The fifth EPS (European Physical Society) Forum Physics and Society will take place in CERN, Geneva (2012). Previous meetings were held in Graz (2006), Zakopane (2007), Ratnieki (2009) and El Escorial (2010). The meetings have dealt with issues like science education, physics in schools, teacher training, ethics, innovation and communication. The annual theme of the forum is “Physicists in the marketplace: opportunities and threats”.


Jacques Schmitt, Senior Consultant at Presans


Jacques Schmitt, Fellow at Presans, is one of the invited speakers of the forum. Jacques will be speaking about:  “Physicists: from expert to skills in the marketplace”.



Abstract: In the 20th century, shifting from an academic life to an industrial career meant quite a big jump across a cultural barrier. The barrier height and the motivations driving the attempt were varying with the individual and the cultural context as countries, even within Europe, are quite different. Physicists can be successful in industry, some simple rules are described. Emphasis is given on an important change of mind set toward research projects. The innovation process is described with focus on two key aspects, the value creation and the management of uncertainty, both important differences in project approach. A physicist should know and understand such differences to collaborate with industry, and he should be able to think and operate within that frame of mind if he is to enter industry. It is made clear that the key facilitator for this shift is a taste for entrepreneurship.

Finally the focus is on nowadays megatrend a paradigm shift affecting innovation in industry. The transition from close to open innovation is gradually changing the context for physicist interaction with industry, the barrier will be lower and work both ways. This new era is an opportunity for the physicist community if it mutates and adapts to this new environment.


EPS Forum Physics and Society – CERN, Switzerland 28-29 March 2012. More information here.