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Paris: Science no fiction

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Paris: Science no fiction

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At Pariscience, the scientific film festival in Paris, the Grand Prix Pariscience 2009 – which is the prize for best film – was won by American film “L’instinct de la Musique” (The instinct for Music) directed by Elena Mannes. It documents the latest research into the effects of music on our bodies and our brains.

Around 40 films were in the Festival. Says Jean-Pierre Gibrat, the president of the festival: “The public needs to know what’s happening in science and needs to feel involved in the latest advances. And that’s the strength of this kind of event: the public are not excluded from the world of science, the opposite, they are participating in it, part of it…” “Darwin’s Lost Paradise” directed by Hannes Schuler and Katharina Von Flotow, was also shown. It deals with Darwin’s journey around the world during which he evolved his theory of evolution. Jean Claude Ameisen, doctor and researcher, has spent a large part of his career studying Darwin and says that his theories still form the basis of modern science. He says, “Not only is it a valid theory, but in the past 150 years, biology – be it ecology, virus studies, resistance to antibiotics – in all fields today biology only makes sense within the framework of Darwin’s theory. Increasingly, the idea of evolution and to an extent, the idea of natural selection has revolutionised thinking, even in the study of languages, and in robotics.” Another film shown was “Out From The Shadows” about Irene Joliot-Curie and Frederic Joliot Curie. Their son, Pierre Joliot-Curie, who is also Marie Curie’s grandson, was the centre of attention during the festival. He was there to discuss the problem of the role of scientists whose discoveries lead to dangerous things like atomic bombs. He says: “Scientists have a responsibility, not only to discover things – all new knowledge from my point of view is good – but they have a responsibility to inform people and politicians about the possible implications of their discoveries, including the possible dangers of these discoveries.” Canadian film “The Quantum Tamer” by Chris Mullington was also shown at the festival. For more information see

www.pariscience.fr