Digital education

Meeting with Marie Duflot and the love she divides between r research, teaching and scientific outreach

Changed on 13/01/2020
Aged 41, Marie is a senior lecturer, researcher and scientific culture officerin the field of computer science. She teaches at the University of Lorraine whilst also working within VeriDis, a joint team between Loria (Lorraine Research Laboratory in Computer Science and its Applications) and the Inria Nancy Grand-Est research centre.

What is your research subject? 

I am a member of the VeriDis team, which focuses on the verification of distributed systems. This research forms part of the large field of verification, which consists in ensuring that a software or system having a computer component does what it is asked to do. More specifically we focus on distributed systems, made up of many components that interact between each other, and on all of the problems/challenges that this interaction brings.

Marie Duflot, médiation
© Inria / Photo G. Scagnelli

From 27 to 29 August you will be taking part in Educode in Brussels, can you tell us about it? 

The idea of this event is to bring together a very wide variety of actors around computer science education. These three days will enable the teachers to discover what we do and, in turn, have the keys to put it into practice after the summer break. I will be sharing a conference with Mathieu Hirtzig from the science education foundation "La Main à la pâte" (1,2,3 - codez!). We will be holding a participatory conference with activities in which the people will be involved through, in particular, a distributed activity where everyone will work together in order to perform a joint task. The second day will comprise workshops in smaller groups to enable the teachers to discover what we do and, in turn, put it into practice after the summer break. The third day centres more on a conference during which researchers will come and share their experiences and discuss their practices in different fields.

"[...]the aim of the game is to make myself unnecessary"

How would you define scientific culture? 

Scientific culture is everything that consists in sharing our scientific field with a public that is different from our colleagues. We address either young people or people who do not have our scientific background. The exchange works both ways - it is not just the scientists passing on their knowledge, as the participants reflect on and perform the activity. When I facilitate a scientific culture activity, I try to provide as few answers as possible. All you need is to ask them the right questions, in order to guide them without their always realising it, and so that they have the impression they have "figured it out on their own". I also train teachers in these activities until they no longer need me: the aim of the game is to make myself unnecessary so that I can devote my remaining time to putting new activities in place. 

What are the necessary qualities to work in scientific culture? 

To invent scientific culture activities, you need good background knowledge in your field. However, in order to facilitate activities, you simply need to like meeting people and want to share something with them by putting yourself at their level with regard to knowledge.