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As of the early 2000's, Internet has opened paths to a new form of collective intelligence, human or humanoid computing. Be reassured, reader, this is not a way to turn your brain into a computer. What it does is coordinate thousands of connected people together to assemble a computer power that exceeds, for certain complex problems, what is already available today via supercomputers. The specialty biochemistry was first on the track, and now we see financial affairs joining in. So, let's see what happens when amateurs take over a market trading room.

Rapid advances in neurosciences have led to some decisive progress in fields as varied as education, or treatment of psychiatric disorders. But it is a specialty where debate rages as the ambitions expand overtly.

Cyclotron vs. cancer: cyclotron wins, and an industry is born

Science and Technology February 17th, 2014, Adrien Reymond / Managing director for France, PETNET Solutions

Significant tech breakthroughs, a growing number of applications, mature industrial processes: in recent years many factors have boosted the development of nuclear medicine. Not so long ago, it was a matter of R&D. Now it's an industry. One of its most interesting business lines is the production of FDG, the most widely used radioactive tracer in nuclear medical imaging.

Energy and climate: what do we know? And what whall we expect?

Science and Technology January 20th, 2014, Valérie Masson-Delmotte / Palaeo-climatologist, senior scientist, French Atomic Energy Agency (CEA), Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Science (LSCE)

Burning of fossil fuels constitutes the main source today of greenhouse gases. It is also the principal vector of anthropic action on the climate. But the relationship between energy and climate is far more complex that it seems initially. Scientific knowledge is advancing constantly and what is now noteworthy is that the players, whether they are private individuals, national and local authorities or business companies are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Where does science stand today and how can we use the available knowledge?

Various technologies are now vying to develop an augmented human being. Step-by-step, they would gradually modify the basic data registers of life, such as intelligence, procreation, ageing. Techno-prophets, not all crazed illuminati, entertain the dream of the advent of New Mankind. Major (and some minor) ethical questions arise as we explore a phenomenon that is no longer restrained within the wraps of sci-fi.

The spectacular optical properties of nanoparticles are revolutionizing medical imaging. They also help to renew therapeutic techniques. On the occasion of the inauguration of the AXA-ESPCI Chair, Emmanuel Fort, professor at the Langevin Institute of ESPCI ParisTech, presented the latest advances in a promising field where two roads meet.

Advances in neuroscience have shed a new light on our understanding of classic issues about learning. How does it work? Is it different for adults and children? During a recent lecture, Stanislas Dehaene, a neuroscience researcher, gave an overview of recent discoveries in this field. A revolution in the making.

Medical imaging: when disruption comes from merging technologies

Science and Technology October 23rd, 2013, Serge Ripart & Ludovic Le Meunier / Head of MRI Marketing, Siemens France & Business Unit Manager, Molecular Imaging, Siemens Healthcare

With 3-D medical imaging rapidly coming on line, a silent revolution is under way in our hospitals and research establishments. Practitioner's techniques are constantly improving and gaining ground, but there are limits. New strides forward will come from combinatory techologies, for example, by marrying PET-Scan and MRI.

Ecologically speaking, coal is the worst energy source around. But it nonetheless possesses some almost irresistible features. It is still abundant, easy and cheap to mine. Promising technologies could allow cleaner, healthier ways to burn it. Let's have a look.

Ever since the electronic properties of silicon were discovered in the United States in the late 30s, it has been a well-known fact: a new material can change the world. Perhaps because it weighs less, is sturdier, provides better thermal and acoustic performance, lasts longer, or makes production and assembly easier. Every now and then, the scientific community announces a new miracle material successor to silicon and the 2010s already rustle with announcements about a very serious candidate: graphene, a two-dimensional crystal consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, which is credited with exceptional potential.

The future of financial mathematics

Science and Technology September 6th, 2013, Nicole El Karoui / Professor of Applied Mathematics, Pierre et Marie Curie University (Paris VI), Research Director, Center for Applied Mathematics, Ecole Polytechnique

How do financial mathematics specialists imagine the markets in five to ten years? What exactly will their role look like? To understand these issues, we need to take a closer look at the way this field has developed and at the issues that have shaped the discipline.

