We’re celebrating Presans’ ten years of existence, so this article will be quite different from the others on We asked by email to the people around us[efn_note]That is to say: the Presans team, the Presans Fellows, the experts involved in our projects, as well as the partners and speakers at our events.[/efn_note] to say what they retain from the last decade in terms of excellence and impertinence, the two values of Presans.

  • Excellence: Presans puts a strong emphasis on science, industry and technology, as well as expertise to bring value to our clients.
  • Impertinence[efn_note]One respondent who was more cautious than the others pointed out to us that in English, “impertinent” means “rude”. Which is true. We are in the midst of barbarism. Would we take advantage of the fact that everyone, including this respondent, also seems to hear much more positive meanings in this term, such as boldness?[/efn_note]: Presans always takes a fresh look at problems and does not hesitate to shake up the established consensus.

The specific question we asked is the following:

“In your opinion, which discovery, technology, event, person or organization of the last decade best represents the values of excellence and impertinence?”

A question to be added to Proust’s questionnaire[efn_note]It’s a very good questionnaire: it’s very much about heroes.[/efn_note], to which fifty-five people replied, more or less at length, and for which we thank them warmly. We will publish separately, throughout the year, some of these answers.

The following is an overview of the results, divided in five sections: 1. Discoveries and inventions 2. Technologies 3. Events 4. People 5. Organizations.


1. Discoveries and inventions

1.1. CRISPR-Cas9 (mentioned by François Nicolaie and Michel Serpelloni)

CRISPR-Cas9 allows a genome to be edited accurately and efficiently. 

1.2. Maturation of Viedma (mentioned by Maximilian Kopylovich)

This process affecting the chirality of chemical structures is described in a 2004 scientific article by Professor Cristobal Viedma. His research touches on the origin of life, but also has a potentially huge impact on the industrial synthesis of chemicals.

1.3. Organic Digital Twin (mentioned by Frédéric Leroy)

The health industry and life sciences are integrating the digital twin concept developed in heavy industry. A paradigm shift.

1.4. Valorisation of CO2 in the form of proteins (mentioned by Denise Mery)

The process is based on the cultivation of CO2-intensive organisms in order to produce proteins.


2. Technologies

2.1. Artificial intelligence (mentioned by Hervé Arribart, Philippe Mourant)

Two mentions for Artificial Intelligence, but also responses that refer to researchers or entrepreneurs in this field should be included: Yann Le Cun, Lex Friedman, Luc Julia, George Hotz, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, etc. Some articles have been published around this theme on

2.2. Additive Manufacturing (impression 3D) (mentioned by François Nicolaie and Philippe Bourguignon)

The disruptive potential of 3D printing is enormous, especially due to new additive metal fabrication technologies. Our technology fact sheet provides a first introduction to this topic.

2.3. Hydrogenated water for agriculture (mentioned by Denise Mery)

The applications of hydrogen are decidedly countless.

2.4. Gene therapy (mentioned by Wendell Iverson)

This therapeutic strategy continued to make slow progress during 2010.

2.5. The drones (mentioned by Pascaline Le Berre)

We’ve been talking about drones on this blog for a long time.

2.6. New technologies to take advantage of plant proteins (mentioned by Guy Crosby)

The future of nutrition could lie in these alternative protein sources.

Virtual Reality (mentioned by Pascaline Le Berre)

The progress of virtual reality is to be situated in the problematic of human-machine interfaces.


2.7. Digital Applications

2.7.1. Voice instant messaging (mentioned by Vesna Lukovic)


2.7.2. Navigation (mentioned by Sylvie Brémond-Mookherjee)

Waze, Citymapper. 

2.7.3. Mobility (mentioned by Frédéric Febvre)

BlaBlaCar, Drivy-GetAround, Gloowee.


3. Events

3.1. TedX (mentioned by Pascaline Le Berre)

A conference format that developed strongly from the mid-2000s thanks to the online availability of its videos.

3.2. Photonics Online Meetup (mentioned by Thomas Fromenteze)

First online conference on optics.

3.3. Dystopia 2019 (mentioned by Camille Girard)

Alternative tech event.


4. People


4.1. Scientific & technological experts 

4.1.1. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna (mentioned by Michel Serpelloni)

Biology researchers whose work led to the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9.

4.1.2. Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland (mentioned by Pierre Millet)

Their work on the quantum computer was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2012.

4.1.3. Hiroaki Kitano (mentioned by Frédéric Leroy)

Director of Sony’s computer lab and one of the creators of the AIBO robot.

4.1.4. Yann Le Cun (mentioned by Pierre Delort)

Artificial intelligence researcher at Facebook and Collège de France.

4.1.5. François Maréchal (mentioned by Daniel Favrat)

Researcher in energetics at EPFL.

4.1.6. Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan (mentioned byConstantino Creton)

Professor of Applied Mathematics in Biological and Physical Modeling at Harvard University.

4.1.7. Valérie Masson-Delmotte (mentioned by Philippe Dufourcq)

Paleoclimatologist member of the IPCC.

4.1.8. Rita Levi Montalcini (mentioned by Maria E. Mondejar)

Doctor of Medicine and researcher in neurobiology. Died in 2012.

4.1.9. Lex Friedman (mentioned by François Bouviala)

Artificial intelligence researcher.

4.1.10. Luc Julia (mentioned by Thierry Ladreyt)

One of Siri’s designers.

4.1.11. Philippe Guillemant (mentioned by Thierry Ladreyt)

Physicist, theorist of retrocausality and consciousness.

4.1.12 Laurent Nottale (mentioned by Clément Vidal)

Astrophysicist, theorist of relativity of scales.

4.1.13 George Hotz (mentioned by François Bouviala)

Hacker and artificial intelligence entrepreneur.


