Collège de France

The Collège de France, formerly named the Royal College, is a large French teaching and research organization, established by François I in 1530. It is located at Place Marcelin-Berthelot in the 5th arrondissement of Paris (France), in the heart of the Latin Quarter.

The Collège de France is considered to be France’s most prestigious research establishment. The Collège de France is an associate member of the University of Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL University).

As of 2021, 21 Nobel Prize winners and 9 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with the Collège. It does not grant degrees. Each professor is required to give lectures where attendance is free and open to anyone. Professors, about 50 in number, are chosen by the professors themselves, from a variety of disciplines, in both science and the humanities. The motto of the Collège is Docet Omnia, Latin for “It teaches everything”; its goal is to “teach science in the making” and can be best summed up by Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phrase: “Not acquired truths, but the idea of freely-executed research” which is inscribed in golden letters above the main hall.

The Collège has research laboratories and one of the best research libraries of Europe, with sections focusing on history with rare books, humanities, social sciences and also chemistry and physics.

As of June 2009, over 650 audio podcasts of Collège de France lectures are available on iTunes. Some are also available in English and Chinese. Similarly, the Collège de France’s website hosts several videos of classes. The classes are followed by various students, from senior researchers to PhD or master’s students, or even undergraduates. Moreover, the “leçons inaugurales” (first lessons) are important events in Paris intellectual and social life and attract a very large public of curious Parisians.

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