A Synthesis: Where does Science go?

Presentation by Edouard Brézin
Académie des Sciences, France

In spite of the specialization often required when  working on a given topic, the possibility of understanding the main issues accross fields is still open, as exemplified  in the classic "Consilience" by Edward Wilson, an essay on the unity of knowledge. The last century has seen a large influence of the physics way of approaching  the living state, starting with Schrödinger, Delbrück, Crick and many others. In return now the post-genomic era of biology is driving many physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists into  biology, or rather into an area in which many of the researchers do not feel the need to define themselves in terms of a traditional discipline.  The cross fertilization of physics and mathematics has rarely been as strong as  nowadays.  We shall make a modest attempt to see through the main present trends.

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Speaker’s profile
Professor of Physics, Ecole Normale Supérieure. At present President of Académie des Sciences. (Foreign Member NAS & Royal Society). Main field : statistical physics and phase transitions.
From 1992-2000 (non executive) president of CNRS.