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w 4 | In the News cnrs I international magazine Awards CNRS Partners with NSF w The CNRS has just teamed up with the US National Science Foundation in the PIRE program (Partnership for International Research and Education), intended to support promising high-quality research and education projects that depend on international collaboration. PIRE was created in 2005 to promote greater international commitment within the US science and engineering community. The letter of intent was signed by CNRS president Alain Fuchs and NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett, during the official visit of French President François Hollande to the US last February. Giant Virus Frozen in Time w A 30,000 year-old giant virus has been discovered buried in the Siberian permafrost1 by a Franco-Russian team led by researchers from the IGS.2 Dubbed Pithovirus sibericum, this new virus belongs to the group of giant viruses, which owe their name to the size of their genome and to a diameter (exceeding 0,5 microns) that makes them visible under optical microscopy. These viruses, which infect amoebae, have so far been classified into Megaviridae and Pandoraviridae families. Yet Pithovirus, despite its amphora shape reminiscent of Pandoravirus, has a smaller genome (only about 500 genes) and an entirely different replication mechanism, making it the first member of a new family. Although harmless to humans and animals, Pithovirus, which dates back to the extinction of Neanderthals, suggests that viruses thought to be eradicated, such as smallpox, could re-emerge as a result of global warming or industrial exploitation. The IGS team is now investigating the probability of such a scenario, based on a metagenomic study of the permafrost. 01. M. Legendre et al., PNAS, 2014. doi: 10.1073/ pnas.1320670111. 02. Information génomique et structurale (CNRS / Aix-Marseille Université); Génoscope (CEA / CNRS); Biologie à grande échelle (CEA / INSERM / Université Joseph Fourier); and the Russian Academy of Sciences. w Jean Tirole has been awarded the Nemmers Economics Prize, for “his various contributions to economic theory and its application to finance, industrial organization, and behavioral economics.” Jean Tirole is the chairman of the Foundation Jean-Jacques Laffont/ Toulouse School of Economics and a scientific director at Toulouse University in France. In 2007, he received the CNRS Gold Medal, France’s highest scientific distinction. w François Biraben, from the LKB,1 received the 2014 William F. Meggers Award from the American Optical Society Foundation (OSA) and the 2014 Gentner- Kastler prize jointly awarded by the French and German Physical Societies. Both prizes reward his outstanding achievements in high-resolution atomic spectroscopy and metrology of fundamental constants, which have led to far-reaching tests of quantum electrodynamics. Biraben spent his entire career at the LKB, which he joined in the 1970s. w The European Physical Society (EPS) awarded the 2014 EPS Edison Volta Prize to Jean-Michel Raimond, for “seminal contributions to physics that have paved the way for novel explorations of quantum mechanics and have opened new routes in quantum information processing.” Raimond is a researcher at the LKB and has been a professor at the Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University in Paris since 1988. w Next November, Alexander Dazzi from the LCP2 will receive the 2014 Abbe Award of the New York Microscopical Society for his invention of the AFM-IR technique. This material analysis technology, commercialized by the Anasys Instruments company (US), has a broad range of applications including polymer blends and microbiology. 01. Laboratoire Kastler Brossel (CNRS / UPMC / ENS Paris / Collège de France). 02. Laboratoire de chimie physique (CNRS / Université Paris-Sud). q The Pithovirus sibericum giant virus is 1.5 microns long with a diameter of 0.5 microns. q CNRS President Alain Fuchs with NSF Acting Director Cora Marrett. © J. BARTOLI, C. ABERGEL/IGS/AMU/CNRS Photot hèque © Z. Garcia © C. LEBEDINSKY/CNRS PHOTOTHEQUE DR © J.-F. DARS/ENS DR


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