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Superalloys: the technological frontier of the metal industry

Science and Technology May 19th, 2017, Nathalie Bozzolo / Professor in Physical Metallurgy at Mines ParisTech PSL Research University, holder of ANR Industrial Chair Safran Opale

Studying metals at a mesoscopic scale is both a major scientific breakthrough and a competitiveness challenge for the aeronautics industry. A research team is involved in this change of scale which resulted in significant progress in terms of industrial control.

Silica aerogels: superinsulators of the future?

Science and Technology May 12th, 2017, Patrick Achard / Senior scientist at PERSEE (Centre Processes, Renewable Energies and Energetic Systems), a research lab of Mines ParisTech PSL Research University

Aerogels? Imagine cloud chunks. This family of surprisingly light nanostructured materials has finally moved from research labs and entered the operational phase at industrial scale. Known since the 1930s, they took off some thirty years ago – three challenging and exciting decades for the researchers involved in their development. Three decades of hard work as well, that ultimately paid off.

Clouds in the Cloud: how solar radiation has become an online service

Industries May 10th, 2017, Thierry Ranchin / Professor at Mines ParisTech PSL Research University, Managing Director of Centre Observation, Impacts, Energie

SoDa, for SOlar radiation DAta, is a provider of online data and services on solar radiation. It is both a platform guided by the needs of its users, a pivotal tool for several international institutional networks, and the endeavor of two generations of researchers, alert to the opportunities that arise in the interstices between major disciplines.

In Europe or in the US, people often wonder how they could even live before Amazon or Uber, etc. I want our customers to think the same about Jumia, says Sacha Poignonnec, founder of the first African unicorn.

The C-K theory: a model for creativity

Science and Technology April 28th, 2017, Pascal Le Masson / Professor at Mines ParisTech PSL Research University, Deputy Director of the Centre for Management Science

The C-K theory encompasses methods widely implemented in the industrial world and that have achieved several notable successes. Ultimately, this theoretical breakthrough has revolutionized our approach to design.

Is despair killing America’s white working class?

Society April 24th, 2017, Angus Deaton / Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Princeton University, Nobel Prize for Economics in 2015

Working class Americans in midlife's mortality rate, after 100 years of declining, has turned the wrong way or at least flattened out. This is not happening to other groups in the US. It’s not happening to Hispanics. It’s not happening to African-Americans. And it’s not happening in any other rich country in the world. Angus Deaton tried to make sense of a trend closely associated with the rise of populism in the US.

The meaning of Facebook

Society April 19th, 2017, Benjamin Hoffmann / Assistant Professor of Literature, Ohio State University

Facebook heralds the advent of a society that mirrors what the social network claims to promote. Not a society of democratic exchange, where people interact within a virtual agora by opposing arguments, but a society divided by antagonism and defiance, one that is partitioned in isolated bubbles; not a society of free sharing of information but of commercial exploitation of the data we deliver each time we visit Facebook. Should we turn away from this social network and all those who promote its paradigm?

Quantum control: when automatic control supports experimental quantum physics

Industries April 11th, 2017, Pierre Rouchon / Professor at Centre automatique et systèmes, Mines ParisTech PSL Research University

In September 2011, Nature published a paper about the first experiment involving quantum state feedback. This breakthrough offers many perspectives: the ability to monitor in real-time typical quantum states without disrupting them opens new paths, both in terms of basic research and practical applications. Gathered around the specialist of quantum mechanics, Serge Haroche, the experiment was carried out in combination with other disciplines. Here's the story of this collaboration.

A philosophy of data

Science and Technology April 10th, 2017, Bruno Teboul / Senior Vice President of Science and Innovation, Keyrus Group

Ongoing digitization has placed data at the center of economic and social life. We are producing a growing amount of data that are exchanged, secured and analyzed by increasingly sophisticated technologies. Data economics defines the value of these operations. Data policies are implemented both by governments and large corporations. An emerging business revolves around big data. But the precise nature of a datum remains unclear. A philosophical approach, as led by Luciano Floridi, can help us refine the definition.

A revolution in US corporate tax

Business April 7th, 2017, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

As reported by the media, US Republicans in the House of Representatives have launched an initiative to lower corporate tax to 20%, instead of 35% today, one step further in the tax competition between countries. The Trump administration seems to support the project. Donald Trump himself even mentioned the possibility of lowering this rate to 15%. As worrying as is seems for the United States' trading partners, this drop isn't even the most important part of the reform. In reality, the measure forms part of wider radical project that will give corporate tax the same features as a tax that doesn't exist in the United States, namely, VAT or value-added tax, probably the most innovative and popular tax (as far as governments are concerned) since the 1950s.

