Scientific Watch N°9 - From 08/14/2015 to 08/28/2015

Please find every other two weeks a small Scientific Watch regarding cultural and scientific activities in France. [2015-N°09 from 08/14/2015 to 08/28/2015]

From 08/14/2015 to 08/28/2015

Editors :

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- Inauguration of SEM- REV, a test site for offshore marine renewable energies.

SEM-REV is the first offshore test site for marine renewable energies (EMR ) in the world, connected to the energy grid, with all the prior administrative authorizations. Operated jointly by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the engineer school “Centrale Nantes”, SEM-REV has various equipment by land and sea used for the development of prototypes. SEM-REV will be officially opened on 25 August 2015 at 3:30pm in Le Croisic (Loire Atlantique, France).

Published on the CNRS website on August 21st 2015 Source

1.2- Aphids subvert plant immune responses

The French National Institute for Agricultural Research (Inra) and CNRS have just discovered that aphids are able to successfully feed on plants since they have a way of inhibiting plant immune defences. Aphids exploit one of their own immune system proteins to attack and suppress their hosts’ immune responses.

Published on the Inra website on June 26th, 2015, updated on August 21st, 2015 Source

1.3- The French Constitutional Council validates the law on energy transition

On Thursday, 13th August, the French Constitutional Council validated the law "energy transition to green growth”, which sets targets to reduce the part of nuclear in electricity production (from 75% to 50% by 2025) and consumption of fossil fuels. Only three articles of the law were blocked, including the measure concerning food waste which provided that supermarkets would no longer have the right to throw out food.

Published on the website of Le Monde, August 13th, 2015 Source

1.4- POC 21, an innovation camp to prototype the fossil free, zero waste society.

From August 15th to September 20th, 2015, more than 100 makers, designers, engineers, scientists will gather for five immersive weeks in Château de Millemont in Paris. Their mission will be to invent, using open source, 12 products and solutions for climate and ecological transition.

More information here

1.5- French Schools will host the third Eco-Campus symposium

Taking advantage of the opportunity of holding the COP21 in France in December 2015, a third Eco-campus symposium will be held from October 14 to 16, 2015 in Paris by Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, ESSEC Business School and the UNESCO.

More information here
Please register on this website


2- Health & Society

2.1- Food intake, a fragile balance between neural pathways

A team at the “Laboratoire de Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative” (CNRS/University Paris Diderot) investigated the role of energy needs and "pleasure" in food intake. The researchers studied a group of neurons in mice. They observed that when the neuron activity is compromised, feeding behaviour becomes less related to the body’s metabolic needs and more dependent on food palatability. These results could explain how easier access to appetizing foods may contribute to compulsive eating disorders and may favour obesity.

Published on the CNRS website on August 20th, 2015. Source

2.2- Nanoparticles to create faster drugs

“A team from the Commission for Atomic Energy and Renewable Energy (CEA), in collaboration with research institutes of the University of Toulouse (CNRS / INSA Toulouse / University Toulouse III) has developed a new method of chemical tagging using "CH activation". This method could accelerate the development of new drugs to monitor the activity of the candidate molecule in humans or animals. Applicable to other fields of chemistry, the discovery of the French team goes beyond medicine.

Published on the Futura Science website on August 20th, 2015. source

CNRS website
Publication : Enantiospecific C‒H Activation using Ruthenium Nanocatalysts ; C. Taglang, L.M. Martínez-Prieto, I. del Rosal, L. Maron, R. Poteau, K. Philippot, B. Chaudret, S. Perato, A.S. Lone, C. Puente, C. Dugave, B. Rousseau, G. Pieters ; Angewandte Chemie ; 13 août 2015.

2.3- A new generation of food packaging

Food packaging leads sometimes to consumer mistrust, despite their undisputed value. A research project, led by Inra (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) and the French company “SafeFoodPack Design”, has developed a platform to control the risk for substances of the packaging materials to migrate into the food.

Published on the Inra website on August 17th, 2015. Source

2.4- A world premiere: a kidney transplantation by a robot using a the vagina route in Toulouse

This is the first time ever that a surgery performed by a robot uses the vaginal route to both collect and transplant a kidney. The surgery took place on 9 July 2015 at Toulouse University Hospital. The alive donor was the sister of the recipient. They are both doing well.

