Keynote speakers

Latsis University Prizes Ceremony

Geochemist, politician

Claude Allègre obtained a doctorate in physical sciences. He then set up an isotope geology research group on the premises of a factory, named the “Louis Barrabé Group” after the incumbent Chair of Structural and Applied Geology at the Paris Faculty of Science, who was his professor. The Louis Barrabé group was soon attached to the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) under the name of the Laboratory of Geochemistry and Chemical Cosmology, before moving to the new Jussieu campus. Claude Allègre was appointed full professor at the University of Paris VII in 1970 and became director of the IPGP.

The work of the team of researchers led by Claude Allègre focused mainly on geochemical issues based on the study of trace elements and isotopes. These contributions have subsequently facilitated our understanding of the Earth’s crust and mantle. Researchers have also developed sophisticated models of a number of geological processes, such as volcanism, the evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere and the formation of protoplanetary nebulae. At the same time, isotopic dating techniques were developed, in particular the samarium-neodymium dating method. This research has earned Claude Allègre some of the top scientific distinctions.

A friend of Lionel Jospin since his teens, he became his special advisor at the Ministry of Education. He was the initiator of the “University 2000” plan, which proposed an in-depth reform of the preparatory classes system for entry into the top-level “Grandes Écoles”. Claude Allègre was appointed Minister of Education, Research and Technology in 1997. A reformer at heart, he met his German, British and Italian counterparts at a conference to call for the creation of a European Higher Education Area. In 1999, he began implementing the reform of the three higher education qualifications – Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degrees – in line with the Bologna process decided by the European Union.

The author of numerous books, he has also worked on television scripts such as “La bataille d’Hernani” and “Galilée ou l’Amour de Dieu”.

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