The impact of Brexit on the UK’s climate change policy

Society April 5th, 2017, Jan Svoboda / Student, Department of Geography, University of Bristol

Over the last years, the UK has been one of the most active European Union Member States in climate change policy and energy talks and it has often led the way forward. Some policies successfully implemented by the British legislation were later proposed by the European Commission for all the Member States to adopt. But on the 23rd of June 2016, the UK voters declared against the membership in the community and on March 30th Prime minister Theresa May triggered Art. 50. How does this decision affect climate change policy in the UK and in Europe? What could be the outcomes of Brexit in this field?

Digital labor and the limits of critical thinking

Society April 4th, 2017, Dominique Cardon / Associate Professor of Sociology at Medalab, Sciences Po, Associate Researcher at Centre d'études des mouvements sociaux, EHESS/PSL Research University

In the analysis and understanding of the Internet, the role of sociology needs to be defended: facing a widespread tendency to economization, it offers resources and references that allow to change perspectives and view practices from another angle. This difference is healthy. But let's face it: in the way it conceives the Internet, the sociological debate is itself beset with contradictions. Digital labor provides an illustrative case.

A new R&D paradigm: crafting strategy by designing patents

Business March 28th, 2017, Olga Kokshagina / Innovation Manager, STIM, Associated Researcher at the Chair of Design Theory and Methods for Innovation, Mines ParisTech PSL Research University

Undoubtedly patents represent, today, a major criterion in making investment decisions and in firms' competitive advantage. Yet, the way we deal with designing patentable inventions does not reflect their strategic potential. Patents are strategic assets in theory but mainly secondary activity in practice. What if they were not an outcome but an input to craft your company's' future?

There are two main components of a compensation policy: salaries and equity. An equation with only two variables? Should be pretty simple, right? Well, not when you are talking about something as symbolic as money. Let's dig dive and look at the best practices of compensation policy for startups. Starting with equity.

How should you design your compensation policy? As we’ve seen in the first part dedicated to incentives in startups, equity should be the main driver for both founders and early employees, since it rewards risks and performance. The question is to determine what level of equity should be offered to a given candidate.

Companies like others? A sociological survey of French startup

Business March 21st, 2017, Michel Grossetti / Senior Researcher, EHESS PSL Research University, LISST lab

Young innovative companies are the subject of much interest. Their example reinforces a mythology of innovation that has its classical examples, its specific locations (MIT, the Silicon Valley), its theoreticians (Joseph Schumpeter and the economics of innovation), its heroes (from Edison to Mark Zuckerberg). But behind the scene lies a more complex reality. What does a sociological approach reveal?

The digital revolution and the 5 Ps of medicine

Society March 17th, 2017, Julien Damon / Associate Professor at Sciences Po, President of Eclairs Consulting

In the healthcare industry, the digital revolution affects two major areas: big data and eHealth (digital tools applied to healthcare). The availability of massive volumes of data is a hard fact. This exponential rise has layed the foundation for the medicine of the future, caracterised by 5 Ps: preventive, predictive, participatory, personalized, pertinent.

3D printing is considered the new industrial revolution, likely to disrupt the behavior of consumers and manufacturers, involving relocation of production facilities, reconstruction of labor, changes in material applications and what's more, a growing challenge for intellectual property owners. To copy an object you only need two things: an electronic schematic of the product and a 3D printer. This means that anyone can reproduce any available design, putting designer brands in the same situation that the music industry found itself in when MP3 files hit the market.

Very few areas have remained unchanged by the digital revolution. Politics is no exception. In recent years, various initiatives have emerged to harness the possibilities offered by digital technology in order to improve or renew democracy. Amidst the crisis of our Western democracies, undermined by a growing gap between citizens and their representatives, by abstention and by the rise of extremism, civic technology revives the democratic process by improving information, enabling greater citizen participation and empowerment, ultimately improving government transparency.

Is democracy just another market? Can we build a sustainable economic model with the help of digital tools whose purpose is to put citizens at the center of the democratic game? If yes, how? Must these structures be associative by nature or can they embrace a commercial scale while remaining true to their goals? Should they opt for an open source or proprietary logic? This expanding ecosystem raises a number of questions about their financing and business model.

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