Does French research system risk to end up like in Italy?

The Scientific Council of CNRS (Comitè National de la Recherche Scientifique) has raised alert toward the political power and the civil society in France in regard to the risks that the research system is running as a consequence of poor availability of human and financial resources. This appeal/alarm is supported by two publications.

Pencils, ships and Nobel prizes

What can be simpler than a pencil? What dark secrets are hidden in the traces it leaves behind? Why should we begin to start studying graphite, which is the heart of the pencil? Why should scientists studying the physics of matter waste their time on something so common and ordinary? And yet physics is becoming increasingly interested in pencils. There are those who are using graphite and adhesive tape to try to find new material and those who are trying to understand how to use a pencil to get something that might end up in the display screen of a smart phone.