École de physique des Houches

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Summer, 1972, discussion in main lecture hall. From left, Yuval Ne'eman, Bryce DeWitt, Kip Thorne.

L’École de Physique des Houches (the Physics School of Les Houches) was founded in 1951 by a young French scientist, Cécile DeWitt-Morette.

Historically the first lessons were given in 1951 by Léon van Hove on quantum mechanics. The conditions were very spartan with the lessons lasting eight weeks in alpine chalets devoid of all comforts, a few kilometers from the village of Les Houches.

Soon, the school rapidly attracted the greatest names of modern physics. Such as Enrico Fermi, Wolfgang Pauli, Murray Gell-Mann and John Bardeen amongst others. The young students, then unknown, included such future scientists as Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Georges Charpak, and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, all future winners of the Nobel prize for Physics, as well as mathematician Alain Connes, future winner of the Fields medal.

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Coordinates: 45°53′56″N 6°46′12″E / 45.8989°N 6.7701°E / 45.8989; 6.7701