Blowing the Dust Off the French Academy

Science  23 Apr 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5414, pp. 580-581
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5414.580

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PARIS-- The French Academy of Sciences, France's premier scientific society, has lost much of its influence in French society, having only produced five reports on scientific questions in 1998. Many French scientists argue that the academy--which was founded in 1666 during the reign of Louis XIV--has for too long been an elite club, a relic of science past rather than a living body of science present and future. Reformers want to expand the membership rapidly, but the proposal may split the academy's ranks.