The IPGP, 100 years of science for the planet
Created in 1921, the Institut de physique du globe de Paris is a major institution for higher education and research, governed by a board of directors, a scientific and education councils. As a component of Université Paris Cité, it supervises with it and with the CNRS, the Université de la Réunion and the IGN, the UMR 7154 IPGP, which brings together all the research activities. The IPGP also supervises with the CNRS the UAR 3454 IPGP, which includes all observation activities. In addition, it is a CNES space laboratory.
The institute brings together around 500 people: researchers recruited from all over the world, engineers, technicians, administrative staff, post-doctoral and doctoral students from all countries sharing the same passion for Earth, planetary and environmental sciences. Numerous cooperation agreements are in place with prestigious foreign institutions, allowing permanent scientific exchanges worldwide.
A world-renowned geoscience institute, IPGP studies the Earth and the planets from the core to the most superficial fluid envelopes, through observation, experimentation and modelling. Special attention is given to long-term observations that are essential for the study of natural systems. The IPGP is in charge of labelled observation services in volcanology, seismology (both terrestrial and spatial), magnetism, gravimetry and erosion. The observatory in Chambon-la-Forêt (metropolitan France) ensures the continuous measurement of the Earth’s magnetic field initiated more than 100 years ago and the IPGP’s permanent observatories monitor the four active French overseas volcanoes in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion Island and Mayotte. In addition, the IPGP equips and maintains, in partnership with the EOST, two global geophysical networks that monitor magnetic field variations (INTERMAGNET network) and global seismic activity (GEOSCOPE network).
The IPGP hosts powerful computing resources, state-of-the-art experimental and analytical facilities and benefits from first-class technical support. Its flexible structure facilitates interaction between the 17 research teams working together on the four main themes of the institute: Interiors of the Earth and Planets, Natural Hazards, Earth System and Origins.
Finally, the IPGP is responsible for several bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral courses, in partnership with Université Paris Cité.
A century-old institute
On July 28, 1921, an “institut de physique du globe” was created by decree within the university of Paris, with the mission "to deal especially with observations and research in terrestrial magnetism, to create a general teaching of globe physics with university sanctions, and to be a center of purely scientific research".
This is largely due to the efforts, at the end of the First World War, of Charles Maurain (1871-1967), who was the first director of the IPGP from 1921 to 1941. He was able to convince of the importance of founding such an institute during the reorganization of the meteorolo- gical services, the physics of the globe being studied since 1882 at the Saint-Maur-des-Fossés observatory, within the Central Meteorological Office. In 1990, the IPGP acquired the status of “grand établissement”, by decree of March 21, then that of “grand établissement composante” of the new Université de Paris on March 20, 2019 (now Université Paris Cité).