August 2016. Source

##Chomarat invests in new automotive technology

The Ardèche specialist in technical textiles and composite reinforcements, Chomarat, has just acquired a new line of coating and finishing of coated materials for 2.5 million euros on its site of Cheylard (Ardèche). Designed to help the group consolidate its positions in the automotive market , this new equipment will be fully operational early in 2017 .

Original article published on the website, 26 August 2016. Source

4.2- Ticket to Science in the Parisian subway during Rio Olympic Games 2016

During the Olympic Games 2016 held in Rio de Janeiro (5-21 August), the company operating the Parisian subway (RATP, Régie Autonome des Transports de Paris) partnered with the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) to display posters showing surprising research studies on sport in Paris’ subway stations.

Original article published on the CNRS’ website, 12 August 2016. Source

publié le 28/08/2016

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