Tribute from Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne to Cécile DeWitt-Morette

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During an open talk at the University of Texas at Austin, the 2017 Physics Nobel Prize Kip Thorne paid a vivid tribute to the life of his French colleague and friend, Cécile DeWitt-Morette (1922-2017), physicist and mathematician who devoted her life to physics and international cooperation.

By creating in 1951 a conference center in the Alps initially meant for training French students to modern physics, Cécile DeWitt-Morette gave birth to a world-renowned physics institution: since its creation, the École des Houches received around 50 laureates of the Nobel Prize and Fields Medal, Kip Thorne being the latest one, recognized for his work on the detection of gravitational waves. Before a crowded audience, among whom were relatives of Cécile DeWitt-Morette, Kip Thorne explained how unique the École des Houches was, allowing him to discuss his project of gravitational wave detection with the best physicists of the world. With outstanding pedagogical skills, Kip Thorne told the scientific as well as the human story behind one of the most important discoveries of the century, in which Cécile DeWitt-Morette was a central character. Today, Cécile DeWitt-Morette is a symbol of the cooperation between France and UT Austin through the Dr Cécile DeWitt-Morette joint excellence fund established with the support of the Office for Science and Technology to fund bilateral initiatives.

The Office for Science & Technology of the Consulate general in Houston acknowledges Chris DeWitt for her valuable collaboration.

Authors: Alain Mermet, Scientific Attaché for the Consulate General in Houston; Laurent Pelliser, Deputy Scientific Attache