Science meets Poetry

A unique feature of ESOF is the Science meets Poetry day, which is held at every Forum and brings poets and scientists together.

Indeed, there is today a real artistic movement of poets connected with ESOF. Famous participants from earlier meetings include contributors such as the late Seamus Heaney, Roald Hoffmann Jean-Pierre Luminet and Prince Henrik of Denmark, but many young and aspiring poets are also involved.

The meeting is in two parts:

  • lectures on subjects involving science with poetry
  • a poster session for contributed poems

There are competitions associated with the event and every Science meets Poetry day gives rise to the publication of Proceedings in book form.

In Toulouse, the event will be staged by EuroScience in collaboration with the Académie des Jeux Floraux of Toulouse, the Société des Poètes Français and the European Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters, under patronage of UNESCO. The full programme will be announced later, but includes such themes as a celebration of the number 7 in honour of the seven Troubadours of Toulouse, who held the first Jeux Floraux in the year 1323, Space Travel and the first poets and scientists who wrote about it (including Cyrano de Bergerac and Johannes Kepler), from Metrodorus and Diophantes of Alexandria to Fermat’s Last Theorem, the Poetry of Ecology, Lafayette’s ship the Hermione seen from America and many other thought-provoking subjects.

The meeting will be held in the Hôtel d’Assézat, one of the finest old buildings of the ancient city of Toulouse.

Exceptionally, it will be open to registered participants from ESOF and also to some members of the public within the limits of available space. 

Tentative Programme for the Science meets Poetry day on the 12th of July 2018

(some Speakers are still to be confirmed)

  • 09:00 – 09:30 A welcome for the poets : The legendary Troubadours of Toulouse and the poetry of the number 7 (Philippe Dazet-Brun, Académie des Jeux Floraux)

  • 09:30 – 10:00 The science and the poetry of violets from Toulouse (Marie-Thérèse Esquerré-Tugayé  Laboratoire de Recherche en Sciences Végétales, Université Toulouse III-CNRS)

  • 10:00 –10:30  The true Cyrano de Bergerac, gascon poet, and his celebrated travels to the Moon (Jean-Charles Dorge, Société des Poètes Français)

  • 10:30 – 11:00  Coffee Break (with poems as posters)

  • 11:00 – 11:30 Kepler the author and the imaginary travels of the famous astronomer to the Moon. (Uli Rothfuss, die Kogge International Society of German-language authors )

  • 11:30 – 12:00  Spoutnik and Space in Russian Literature (Alla-Valeria Mikhalevitch, Laboratory of the Russian Academy of Sciences  Saint-Petersburg)

  • 12:00 – 12:30  Poems for the planet Mars (James Philip Kotsybar, the 'Bard of Mars', California and NASA USA)

  • 12:30 – 14:00  Lunch and meetings of the Juries of poetry competitions

  • 14:00 – 14:30  The voyage of the Hermione and « Lafayette, here we come ! » seen by an American poet (Nick Norwood, University of Columbus Ohio)

  • 14:30 –  15:00 Alexandria, Toulouse and Oxford : the poem rendered by Eutrope and Fermat’s Last Theorem (Chaunes, European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, UNESCO)

  • 15:00 –15:30  How biology is celebrated in contemporary poetry (Assumpcio Forcada, biologist and poet from Barcelona)

  • 15:30 – 16:00  A book of poems around ecology : a central subject in modern poetry (Sam Illingworth, Metropolitan University of Manchester)

  • 16:00 – 16:30  Coffee break (with poems as posters)

  • 16:30 – 17:00 Toulouse and Europe : poetry at the crossroads of European Languages (Stefka Hrusanova (Bulgarian Academy and Linguaggi-Di-Versi)

  • 17:00 – 17:30 Round Table : seven poets from Toulouse give their views on the theme : Languages, invisible frontiers within both science and poetry

  • 17:30 – 18:00 The winners of the poetry competitions are announced

  • 18:00 – 18:15 Chaunes. Closing remarks