March 25th
Finalistes MT180 de PSL 2021

Interview with Hugo Lachuer, laureate of the PSL edition of the MT180 contest

Hugo Lachuer, a 3rd year doctoral student under the supervision of Kristine Schauer in Bruno Goud's team, won the 1st prize in the PSL University final of the "Ma thèse en 180 secondes" contest. He is now competing for the national semi-final. The results will be announced on April 1, 2021.

Hugo Lachuer

How did you prepare for this performance?

I took a mandatory PSL course in scientific communication. This 2-day training in popularization and scientific communication helped me a lot to prepare. Then, I worked alone, in front of my mirror to perfect my 3 minutes.


Why did you decide to register to this contest?

I discovered this contest when I was an undergraduate and then a master student and I thought it was really cool so when I got an email offering me to participate, I decided to do it. Symbolically, I liked the idea of doing what I've seen for years and it was an opportunity to go for it!

In fact, I wanted to register the year before, but my thesis supervisor, Kristine Schauer, gave me the good advice to wait until I was in my third year to have more to say.


I think you are particularly interested in popularizing science?

Yes, I took part in the Déclics operation, which consists of members from a laboratory (engineers, master's students, doctoral students, researchers) going to high schools and junior high schools to hold round tables on research, to talk about science but also about life in the laboratory. The idea is to bridge the gap between the future citizens that these students are and what happens in a public research laboratory. I also took part in the "Apprentice Researchers" program with the Arbre des Connaissances association: a post-doctoral fellow from my team and myself hosted and supervised a pair of high school students to carry out a small research project. The pair came several Wednesday afternoons to discover the scientific method, to do experiments and to try to bring answers to the questions we explored. It was a great opportunity to pass on my passion for science and communicate what I do.

On top of that, I am lucky enough to be in contact with a biology teacher from my former high school. Every year, we organize a session of one or two hours together to present an original research topic to the students. The goal is to challenge them intellectually by showing them questions that are still debated and sometimes surprising. It is also a moment of scientific communication which is very precious to me.


What did you expect from this competition on a professional and personal level? Did you get anything out of it yet?

Professionally, I thought that if I won a prize, it would be a little extra on my resume because it is a well-known and appreciated competition, even in the academic world. It is a good opportunity to develop your oral skills.

On the personal side, I was expecting to get more involved in scientific mediation, to meet other people who have this kind of will. For the moment, I get personal satisfaction from having done it and from having met all these other PhD students and from having heard about other subjects that I would never have heard about otherwise. Just the fact that I had fun is enough for me!


What are your plans for the future?

To stay as long as possible in public academic research, even if it is complicated to hold a position, I hope to have this kind of position and to continue to do scientific mediation because it is something that is close to my heart and that I appreciate a lot.

I have the personal conviction - which others may not share - that since public research is financed by society, it is the researcher's duty to transmit the knowledge that society has produced. This is a very important point for me.