l’académie des sciences

by jemma margaret

Yesterday was whirlwind, which could explain why I did not post last night except the real reason is that we watched The Usual Suspects, and my eyes were tired.

I began the morning by hustling over to the Académie des Sciences. There I received a badge and some sort of instructional pamphlet that may be a picture book for 10-year-olds (it’s part of the “citizen collection”). Then I went up up up to the archives where I filled out several forms (so French!) and received the biographical dossier of Michel Chasles and Jean-Victor Poncelet. They may or may not have had additional papers on Chasles (rusty French), but I just made it through the two files (having to skim through Poncelet’s widow’s letters, which did not appear to be (and hopefully weren’t) terribly relevant) before I had to leave for Jussieu and a lunch meeting.

My trip happened to overlap with a meeting of my group. We have an acronym: HSMIMJ (Histoire des sciences mathématiques Institut de Mathematiques Jussieu). Anyway, this meeting involved discussing prior meetings (a meta-meeting if you will). Although I got lost several times, the two main themes appeared to be a disturbing lack of general secondary literature among the current generation of graduate students and the possibilities of automatized learning.

A much needed coffee was in order (there had been wine and cake at the meeting), so I walked up to Sugar Plum Bakeshop, an American style coffee shop that also bakes and designs wedding cakes. They have decent coffee, and usually decent wifi but not yesterday.

In the evening, I had a skype conversation with both of my directors and now we are all (more or less) on the same track. I have a good hunk of library work cut out for me on Friday and Saturday (these things always end up last minute it seems).

Back to the apartment Madeleine and I finished off the gold medal winning Beaujolais along with roasted leeks and tomatoes and probably the best grilled cheese I have ever had (melted goat cheese, mustard, French mayonnaise on Eric Kayser sourdough). Madeleine had been in the pastry district looking at Rodin and chose Le Saint Honoré. Certainly the most worthwhile application of choux pastry that I have ever experienced. How do they get the crystallized sugar inside? I have no idea–it was amazing.

IMG_4345Here is Madeleine on Monday after we enjoyed an early dinner at Verjus (see how sunny, it’s only 9 pm). The picture isn’t centered because there was a major make-out session going on off-screen on the left. We’re hoping to eat at Aux Tonneaux des Halles tonight and will be very sad if they are closed for the Ascension!