The venture investor and former Facebook executive examines technologies he thinks will improve the quality of life and economic output, and explains why most executives undervalue technical proficiency.

A Brief History of Robots

Science and Technology July 18th, 2013, Franck Latxague / Engineer, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Humanoides.fr

As well as androids they are our self-guided vacuum-cleaners, our GPS, an automated line on the Paris metro linking two of the city's main underground stations, Internet search engines… From mechanized figurines to the first robot arm, a brief journey through a history 3000 years in the making.

Microfluidics is the science of how we analyse and handle fluids at a micrometric level. MIT's Technology Review regularly cites this technology as being one that could change the world. Why?

Cancer diagnosis and treatments today are undergoing deep-reaching changes. Therapeutic strategies, until recently, could be summarised as ablation of the diseased organs and destruction of cancerous cells, often leading to serious unwanted effects that weaken the patient or limit the efficiency of the cancer treatment. But innovative approaches are emerging. They target cell functions and its close environment.

Solar photovoltaic energy: today’s crisis and tomorrow’s technologies

Science and Technology April 19th, 2013, Didier Roux / Member of the French Academy of Sciences, of the French Academy of Technologies, Director of Research & Innovation, Saint-Gobain Group

Could solar power provide some of the needed energy of the future? The much improved availability of natural gas and the crisis that the photovoltaic industrial sector has been experiencing since 2011 serve to make us cautious, viz., not to be over-optimistic. On one hand, we can witness the strategic policies chosen by China and, on the other, the expected advent of new PV cells, could together change the scene. Consequently, we must carefully examine and assess the economics, their dynamics and the supporting technologies.

Big Data marked a break in the evolution of information systems from three points of view: the explosion of available data, the increasing variety of these data and their constant renewal. Processing these data demands more than just computing power. It requires a complete break from Cartesian logic. It calls for the non-scientific part of human thought: inductive reasoning.

Could thorium and molten salts represent the future of nuclear power?

Science and Technology March 12th, 2013, Daniel Heuer / Senior Researcher, Laboratoire de physique subatomique et de cosmologie (Grenoble, France)

Generation IV reactors raise many hopes and expectations, in terms of optimised use of resources, reduced wastes, better safety factors. They are still on the drawing-board today, but may replace, somewhere in the future, Generation III reactors (the EPRs) considered as more efficient than today’s PWRs (pressurised water). Physicist Dr Daniel Heuer is currently studying one of the 6 concepts pre-selected in 2008 by the yearly Generation IV International Forum (that set the priority orientations), viz., the concept of molten salt reactors (MSRs) associated with the thorium cycle. What exactly are the advantages of this new technology? Will MSRs earn their place in nuclear power production?

A brief history of financial uncertainty

Science and Technology December 27th, 2012, Eric Brian / Senior Professor, Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris)

Concern is on the rise regarding financial uncertainty, its form and its nature. Is it merely exacerbated during a temporary crisis? Or, with the most unexpected phenomena always possible, is any attempt at forecasting doomed to be vain? It turns out both commonplace statements are missing the point: financial uncertainty is permanent, malleable, and resistant - it is by no means an abstraction that could be dismissed through means of calculation. Far from being constant, its structure varies throughout history: it depends on the given institutional frameworks that allow the flow and recording of economic information.

Rhetoric in Economics

Science and Technology December 3rd, 2012, Itzhak Gilboa / Professor of Economics & Decision Sciences at HEC Paris (AXA Chair for Decision Sciences)

Students, as well as the public, often raise questions about the scientific nature of economics. Indeed, while economics uses very sophisticated mathematical models, their predictive success leaves much to be desired. Yet, economists feel that they learn a lot from these models. It is argued that part of economic theorizing does not follow the Popperian view of science; rather, some of the knowledge that is generated is analogical. According to this view, research in economics attempts to serve rhetorical purposes. As such, analogies can be useful, alongside general rules. Moreover, the role of axiomatic decision theory is understood as serving to clarify arguments in the context of public debates.

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