May 7, 2010
Seventy-seven years after its very first conference, held at the Université de Montréal in November 1933, the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) has returned to the institution where it was born. HEC Montréal and the École Polytechnique will be joining the Université de Montréal to host the 78th ACFAS Conference, from May 10 to 14.
“The Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal and the École Polytechnique are delighted to welcome the 6,000 researchers and participants in this great scientific event bringing together people from throughout the French-speaking world,” said Laurent J. Lewis, Chair of the Conference organizing committee.
Back in 1933, Brother Marie-Victorin, a founding member of ACFAS and a botany professor with the UdeM Faculty of Science, wrote about the first conference held at the University: “The ACFAS Conference will allow us to draw up an inventory of our modest scientific resources, to salute the advances we have made and see how far we have come.”1 A total of 166 papers were presented in the fields of moral science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, natural sciences and science teaching at that first event. “From these modest beginnings as described by Marie-Victorin, the ACFAS Conference has become the largest multidisciplinary gathering on knowledge and research in the Francophonie,” noted Laurent Lewis, “today drawing thousands of researchers from some thirty countries and all fields of research.”
Two hundred symposia and over 3,600 papers will be devoted to the Conference theme of Discovering today what tomorrow holds. The theme highlights the importance of science, now and in the future, in our choices as a society and our individual and collective actions. The symposium on New perspectives in the science of biodiversity: from studying life to applications is a good example. It will examine the latest developments allowing scientists to better predict the effects of climate change and other environmental issues on trends in biodiversity, to better assess the impact of introducing exotic species on native biodiversity, and the consequences of urbanization and deforestation, and to more precisely assess the socioeconomic value of biodiversity.
Laurent Lewis, who is also a professor with the Department of Physics and Vice-Dean in charge of research with the UdeM Faculty of Arts and Science, emphasizes the important contribution of “hard” sciences to the scientific program. “Life and health sciences, physical sciences, economic sciences, mathematics and engineering will all be important parts of this 78th edition, in particular thanks to the excellent participation by our affiliated schools.”
“It is entirely fitting for the École Polytechnique to be involved in this 78th ACFAS Conference. Our researchers here at the Polytechnique are all devoted to building tomorrow,” says Gilles Savard, Director of Research and Innovation at the École Polytechnique de Montréal. “We are proud to be presenting over 60 speakers at this Conference and to take part in sharing the technological knowledge of the Francophone world.”
“This annual event is an opportunity for our professors to present their research findings to an audience keen to learn more about advanced knowledge and innovation,” says HEC Montréal Director Michel Patry. “It is not only a chance to promote and showcase our expertise in all fields of management, but also to provide fundamental support for tomorrow’s scientists. Quebec society is depending on these scientists to pave the way for its future and to Discover today what tomorrow holds.”
(1) Announcement of the first ACFAS Conference by Brother Marie-Victorin, from the first publication of the Annales de l'ACFAS, vol. 1, 1935 (translation).