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TRACES / Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles de Gennes

The Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (ESPGG) was created in 1994, as the public venue of the prestigious Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris. It was a dream and a realization of the 1991 Physics Nobel prize Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, and it took its name after his death in 2007. The ESPGG is situated between a street of the culture district of Paris – the quartier latin – and a highly renowned research institution – ESPCI, home of 5 Nobel prizes, from Marie Curie to Georges Charpak, belonging to the city of Paris. This location defines the spirit of the ESPGG: a culture center devoted to science and its public communication, with its feet in a research centre and its eyes and ears capturing the pulse of the ville lumière and its citizens. Or, equivalently, with its feet in a lively city and and its eyes and ears capturing the pulse of contemporary scientific research. ESPGG offer is varied: - Les coulisses du labo: a series of hands on exhibits on cutting edge research performed at the ESPCI - L’aventure du labo: weekly meetings of the public with scientists, around an experiment, and interactive exhibit, etc. - Temporary exhibitions on science, history of science, science and culture. - Conferences experimentales: a long running series of events including artistic performances, experimental demonstrations, and dialogues between scientists and the public - Conferences literasciences: a series of events staging a dialogue between researchers and classic and contemporary literary works gravitating around their disciplines. - Science à l’école: an action research program on science education for primary and secondary schools - Village Curie: a plan for making the latin quarter a city of science

Since January 2011 the ESPGG is run by the Traces association. Traces is a think-and-do tank on science, its communication, and its relationship with society. Traces actions revolve around three main axes : 1. Interdisciplinary reflection on science and its social impacts, crossing science communication practices with the approaches of cognitive sciences, sociology, history, pedagogy, and philosophy. 2. Training in science communication and education, directed to scientists, science communication students, teachers, animators, etc. 3. Consulting for research institutions, science centres and museums, companies, local authorities

In continuity with the previous ESPGG activities, the new program proposed by Traces will strengthen 4 dimensions: - Making ESPGG a reference culture centre for science in the Parisian area; - Developing activities targeting the public professionally concerned by science communication and science in society issues (including scientists, teachers, journalists, explainers, but also artists, writers, directors, etc. interested in science as a cultural object). These activities include in particular training courses, master classes, and interdisciplinary dialogues; - Strengthening the cultural and art-science approach of the temporary exhibitions; - Focusing on the public of teen-agers and young adults, through participation oriented actions.

Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards

Winner - ‘Smart and Simple’ category

TRACES – Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles De Gennes, Paris (France) won for the Frugal Science exhibition, a smart, cost-effective project that proposes a new take on both exhibition making and tinkering.