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Best Comments

Par luc, le 17 mars 2004

Some of the best comments about our letter that we received...

A. J. (Jim) Hudspeth

Sirs and Madames - I entirely agree. The problem clearly extends beyond biological research, encompassing as well the support of the French government for research in physics, chemistry, and other sciences. Jim Hudspeth

Dr. A. J. (Jim) Hudspeth Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor and Head Laboratory of Sensory Neuroscience The Rockefeller University, New York USA

Richard W. Tsien

Dear Alain, Isabel, Philippe and JacSue,

I agree wholeheartedly. There’s vibrant new research, crowning a wonderful tradition of French science, that is at risk, particularly in the biological sciences. Understanding the brain is critical for the future of humankind, and the contribution of scientists in France is essential to that effort.

Richard W. Tsien George D. Smith Professor Molecular and Cellular Physiology, USA Co-director, Stanford Neuroscience Institute Member, National Academy of Sciences USA

Roberto Malinow

I agree with this statement in the strongest possible manner.

Roberto Malinow, MD PhD, Harrison Endowed Professor Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

Kai Kaila

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to sign the text at the end of the email that I have received from you. I wish you best success in your efforts to change the disastrous funding decisions made by the French government.

sincerely, Kai Kaila

Kai Kaila, PhD Academy Professor (Academy of Finland), Dept. Biosciences, University of Helsinki, Finland

Rodolfo R. Llinas

Dear Alain and Isabel,

Incredible ! France is signing off from scientific research ? That the birthplace of rationalism and one of the most distinguished nations in science will reduce funding to a close to scientific stagnation, is sad beyond words. France has had an enormous impact in civilization, powered by the genius of the French intelligentsia, and so, where is this anti-intellectual drive arising from ? . Let us hope that this trend will rapidly reverse to the standards that the world expects from France.

Rodolfo R. Llinas Chairman of the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience Member US National Academy Member French National Academy of Science

Henry A. Lester

Friends, Please add my name as well.

I have also reviewed for CNRS and am impressed by the spirit of team in modern French biology. This strength will vanish without a clear and constant commitment from the French government.

The French government could also learn from the recent South Korean achievement in stem cell research. The United States faltered in its vision, and scientists in other nations immediately exploited the exciting research opportunities.

Particularly in neuroscience, France has made important contributions since the Ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot, sent some tobacco seeds home to Paris in 1550. Claude Bernard discovered synaptic transmission in the late 19th Century. French scientists continue to lead the way in molecular, cellular, and systems neuroscience today.

The great neuroscience diseases will be solved in the next decades : Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, bipolar disease, multiple sclerosis. These conquests will be international efforts, and the French economy will benefit in proportion to France’s intellectual contributions. Moreover, French civilization will be judged partially by its vigor in supporting this marvelous and exciting enterprise.


Henry A. Lester Bren Professor of Biology Division of Biology , California Institute of Technology, USA

Pedro Labarca

Dears Isabel and Alain :

The news are terrible. In addition to the damage that could be done to basic research in France itself there is the danger that the bad example would spread to countries like Chile where all aspects of French politics have great influence, and often times lead important decissions regarding public support to science. Chilean scientists have been fighting all their lifes to convince our country on the importance of public support to fundamental research to help our country to reach a more decent status and to dignify our contribution to world progress, as the French nation has done so brightly and for so long by supporting fundamental research in the Life Sciences. The little progress made in upgrading our modest scientific capabilities in recent years will be endangered if the French nation adopts the predicament that an improvement of the national scientific apparatus can be achieved through the reduction of public support to fundamental science. As a scientist I feel threatened, betrayed and saddened to witness the irresponsable attempt to put France on an ill-fated road that can only lead to disaster and which will have dreaful consequences that will be felt well beyond France .

Needless to say, I agree to support the campaign to maintain competitive fundamental research in the Life Sciences in France.

Sincerely, Pedro Labarca, Ph.D Profesor de Biofisica y Fisiologia Molecular, Centro de Estudios Cientificos International Scholar HHMI

Julio M. Fernandez

I agree ! Vive la France !!!!

Julio M. Fernandez, Ph.D. Professor Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University 1212 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10027

Michael A. Rogawski

To be competitive in the global economy, it is absolutely essential that France continue to maintain a strong research enterprise. Lack of support now will irreparably damage the nation’s research infrastructure, which will take decades to rebuild. The long-term effects on France’s standing as a major economic power will be predictably devastating.

Michael A. Rogawski Senior Investigator and Chief, Epilepsy Research Section, U.S. National Institutes of Health

Linda M. Nowak

I agree. Twenty one years ago I began my postdoctoral training in a CNRS laboratory with the distiguished scientist Philippe Ascher. The scientific training was world class and the daily discourse was of the highest level. I intended to stay for 15 months, but I stayed for 3 years. It was the most stimulating period of my research career. Linda M. Nowak, PhD Associate Professor Department of Molecular Medicine Cornell University Ithaca, NY

Professor Denis Noble

Please also add my name.

When launching "Save British Science" nearly 20 years ago I never imagined that anything so catastrophic should be facing French science. Our experience shows that the long-term damage can long outlast the cuts themselves. It has taken us 20 years to get partly back to where we were at the beginning of the 1980s. I have already seen the problems caused by earlier cutbacks in France since I am an expert referee for INSERM and have been involved in judging French teams in my field.

Du courage !

Professor Denis Noble CBE FRS AcadMedSci Hon FRCP Burdon Sanderson Chair of Cardiovascular Physiology University Laboratory of Physiology Oxford University Fellow of the Royal Society Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians Membre Etranger de l’Academie Royale de Medecine de Belgique INSERM "expert" Founder-Member "Save British Science" Founding-Fellow Academy of Medical Sciences

Cara J. Gottardi

As an American who profited from a "stagiere ?" position at l’Institut Pasteur on a Fulbright grant in 1994-1995, I implore the French government to re-examine its vision of basic science to benefit short-term applied research. Please note that our present day ability to treat le SIDA had more to do with basic science research in general virology and the discovery of reverse transcriptase, than funding specifically designated for le SIDA.

Respectfully yours,

Cara J. Gottardi, PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology Northwestern University School of Medicine Chicago, IL