Scientific Program of the Ambassador’s Visit to Los Angeles

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During the course of his visit to Los Angeles, the French Ambassador to the United States, Gérard Araud, met with many of the movers and shakers of the LA science scene.

On Tuesday, April 20, the ambassador gave a talk entitled « La politique française dans un monde instable » (“French Politics in an Unstable World”) at the University of Southern California (USC). Several of the scientists that attended the event enjoyed the opportunity to exchange thoughts with the ambassador. In attendance, was Kelvin Davies, who is not only the Dean of USC’s Davis School of Gerontology and a holder of the title “chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite,” [1] but is also a global leader in the world of biological research on free radicals and on oxidative stress.

From left to right: Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Kelvin Davis et Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States

The next day, the Ambassador, accompanied by the Consul General of France in Los Angeles, Christophe Lemoine, spent their midmorning getting to know the world of science and engineering. They learned about the innovative activities of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (Galcit) and the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships (OTTCP) with the help of Frederic Farina, Chief Innovation and Corporate Partnerships Officer, Professor Ravichandran, Chair of the Department of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor Gharib, Director of Galcit.

Afterwards, they had the opportunity to discuss the double Master program that has been put in place between Caltech and the Ecole Polytechnique, the two top engineering schools in the US and France respectively. They also spoke with the Polytechnique students who are currently on exchange at Caltech thanks to this program.

In the afternoon, the ambassador visited the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to meet with Charles Elachi and Larry James, director and deputy director of respectively. The three reviewed the collaborative projects that are currently being undertaken by JPL and CNES. Mr. Araud also congratulated his hosts on their recent success in launching Jason-3 [2] and their continual collaborative Mars missions with CNES.

Charles Elachi, Director of JPL with Gérard Araud

The afternoon was wrapped up with a celebration of the innovative spirit of the Southern Californian tech startup hub with the launch of La French Tech Los Angeles. In the speech he delivered to the local Tech community that congregated at the Résidence de France for this occasion, the ambassador expressed how pleased he was with the entrepreneurial dynamism that is nearly palpable in the Greater Los Angeles Area.