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cnrs I international w 6 Spotlight | Live from the Labs magazine General public Marseille-Provence has been named European Capital of Culture for 2013. CNRS is participating in a series of events designed to highlight a broad range of scientific disciplines. Marseille European Capital of Culture for 2013 BY colette tron On January 12, the southern French city of Marseille and part of the surrounding Provence region officially became the 2013 European Capital of Culture. Each year, the European Commission selects two candidate cities on the basis of large-scale cultural projects aimed at the general public. Sharing the honor with the Slovakian town of Košice, the Marseille-Provence project won for the regional scope of its proposal, an original concept that encompasses the surrounding Bouches-du-Rhône area. The program will reflect the wide variety of activities and landscapes of a region imbued with a distinctively Mediterranean diversity of cultures and know-how. More than 800 projects target the general public, 60 of which are dedicated to science, many of them involving CNRS. “Although a late addition to the proposal, scientific culture will be showcased in many different ways throughout the year,” explains Anne Valat, project manager in charge of scientific cultural events for the association Marseille-Provence 2013 (MP2013). The program includes exhibitions, conferences, films, panel discussions, audiovisual presentations, walking tours, experiments, and even work displays combining art and science. It covers a broad range of disciplines, from space science to ecology, physics, neuroscience, and of course the humanities, especially history and archeology. Across Time and Spa ce Two important exhibitions involving CNRS marked the start of the scientific festivities in Marseille. “Le trésor des Marseillais” (The treasure of Marseille) was a 3D reconstruction of a treasury dedicated to the goddess Athena and built 2500 years ago by the  Massalians  (the ancient Greek settlers of Marseille) to house their most precious valuables. Its 29 fragments, conserved in Delphi and listed as a “national treasure” in Greece, were being displayed outside the country for the very first time. The exhibition, which lasted until mid-April, was headed by Michel Florenzano and Livio de Luca of the MAP laboratory.1 For another exhibition, “La fabrique des possibles” (The factory of possibilities), artist Bettina Samson displays works based on images captured by space missions, with the backing of the LAM2 and the collaborative assistance of astrophysicist Frédéric Zamkotsian. Also from the LAM, Michel Marcelin is involved in an exhibition entitled “The Colors of the Universe.”3 On display in the amazing natural surroundings of Mount Sainte- Victoire, north of Marseille, the exhibit recreates, through animation, films, and interactive tools, the colorful history of our universe. And Beyo nd A number of other events are scheduled throughout the year. One of the flagship projects is “Prôtis,” an archeological experiment to build and sail a replica of a Massalian ship. Proposed by Patrice Massal ians. A term designating the ancient people of Marseille, derived from Massalia, the ancient Greek name for the city. 01 02 © MAP 01 This 2500-year-old warrior’s head was one of the precious artifacts on display at the program’s inaugural exhibition, “Le trésor des Marseillais.”


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