Published on the Futura Science website on August 21st, 2015. Source

Article published on the website of Le Monde, August 20th, 2015. Source

2.5- Symposium: “The Expanding Toolbox of Medicinal Chemistry: from Chemical Biology to Clinical Applications”

This symposium, jointly organized by the “Société de Chimie Thérapeutique” (SCT) and the Division of Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology (DMCCB) of the Swiss Chemical Society, will discuss significant advances that are part of the expanding scope of Medicinal Chemistry. It will take place in Dijon, France on October 16, 2015.

Find out more and register on the regularly updated web site


3- Research and Education

3.1- Plastic behaviour of metals: titanium and zirconium are false brothers

While titanium and zirconium share much in common, researchers from the CEA, CNRS and the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 have demonstrated that the plastic deformation of both metals are different despite it is commonly accepted that they should respond similarly to mechanical stress. By coupling microscopy experimentation and modelling researchers have discovered two different dislocation movements in these materials. Their goal is now to study different innovative alloys to evaluate the characteristics. These results were published in the journal Nature Materials August 20, 2015.

Published on the CNRS website on August 20th, 2015. : - Source

3.2- French child gets a 50 euro-3D printed hand

A six-year-old boy became, last Monday, the first person in France to receive an ultra-low-cost prosthetic limb, the result of an open source 3D printing revolution currently transforming the prosthetics industry. Maxence, from the Isère region in south-eastern France, was born without a right hand. On Monday 26th, he was fitted with a prosthetic hand, made from a 3D printer, costing less than 50 euros to produce.

Published on the France 21 website on August 18th, 2015. : - Source

3.3- First experimental evidence of the rotation of the pearl during its formation

Published in the journal Royal Society Open Science on the 15th of July, a study leaded by Ifremer, in collaboration with several partners, including the Vega Industy and the University of French Polynesia, showed that pearls are animated by a rotational movement during their production in oyster tissues. Scientists were able to prove it using a magnetometer.

Published on the IFREMER website on August 18, 2015. : - Source

3.4- YouTube Channel IHÉS

Since 2013, IHÉS published all its conferences, courses and public events on its Youtube channel. This important digital video contains scientific data freely from everywhere in the world.

Launched more than two years ago IHÉS’s YouTube channel has more than 1800 subscribers and approximately 218,000 views! Please join us !

Site IHES website

3.5- Precision measurement of the mass difference between light nuclei and anti-nuclei

The ALICE experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN has made a precise measurement of the difference between ratios of the mass and electric charge of light nuclei and antinuclei. The result, published today in Nature Physics confirms a fundamental symmetry of nature to an unprecedented precision for light nuclei. The measurements are based on the ALICE experiment’s abilities to track and identify particles produced in high-energy heavy-ion collisions at the LHC.

Article published on Nature Physics website on 17 August 2015 : - Source

Article published on CERN website on 17 August 2015 : - Source

3.6- Automatic and accurate characterization of anisotropic textures of digital images

Marseille Institute of Mathematics offers a method - based on quadratic variations - that allows the automatic computation of anisotropic texture features and describes the local fluctuations of the texture regularity within digital images. This new technic could be used in medical imaging (breast cancer risk evaluation with mammograms, radiographic texture analysis, MRI texture classification…), graphic design, meteorology, geosciences, material sciences etc…
More about this new method here


4- Technology & Transport

4.1- Autonomous cars on French roads soon

The French car manufacturers will soon be able to test autonomous vehicles on open roads. The French government plans to make the necessary adjustments to the regulation to allow the circulation of cars, trucks and other autonomous transport.

Published on the Futura Science website on August 22, 2015. : - Source

4.2- Preparation for traveling to Mars

The French astrobiologist, Dr Cyprien Verseux, is going to live isolated from the world for one year, in a 11 meters dome in Hawaii, with five other people. The goal? To prepare an interplanetary travel, including the next mission to Mars.

Published on the “La Recherche” website on August 18, 2015. : - Source

publié le 28/08/2015

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