Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)


a leading French scientific institution, under the Ministry of National Education. It was founded in 1939 by the physicist J. Perrin. Its aim is to promote and coordinate scientific research, mainly in areas of fundamental importance. The center is headed by a general director (since 1973, B. P. Gregory) and a board of directors for the various scientific fields.

The central apparatus of the CNRS is the National Committee for Scientific Research, which consists of 36 divisions and has a membership of more than 750 scientists. The divisions’ proposals for the organization and financing of scientific projects are reviewed by a 33-member directorate. The budget of the CNRS for 1973 was more than 1.5 billion francs. In 1972 the center employed more than 17, 000 people, of whom 6, 300 were scientists. The CNRS supervises two institutes (the National Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics in Meudon and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and the Physics of Elementary Particles in Paris), as well as about 200 laboratories. Centers for interdisciplinary work have been established in Bellevue (high-pressure physics, solid-state physics, radio chemistry, electrolysis, and magnetism), Gif-sur-Yvette (biochemistry and microbiology), Marseille (physics, biochemistry, and neurophysiology), Font-Romeu-Odeillo (solar energy), Orléans (mineral chemistry, high-temperature physics, and molecular biophysics), Strasbourg (biology, nuclear physics, and spectroscopy), and Vitry Thiais (physical chemistry, applied organic chemistry, and metallurgical chemistry). Centers for the humanities are located in the Paris area. The CNRS maintains scientific ties with many countries. In 1969 the CNRS and the Academy of Sciences of the USSR signed an open-ended agreement on scientific cooperation under which such activities as bilateral symposiums and a scientist-exchange program are conducted annually.

The CNRS publishes more than 20 scientific journals. Its documentation center produces 18 journals of abstracts in the natural and technical sciences and six in the humanities.


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