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Catherine Cuenca: Safeguarding scientific and technical heritage

We are pleased to publish here an article sent by our French Representative Catherine Cuenca.

Her contribution is in French and to facilitate non-French speakers we publish an English abstract. The theme is very close to the area of studies of our inspirator Kenneth Hudson who was a leading figure in promoting the knowledge of industrial and technical heritage.

Science and technology are nowadays very present in many fields of our everyday life: health, communication, energy, and transport. However, their development is sometimes subject to mixed feelings. A dialogue between science, technology and society and more basically as a branch of general knowledge is therefore essential. Objects of sciences and technologies (instrumentation, devices…), experiences from scientists and their teams are a great support for a better approach to these fields. These are the results of human activity and engineering which demonstrate the evolution of knowledge over past centuries and recent decades. They allow us to push forward limits of our own knowledge and to develop innovations. They also become the memory of our scientific and technical activity of our century. In France, in 2003 a national programme about the conservation of the modern heritage of scientific, technical and industrial objects was put under the management of the Musée des arts et métiers. A national network was created in order to store and to make inventories of instrument collections, to build up documentation about surviving scientific instruments, and to carry out interviews with researchers of the past fifty years. These resources, which are available on line at www.patstec.fr, show the progress of the programme and can be used as a tool for promoting scientific and technical culture for a wide public. More than ten regional
branches are members of this network. A European development is now under way between many partners among science museums and universities across several countries.

Have a good reading!

Catherina Cuenca – Safeguarding scientific and technical heritage

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