French Academy of Sciences

The Paris Académie des Sciences de l'Institut de France, traditionally just called the Académie des sciences, is one of the five academies, which were merged to form the Institute of France. It brings together French and foreign scientists - in both cases, particularly outstanding representatives of their trade. Today, it is often cited as the Paris Academy of Sciences.


The Academy of Sciences, was created the plan Jean -Baptiste Colbert, to provide a device which only seeks to research. She found her membership in various scientific circles, gathered around a patron or a learned person in the 17th century. Colbert selected a small group that gathered on 22 December 1666 the King Library, which had been recently established in the Rue Vivienne and met there from now on, every two weeks to work sessions. The first 30 years of existence of the Academy were relatively informal, since the new Institute had not been a statute.

On January 20, 1699 King Louis XIV gave the company its first regulations. The Academy was awarded the title of Royal Academy and was located in the Louvre. Consisting of 70 members, it was in the 18th century in their publications to the development of knowledge and also played a political role with their proximity to power. Among the major works belonged example, Geodesy, for which the Academy in the years 1735-1740 two major expeditions to Peru and Lapland fitting out.

On August 8, 1793, all colleges have been banned by the National Convention.

Two years later, on August 22, 1795 a national science institute was set up, composed of the old literary natural and social scientific academies. The first class of the Institute (Physics and Mathematics ) was with her 66 of 144 members the largest.

1805, the Academy was housed in the former Collège des quatre nations. In 1816 received the Academy of Sciences back their autonomy when it joined the Institut de France. Patron of the Academy is the head of state.

1835 Conference Proceedings of the Academy have been created ( Comptes rendus de l' Académie des sciences ), which were a prime means to disseminate scientific work in France and abroad under the influence of François Arago.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Academy experienced a decline in activity and influence. Given the accelerated development of scientific research in France had the Academy to obtain their reputation, reform their structures and functions. The first step of this reform was (Journal Officiel n ° 104 du 4 mai 2002 ) carried out with the decree of 2 May 2002, which allowed the election of 26 new members. The second step was the decree of 31 January 2003 ( Official Gazette n ° 28 du 2 février 2003).

Female members were only about three centuries after the founding, in 1962 admitted ( as full members until 1979 ). Thus, Marie Curie and Irène Joliot- Curie, despite their Nobel Prizes, rejected by the Academy.

The archives of the Académie des sciences

The Académie des sciences always had the task of preserving her memory. But it was not until the 1880s until the collections constituted - and reconstituted for the past - were, to which the Academy is proud today.

  • Minutes of the meetings, the oldest dating from 1666
  • Numerous papers, reports, letters, manuscripts of all kinds, presented during the sessions and collected in dossiers ( Small Leather Goods Clutches of séances ), in chronological order
  • Include biographical dossiers on all the scientists who ever belonged to the Academy, and the hand-written and iconographic documents
  • Dossiers on prices; the need for the award ceremony was the first time in 1720 and was subsequently by numerous donations always acutely
  • Sealed deposits that date back to the 18th century and the authors guarantee their rights to discoveries made
  • Papers of the committees and commissions that called the Academy launched to study scientific questions or to secure administrative responsibilities
  • An important pool of personal archives; the most notable of these archives is that of Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier, whose papers constitute a valuable source of information for historians regarding the history of chemistry but also the politics and economics of the 18th century; other archives are those of Pierre -Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, René- Antoine de Reaumur Ferchault, André -Marie Ampère, Gilles Personne de Roberval and Jean -Baptiste Dumas, beyond the contemporary scientists such as Pierre Duhem, Louis -Victor de Broglie, Élie Cartan, Henry Le Chatelier, Émile Borel, André Weil and Louis Néel
  • The archives of the Academy also contain printed sources, the various collections of the Académie royale des sciences, the collection of reports of the Academy from 1835, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, as well as an important collection of portraits, busts, medals and medallions, often signed by great artists.