University of Paris-Sud

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University of Paris-Sud
Université Paris-Sud
Established 1971 (1971)
Type Public
Endowment 450 million
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 27,307
Postgraduates 2,578
Location Orsay, France
Campus Urban
Affiliations UniverSud Paris, LERU
Seat of the presidency of the University, Orsay, France

University of Paris-Sud (University of Paris XI) is a French university distributed among several campuses in the southern suburb of Paris (including Orsay, Cachan, Châtenay-Malabry, Sceaux and Kremlin-Bicêtre campuses). The main campus is located in Orsay (48°42′00″N 2°10′24″E / 48.699890°N 2.173309°E / 48.699890; 2.173309). This university is a member of the UniverSud Paris.

Paris-Sud is one of the largest and most renowned French universities, particularly in science and mathematics. Paris-Sud is ranked 2nd in France, 7th in Europe and 39th worldwide by the 2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).[1] Furthermore, in this latest edition of ARWU ranking, the university is ranked 15th globally in the field of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; in the five general subject rankings, the university is ranked 7th in mathematics and 19th in physics.


Paris-Sud was originally part of the University of Paris, which was subsequently split into several universities. After World War II, the rapid growth of nuclear physics and chemistry meant that research needed more and more powerful accelerators, which required large areas. The Université de Paris, the École Normale Supérieure and the Collège de France looked for space in the south of Paris near Orsay. Later some of the teaching activity of the Faculty of Sciences in Paris was transferred to Orsay. The rapid increase of students led to the independence of the Orsay Center on March 1, 1965.

Now it hosts a great number of laboratories on its large (236 ha) campus. Many of the top French laboratories are among them especially in particle physics,[2] nuclear physics,[3][4] astrophysics,[5] atomic physics and molecular physics,[6] condensed matter physics,[7] theoretical physics,[8] electronics,[9] and nanoscience and nanotechnology. University of Paris-Sud comprises some 104 research units.

About 30,000 students are currently enrolled. Pierre-Gilles de Gennes and Albert Fert, two Nobel Prize winners of physics, were affiliated to the University of Paris-Sud. A number of most renowned French mathematicians are or were affiliated to the University of Paris-Sud as well. Among them are the Fields medalists Laurent Lafforgue, Jean-Christophe Yoccoz, Wendelin Werner and Ngô Bảo Châu.

Paris-Sud also comprises biology and chemistry laboratories, engineering and technology schools and has established partnerships with many of the surrounding technology centres and Grandes Ecoles. It also includes Schools of Law, Economics and Management.

Notable people affiliated with the University of Paris-Sud[edit]

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