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The Arctic Studies Centre (Centre d'Etudes Arctiques)

The Arctic Studies Centre, founded in 1957 by its Director, Professor Jean Malaurie, at the "Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales" (EHESS), is the only French organization offering a multidisciplinary program of Arctic research. In 1980, the Centre became a CNRS-EHESS Associated Unity in the framework of the "Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique" (CNRS).

The Centre coordinates work dealing with Arctic research of 12 laboratories at the University and at the CNRS (Besançon, Bordeaux, Caen, Grenoble, Lille, Meudon, Paris). Forty advanced investigators are involved in research programs concerning the earth, life and social sciences:

  • Earth sciences research is mainly directed toward geomorphology (M.-F. André, T. Brossard, B. Vliet-Lanoë), topoclimatology (D. Joly, C. Kergomard), and the study of microfaults along the Fram Strait (C. Lepvrier).
  • Life sciences research principally concerns human chronobiology.
  • Social sciences studies deal with anthropogeography, ethno-geomorphology and problems linked with development.

A scientific club, founded in 1983, promotes links between French researchers and industrialists. The club meets from two to four times a year, allowing 50 people to exchange ideas and knowledge, under the chairmanship of a banker, about different topics such as oil and gas prospects, ice properties, human chronobiology, ozone layer holes, circumpolar Native educative programs, etc. The Centre houses the French Permafrost Association. a member of the International Permafrost Association. The Committee heading the French association comprises J. Aguirre-Puente, A.M. Cames- Pintaux, J.P. Lautridou and J. Malaurie.

One-hundred-thirty-six scientific Arctic expeditions have been camed out since 1957. Sixty-four of them have been mounted from the "Charcot" French Research Station in Svalbard and have dealt with botany, climatology, geology, geomorphology, glaciology, remote sensing, etc.

The Arctic Studies Centre has organized 14 intemational conferences (one every two years), such as the first international meeting on Arctic oil and gas (1973), an international congress on problems raised by frost action (rocks and artificial building materials) (1975), and another on North Pole problems (1983).

The Centre has provided for publication of some 70 books. In addition to five conference proceedings, the Centre publishes the annual multidisciplinary scientific jcurnal Inter-Nord (18 issues since 1957, with print runs of 1200 copies), which presents papers in French and English written by international specialists on earth, life and social sciences as well as on Arctic technology. Fifty-three theses have been submitted since the creation of the Centre.

The Centre's library, holding nearly 40,000 documents, books, reprints and periodicals, of which 200 concern Arctic serials is the only one in France covering all fields related to the Arctic regions.

Submitted by
Prof. A.M. Cames-Pintaux. Secretaire Géneral
on behalf of
Professor Jean Malaurie, Director
Association Française du Pergelisol
Centre d'Etudes Arctiques du CNRS