4.2. Entrepreneurs

4.2.1. Elon Musk (mentioned by Albert Meige, François Bouviala, Vesna Lukovic, Jeffery Durand, Pascaline Le Berre, Tianlun Li, Christian Penu, Virginie Merini, Olivier Lodeho, Thierry Ladreyt, Anne Berthereau, Jean-Louis Fréchin, Cécile Baudel (by indirectly mentioning SpaceX))

Elon Musk is usually located in connection with SpaceX or Tesla.

4.2.2. Steve Jobs (mentioned by Marie Nour Haikel-Elsabeh, Jean-Louis Fréchin and Anne Berthereau)

Steve Jobs continues to inspire, even after his disappearance. As pointed out by one of our respondents, the massive adoption of the iPhone began in the early 2010’s.

4.2.3. Xavier Niel (mentioned by Jérôme Bouquet)

Founder of Free, of the “42” school, co-initiator of Station F, Xavier Niel also appears in a few posts published on

4.2.4. Frédéric Mazella (mentioned by Yves Poilane)

Founder of Blablacar.

4.2.5. Dean Kamen (mentioned by Bernard Favre)

The danger of fake news: I thought the inventor of the Segway killed himself by falling off a cliff in the Segway. He didn’t. The inventor of the Segway is Dean Kamen, and he’s doing fine. EDIT: Actually it’s not a fake news, but a confusion on my part: it’s the 2010 buyer of the Segway company, Jim Heselden, who killed himself while riding a Segway by falling off a cliff.

4.2.6. Jennifer Holmgren (mentioned by Tammy Klein)

CEO of the carbon capture company Lanzatech.

4.2.7. David Eagleman (mentioned by Laurens Vaddeli)

Neuroscientist, co-founder of Neosensory, which develops bracelets for hearing sounds through touch.

4.2.8. Emmanuel Chiva (mentioned by Albert Meige)

Director of the Defense Innovation Agency.


4.3. Social Entrepreneurs (self-identified)

4.3.1. Sébastien Goua

Groupe Associatif Siel Bleu, for health through adapted physical activity for seniors.

4.3.2.  Jamie Soon

Girls in Tech Paris, which aims to accelerate women’s leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


4.4. Designers

4.4.1. Philippe Starck (mentioned by Jean-Louis Fréchin)



4.5. Athletes & explorers

4.5.1 François Gabard (mentioned by Fabienne Hanriot)


4.5.2 Bertrand Piccard (mentioned by Bernard Favre)

Swiss psychiatrist, explorer and aeronaut, known among other things for the Solar Impulse project.

4.6. Intellectuals

No one mentions the names of artists or writers. What would Marcel Proust have to say about that!

4.6.1. Nassim Taleb (mentioned by François Bouviala)

Risk philosopher.

4.6.2. Michel Serres (mentioned by François Nicolaie)

Philosopher with a strong propensity for polymathy. Sometimes misunderstood. Died in 2019.

4.6.3. Navi Radjou (mentioned by Philippe Aubourg)

Promoter of frugal innovation.

4.6.4. Laurent Alexandre (mentioned by Albert Meige)

Doctor, entrepreneur, publisher.


4.7. Political figures

4.7.1. Emmanuel Macron (mentioned by Stéphane Voitrin and by our Fellow Philippe Perrier)

In 2017, Emmanuel Macron’s disruptive presidential campaign attracted the attention of

4.7.2 Greta Thunberg (mentioned by Denise Mery and Pierre Monsan

Greta Thunberg is viewed very positively by those who mention her.

4.7.3. Donald Trump (mentioned by Olivier Fournout)

Our respondent has a book project on the subject and is looking for a publisher!

4.7.4. Cédric Villani (mentioned by Albert Meige)

A man of science who went into politics.

4.7.5. Julian Assange (mentioned by François Bouviala)

The founder of Wikileaks.


5. Organizations


5.1. Research Centers

5.1.1. Large Hadron Collider (CERN) (mentioned by Aymeric Bescos)

This basic research centre, which probably exists only for the honour of the human spirit, identifies the Higgs boson in 2012.

5.1.2. LIGO Observatory (mentioned by Emmanuel Stratakis)

This institution, which has two sites in the USA, notably allowed in 2015 the first observation of a gravitational wave, whose existence was predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916.

5.1.3. The scientific community as a whole (mentioned by Klaas Jan Hellingwerf)

Mentioned because of the excellence and impertinence of the peer-reviewed publishing system.


5.2. Companies

5.2.1. Presans (mentioned indirectly by Darko Jesic and Bogdan Stupar)

I detect a slight bias in some of the team members. Darko is struck by the emergence of intermediaries using digital technologies to accelerate and make industrial innovation more efficient. Bogdan sees Sofia as a paradigm shift in scientific collaboration.

5.2.2. Amazon (appointed by Sylvie Brémond-Mookherjee and by Pascaline Le Berre)

Amazon is mentioned twice. We often address, directly or indirectly, the subject of this extraordinary company. Notably in Total: the future Amazon of mobility, and in Des livres et des fusées : Jeff Bezos.

5.2.3. Apple (appointed by Jean-Louis Fréchin)

Only one mention for Apple. As if there was no need to say it.

5.2.4. Patagonia (appointed by Jean-Louis Fréchin)

Manufacturer of outdoor clothing.

5.2.5. Nike (appointed by Felicia Sola)

Well-known manufacturer of sporting goods.


Conclusion: Time regained

Our cognitive ecosystem is really exceptional and I should do this kind of thing more often. Besides, why wait? I invite readers to leave in comments[efn_note]Or by email :, etc.[/efn_note] their answers to the question: “In your opinion, what discovery, technology, event, person or organization of the last decade best represents the values of excellence and impertinence?”. As announced above, we will publish some of these responses separately throughout the year.