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The CEA: 75 years of innovations and scientific advances

Le 18 octobre, le CEA fête ses 75 ans. Organisme de recherche public français le plus innovant au monde*, le CEA contribue, depuis sa création, à repousser les limites des sciences et technologies pour répondre aux grands défis sociétaux que sont la transition énergétique, la transition numérique, la médecine du futur, la défense et la sécurité, en s’appuyant sur une recherche fondamentale de pointe. A l’occasion de cet anniversaire, François Jacq, administrateur général du CEA, revient en vidéo sur 75 ans d’une histoire singulière et les défis pour le futur. Découvrez également, à travers notre dossier multimédia et un jeu-vidéo inédit, une sélection d’innovations scientifiques et technologiques issues du CEA qui peuplent notre quotidien.​

Published on 18 October 2020

The CEA from 1945 to today... and tomorrow

"The CEA's history is built on foundations that are still relevant: a passion for knowledge, a concern for sovereignty and the defense of the nation, a taste for technology, support for the economy and industry, and a need to solve very concrete problems." François Jacq, CEA Chairman

On 18 October 1945, less than two months after the end of the Second World War, General de Gaulle created the CEA as France was just embarking on its reconstruction. The new organization's missions were to explore the properties of the atom and how they could be utilized for industry, health and the nation's defense.

A new status was defined to make the CEA as effective as possible at acquiring fundamental and applied knowledge and at transferring this to build a high-tech industry. This balance between fundamental research and the development of applications vital to our country is one of the CEA's strengths, enabling it to innovate throughout its history for the benefit of the State, the economy and the public.

In 2020, the CEA remains France's top organization for research into low-carbon energies. As France's leading patent applicant among research organizations, the CEA is at the forefront of efforts to re-industrialize the nation. The CEA's 20,000 staff carry out research that serves energy transition (nuclear and renewable energies, energy efficiency and storage, climate), the digital transition (artificial intelligence, quantum computing, cybersecurity), medicine of the future, defense and security, and understanding the laws of the Universe, matter and the living world.


75 years of innovation

From the first French nuclear reactor to the Megajoule Laser (a high-power laser for defense purposes), via the screening test for mad cow disease and the development of minuscule electronic components for airbags and joysticks, our environment is bursting with scientific and technological innovations that the CEA has contributed to since its founding. You can explore this progress in a new video game, Mission ScanScience and an accompanying multimedia pack, and find out about the CEA's different facets in a special edition of the magazine Les Défis, due to be issued at the end of 2020.



Put yourself in the skin of an extraterrestrial sent on a top secret mission on Earth to collect all of its scientific and technological progress. Explore three levels to find objects, scan their innovations and decipher the data to extract the "shared DNA" of all the progress hidden around us.

Play Mission ScanScience



In the street, in the countryside, in the middle of the ocean, in your home, or in public spaces, your environment is bursting with scientific and technological innovations that the CEA has contributed to since its founding! Discover some examples of this often invisible progress, which is all around you, in our special multimedia pack.


See the "75 years of innovation" pack



You can also discover our history and a description of some of these advances on our Twitter account, @CEA_Officiel. Connect with us every Tuesday and Thursday for two months by following #75ansCEA.



Don't miss the special edition of Les Défis magazine dedicated to this anniversary, coming out at the end of 2020. Planned for this issue: a 96-page review of 75 scientific and technological advances benefiting industry or society, which we owe to the CEA or to which it contributed.

* According to the Clarivate Top 100 Global Innovators list, published by Clarivate Analytics


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