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  A brief history of the IPGP

To understand the history of the IPGP, we have to go back to 1854. When Urbain-Jean-Joseph Le Verrier proved that a storm that devastated a French fleet in the Black Sea came from the West, and thus could have been forecast.

The first French meteorological service was then created within the Paris Observatory. After Le Verrier's death, this service was transformed into a Central Bureau of Meteorology, under the supervision of the Ministry of National Education whose direction was entrusted to Eleuthère Mascart, professor at the Collège de France.

At about the same time, local scientists set up mountain observatories. The first of them being the one at the Puy de Dôme, founded by Emile Alluard, a French physicist who invented a renowned hygrometer.


Saint-Maur Observatory.


Mascart is the father of French Earth physics. His Central Bureau was involved in atmosphere as well as in electricity and magnetism research. For this, he created a wide range of innovative tools and founded the Saint-Maur observatory. Eleuthère Mascart died in 1908.

Alfred Angot, his lab assistant at the Collège de France, succeeded him in 1872.

Marcel Brillouin, Mascart's son-in-law and also a professor at the Collège de France, was also particularly interested in natural phenomena.

Finally, Mascart also introduced Charles Maurain, his lab assistant in 1894, to magnetism powdered iron.


Moving from St Jacques street to Jussieu, and leaving Jussieu.


Before 1968, the IPGP was spread out over different locations: from St Jacques and Gay Lussac streets in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, to St Maur, as well as the French West Indies and the commune of Chambon-la-Forêt.
At the end of the 1960s, the IPGP came together in one location: Jussieu Campus, built between 1964 and 1972 on the old wine market (Halle aux vins) of Paris.
But in 1974, concerns about health risks related to asbestos flocking arose for the first time.

In 1988, the use of asbestos in the manufacture of some products was prohibited and from 1992, it was then banned from its use as protection against fire. Since then, these regulations were followed by a campaign for asbestos removal. To complete this process, and to bring the Jussieu premises up to safety standards, the different teams were required to move temporarily from the campus.

In 1999, the Paris U3M plan (University of the 3rd Millennium, part of the modernization plans of French universities) ordered the transfer of the Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7 to its new campus, located at Paris Rive Gauche in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. As for the IPGP, it was moved to "îlot Cuvier" in the 5th arrondissement.

A part of the IPGP's research team is also located at Paris Rive Gauche, near the STEP department (Earth, planetary and environmental science department) of the Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7.



Translation / revision carried out by the Masters 2 ILTS team