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The “Collège de France” was founded in the sixteenth century by the king Francis I. At that time, its role was to ensure the teaching of ancient languages (Greek, Hebrew, Syriac) which the Sorbonne refused to provide because of the possible pagan, Judaic or heretic content.

The “Collège de France” is attached to the Prime Minister office and is organized in Chairs whose holders are leading scientists ; the title of a Chair is not predetermined, it depends on the person who occupies it. For a long time a Chair was assigned merely to its holder. Nowadays, each Chair is in fact a small research laboratory. The Collège has currently four Chairs in mathematics that play a role which is disproportionate to their size. The “Collège de France” must be distinguished from the French National Center for Scientific Research, and other public scientific and technological institutions (INSERM, INRA…).

While, similarly to the latter, its work is dedicated to fundamental research, it also has an obligation to disseminate the results of this research within a specific teaching framework. Teachers are in fact obliged to teach only current research.

The “Collège de France” is neither a university nor a “grande école”. It does not transmit knowledge to students following pre-established teaching programs. It does not award degrees.

“Collège de France” website