dimanche 2 novembre 2014

A lecture in NYC

Live at the French Embassy in NYC :


samedi 18 octobre 2014

some data

Today, a question :

My name is xxxx xxxxxx and I am a student at the xxxxxxx, currently I am participating in an Gastronomy project based on you! 
I have done countless amounts of research and I haven't seen much on the way you have grown up, or much on your family.
 I was hoping that you maybe be able to give me some more information about yourself, such as your parents, siblings and your spouse/children! I would extremely appreciate it! Thank you for you time!

And the answer :

Is this information useful? You remember that the "dust of the world" does not exist... if you are smart enough to avoid it. This means that the simple answer to such questions is useless unless I make it "enlightening" (remember Michael Faraday and his "improvement of the mind" sessions).

1. My parents ?
Let's begin by some relatives. In a very remote village of the Vosges forest, called Badonvillers, there is the house of Charles Messier, the astronomer of the king Louis XIV, the comet chaser, after which the catalogs of stars is named (Mxxx, a code name for stellar objets). He was an ancestor of the father of my mother.
The grand father himself was in charge of all salt mines in the east of France, and a very good mathematician. Indeed, one of his relatives was Delsarte, one of the founders of the Bourbaki group. In this same branch of the family, you find Henri Cartier-Bresson, the photographer.
On the other side, the family is between Alsace (hence the name of the "sauce Kientzheim") and Lorraine, a very remote ancestors being This de Brialmont, who was the cousin of Godefroy de Bouillon, a knight who was even "ruler of Jerusalem" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_of_Bouillon).
The Alsace family is dear to my heart, and I even have bought the family house, which was sold after the war.
Why could all this be interesting ?
- it's interesting that someone from a poor family of a remote countryside could become the astronomer of a king: we should favor state mechanisms favoring such things, isn't it?
- salt is a wonderful product, because if you put it on ice, on winter's road, the melting of water is not due to enthalpy, but rather entropy, and this is a very good way to explain the idea of energy
- the Bourbaki was wonderful because they tried to bring mathematics to the ground, and build them on safe basis; and formalism, let's say mathematics, is the basis of sciences of nature
- nobelty is nothing, if not in your mind !
- Alsace is  the most remarkable land for food! The Alsatian are crazy about it, with excellent wines (more and more), very good food (perhaps because of wines), and all this because of land  diversity, but also because it is  between various cultures ; let's get the best from all of them and turn all this into a particular piece of culture.

Now, my mother is the daughter of my grand father and grand mother (no doubt... for the time being), and she was an artist, who taught later at the Beaux-Arts school of Paris. At the home of my parents, we had dinner with interesting people such as Georges Jeanclos (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Jeanclos), François Cheng and many others.
My father is an incredible man, very hard worker, and one of the "belles personnes" that I know. I defined the "belles personnes" (beautiful people) as individual who can surprise you each time you discuss with them! An obstetrician, he did some hypnosis, but realized that you could only cure the "symptom", and this is why he moved to psychoanalysis. But all his life (he is still alive and active!), he was interested in young infants, before and after the birth. He showed that babies can smile (which was refused by medicine decades ago ; how is such thing possible?), and he developed centers for taking care of pregnant mothers, and young mothers as well (Maisons vertes), and he also created centres for children psychology (Centre Etienne Marcel). He kows much about etymology and myths, as well. I told you, many interests!

2. Siblings?
One brother, one sister.

3. Spouse ?
She's the best! Beautiful, modest, hard working, intelligent !
She is exceptional because she is as well an endocrinologist, an gynaecologist and one of the very top specialists of breast cancer.
Probably much of my activity is the result of the daily life that we are having together for more than 30 years now. In particular, when you can trust the one with which you live, you are safe for work, you can focus on this instead of loosing your time on girls around, in particular.
But the most important thing is that depending on who you speak daily, your interest can be different. With her, I can avoid the "dust of life" and focus on the marvels of the intellectual life !

4. Children?
I am lucky, because my two sons are wonderful guys, very different in their own ways. They are probably much more intelligent than me, and I am eager to live very long, so that I can admire how they develop professionnally. But there are very good hints !

Now, the main issue is: is all this useful ?
It has to be, and we have to put some intelligence in making it useful. How?
In my book "Let's build a meal", I am trying to answer this question, and I hope that I did not do so bad, but here ?
Alsace is fine, not because of food, but because of an optimistic view of life. And there is a rule in my lab: you have to consider that the bottle is half full, this is politeness.
Salt is wonderful, because if you consider salt from Chypra, you will see small hollow pyramids of golden color. This is a "goal": how to make such salt ? Remember that questions are the promises of answers, and also that the way is more interesting than the goal.
Nobility? True nobility is not in the family, or in the blood, but rather in your mind. When I am looking to myself in the mirror, in the morning, the question is always the same: do I do well? On one wall of the lab, it 's written "Mer isch was mer mocht", an Alsatian sentence for "We are what we do".
Cartier-Bresson? He had this wonderful sentence: what is it all about? Yes, let's always ask this question... which was also said by Ferdinand Foch, a general of the French army... and one ancestor as well.
Spouse, children? It's a big issue to have a family life and a professional life... and I  propose to consider that this is the same for vacations/job. I don't want to separate, and I propose that we have only one life, and all is mixed. Then, let's try to do well in all circumstances, so that any second is exceptional.
And this is how the dust of life does not exist, this is why life is wonderful!