Michelin Corporate Foundation Prize in conjunction with the Academy of Sciences


France’s Academy of Sciences has just named the 68 winners of the 65 prizes awarded in 2020. The awards recognize both experienced science personalities and young researchers at the start of their careers.

The Michelin Corporate Foundation aims to highlight French research and distinguish talent. In 2020, it created two science prizes, to a value of 30,000 and 15,000 euros awarded jointly with the Academy of Sciences.

The prizes are for research in the following subject areas:

  • Polymer physics
  • Physics of composite materials
  • Elasticity
  • Wear of materials
  • Calculation and simulation

Each subject has a sustainable mobility dimension.

Because of the current health crisis, the 2020 award ceremony could not take place in the domed hall of the Institut de France as is the custom but the two winners received their prizes notwithstanding.

The grand prize was awarded to François Lequeux, director of research at the soft materials science and engineering laboratory of the French National Scientific Research Center (CNRS), of the City of Paris School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry (ESPCI) and the Sorbonne University.

A physicist specializing in the relationships between physics, fluid mechanics and complex materials among other subjects, he has been working for over 20 years on the mechanics of reinforced elastomers.

In particular, he has demonstrated that these properties are determined by vitreous polymer bridges between particles and has thus rationally described certain significant mechanical properties of car tires

The Promise Prize was awarded to Laurent Ponson, CNRS researcher at the Institut Jean Le Rond d’Alembert at the Sorbonne University and CEO of the Tortoise corporation.

He studies the impact of the structure of materials on their behavior at breaking point. Influenced by statistical physics, his research goes beyond the limits of fracture mechanics and furthers understanding of phenomena such as the intermittency of cracking processes or the emergence of fractal fault patterns. His work has given rise to a new tool for engineers, quantitative fractography, which gets to the root causes of mechanical failure.

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Copyright Gérard Blot