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Gerard P. Michon, Ph.D, X1976 (born March 29, 1956).

I am a graduate from the French Ecole Polytechnique ("X" for short) which is arguably France's foremost scientific Grande Ecole. The tradition peculiar to that school is to quote the entrance year (1976) rather than the year of graduation... The competitiveness of the entrance exam is such that almost everybody graduates in minimum time (which was 3 years in my days, it's 4 years now). I prepared for the Polytechnique entrance exam at the Taupe Laplace (Lycée Malherbe of Caen, Normandy) under a great teacher: Lucien Refleu (1920-2005).

In the Fall of 1977, I was in the recitation group ("petite classe") of Serge Haroche (born in 1944, Nobel laureate in 2012) while attending the lectures on quantum mechanics given by Jean-Louis Basdevant (who held a chair of physics at Polytechnique from 1975 to 2005). To this day, when I need to recall quickly whether a waveguide is high-pass or low-pass, I see this image of Haroche holding up a rolled-up sheet of paper in front of an electrical outlet. "I can see the socket but I don't get electrocuted", he said.

At the same time, Laurent Schwartz (1915-2002, Fields medalist in 1950) was lecturing on functional analysis. Schwartz was a key figure at Polytechnique: From 1959 to 1980, he held the chair of analysis which had been inaugurated by Lagrange in 1794. M. Chrétien was in charge of my recitation group for the lectures given by Schwartz. Nice memories.

I also obtained an engineering degree from ENST, Paris and I earned a Ph.D. from UCLA in 1983, under Judea Pearl and S.A. Greibach.

Mathematics Genealogy Project: 189503

Home page: Numericana

Unedited third-party video (2012 political meeting, in French).