Thierry Dauxois, the new Vice-President in charge of Research

Thierry Dauxois, the new Vice-President in charge of Research

Wed, 12/02/2020

News, Portrait

Thierry Dauxois, CNRS Research Director at the Physics Laboratory, was appointed Vice President in charge of Research (VPR) on February 3, 2020, taking over from Yanick Ricard.


When Thierry Dauxois was asked what motivated him to accept the position of Vice-President in charge of Research, he replied that he has always preferred to define himself as an active stakeholder rather than a critical observer. He has held various research administration positions in the past and has enjoyed this work.

Thierry Dauxois also has a personal attachment to the institution, as he joined ENS Lyon – as it was called at the time – as a student on his 20th birthday. ENS Lyon was still under construction, it had only a hundred students from all scientific disciplines, the student residence did not exist and the cobblestones of Place d'Italie had not even been laid.

Over the years, he has seen ENS de Lyon grow bigger and bigger, but above all, he has seen the team – researchers, teachers and administrative staff – strive fervidly to develop their establishment. Their commitment has enabled ENS de Lyon to excel nationally as well as internationally.

"The n°1 asset of ENS de Lyon is the students," says Thierry Dauxois. The students are fortunate to be able to evolve in a productive environment, they benefit from a very high level of supervision, a real team effort to support projects and a privileged access to research. In a context of significant transformation in higher education, expectations are high, and Thierry Dauxois wants to preserve the research conditions, the vigor and responsiveness of the teams, while working to harmonize projects across the whole site.

In addition, Thierry Dauxois reminds us that this year we will be celebrating the arrival in Lyon of the Humanities and Social Sciences, twenty years ago. ENS de Lyon has reestablished its initial multi-disciplinary approach, hence Thierry Dauxois will focus on supporting every discipline and strengthening the links between each one.

In a constantly growing institution – and even more so since the 2010 merger – it is important that themes and disciplines rub shoulders, exchange and blend together.

Valuing multidisciplinary approaches and interdisciplinarity (through seminars open to all disciplines, for example) is an important point for the new VPR. The success of interdisciplinary courses or multiple requests to set up junior laboratories, show that we must persevere in this direction.

Finally, Thierry Dauxois stresses the importance of talking and listening to each other. He officially began his term on Monday, February 3, 2020. He has already begun to meet the various laboratories, and all the departments and the various stakeholders with whom he looks forward to working, to help this School grow even more in the future.

A few words about Thierry Dauxois

Born in 1967, Thierry Dauxois studied in Toulouse before joining the very first academic year of ENS Lyon in 1987. In 1990, he came 2nd in the prestigious Physics “Agrégation” exam before starting a thesis at the University of Dijon and at Los Alamos (USA) – in Non-linear Dynamics and Statistical Mechanics of a DNA model - under the supervision of Michel Peyrard.  He joined ENS Lyon again in 1994 when he began at CNRS as a research fellow.

During his career, Thierry Dauxois has taken on various administrative or research responsibilities. He was responsible for the Master’s degree in Physics at ENS Lyon from 2005 to 2011; Director of GDR Phenix from 2006 to 2009; President of Section 02 "Theoretical Physics" in the National Committee for Scientific Research (CoNRS) from 2010 to 2012; and finally Director of the Laboratory of Physics of ENS de Lyon from 2012 to 2020.

Regarding research, his research themes are statistical physics and non-linear phenomena in general, with a particular interest in dynamic systems and chaos. After beginning in biophysics, he became interested in solitons (e.g. tsunamis), before working on systems with long-range interactions (such as astrophysics).

Using theoretical experiments and calculations, he is currently studying the internal waves of gravity, which propagate in the depths of the oceans.