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N°29 I quarterly I APRIL 2013 Contents | 3 Editorial By Jacques Maddaluno, Deputy Scientific Di rector at CNRS ’s Institute of Chemi stry Nature is a chemist’s model. It functions essentially at ambient temperature, using a single solvent (water), and a handful of chemical elements—all available in great quantities. It recycles everything that it produces, circulating massive amounts of matter while expending relatively little energy. The result of 4.5 billion years of evolution, nature’s subtle, complex processes are a constant source of inspiration. Nonetheless, bio-inspired chemistry does more than simply try to imitate the living world. In actual fact, if evolution has succeeded in balancing the planet’s myriad interactions, alternative solutions must exist. Combining what biology has taught us about living systems with knowledge gained from chemistry makes it possible to develop everything from molecules to processes, thus encouraging creativity and innovation. Drawing from this endless source of inspiration could help us find novel solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges, including the environment, energy sustainability, or even the economy. Catalysts derived from microalgae, self-assembly processes, and smart hybrid materials are among these solutions. Indeed, nature’s most exemplary contribution to research is in the materials sciences, whether for applications in industry or use in the laboratories. To learn as much as possible from a natural system considered as a unified whole, multiple approaches are necessary from the individual angles of chemistry, biology, ecology, physics, and a host of other fields. As a pluridisciplinary organization, CNRS fully contributes to this approach. Recent progress in biotechnology and the emergence of new scientific fields like synthetic biology are proof that the living laboratory of nature still has much to share. 4 I 5 In the News Planck’s latest results, CNRS awards its Medals of Innovation, First European FET flagships, and the Vetlesen Prize. 17 Innovation Nano-components could soon be mass produced, and new visual recognition software that targets videos. 18 I 19 Profile Chemist Gero Decher at the cutting edge of multilayer research. 28 I 30 In Images The role of terrestrial dynamics on the Vanuatu archipelago. 32 I 37 CNRS Networks The largest telescope in the world opens its eyes, a WIDE-Lab for microelectronics research, ongoing collaborations, and book reviews. 38 CNRS Facts and Figures Latest data on the largest fundamental scientific institution in Europe. 39 Snapshot Olfactory memory in the making. DR 6 I 16 Live from the Labs Marseille in the spotlight, Sustainable crop production, Neurons and energy, Measuring the cosmic fog, New microbicide against HIV, The first single-molecule motor, All eyes on graphene, and Mediterranean storm chasers. These pictograms indicate extra content (pictures or videos) that can be accessed on the online version of the magazine. > www.cnrs.fr/cnrsmagazine © G. Rapenne et G. Vives , CEMES, CNRS/UPS 31 Insights Europe’s new guidelines to assess insectide toxicity to bees. © P. Psa ïla /Dou ble Vue .fr 20 I 27 Focus Nature as a Model 21 I A New Breed of Robots 23 I Life-Inspired Chemistry 25 I From Inspiration to Application © c. zannetaci /mus ée du quai branl y To receive the online version of CNRS International Magazine in your inbox, email us at: cnrs-magazine@cnrs-dir.fr


CIM29
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